The beginning of a new year brings many different ideas on how we can improve our lives in the coming year. Let's not forget that we can also improve our planet. Here are my top 10 things you should change to ensure you are doing your part in 2020.
1: Eliminate single-use plastics: Plastic straws are public enemy #1 (in my opinion) so if you cant carry a reusable straw with you, then drink without one. I keep reusable cups, bags, straws, containers, etc. in my car all the time. At first, it might feel awkward asking the guy at the smoothie bar to put your smoothie in your reusable cup, but eventually, you will get over it. Change out your disposable razors for a safety razor that you only need to change the metal blade.
2: Minimalize water waste: You can begin washing your dishes in a more efficient way. You can change out your toilets for dual flush low water ones. Set up a rain barrel to collect rainwater for things like watering plants and washing your car.
3: Get your recycling facts straight: It takes minimal research to become an expert on the materials your community is currently accepting. Since recycling is dependent on the value of a material it can change pretty easily. You can probably find a list of materials being currently collected by your HOA or your local landfill. Once you do that research be sure to share it with your neighbors.
4: Start making your own products: There are so many recipes on the internet for cleaning and beauty supplies. Try them out until you find the one you like the best. I make my own dish detergent, laundry detergent, multipurpose cleaner, make up remover, face wash, and facial mousiturizer.
5: Support your local economy when you can: Instead of online shopping for an item you need, see if there is a local business the produces that product. Farmers' markets are a great way to support local farms and businesses. If you find a product that you love to make sure to share the news with your friends.
6: Decrease the amount of paper used on your behalf: Cancel any mail or catalog subscriptions you just end up tossing. When you get your mail before you toss the junk take an inventory and see what you can prevent from coming to your house again. Yes, this is going to take some time and effort, but it can be worth it if you get tons of junk mail. On a side note, make sure you rip off any plastic attached to paper envelopes before you toss them in recycling as that type of plastic is probably not recyclable.
7: Do an energy audit of your home: You can purchase a device that can help you understand where your house is wasting energy. Or you can just make sure your lights are most efficient, paired with surge protectors to turn off all devices with not in use.
8: Be intentional with the miles you drive: Make sure you are running errands in an efficient way. Try to get things on the way to/from work so you eliminate single trip errands. You can also decrease the number of items you get rush shipped to you. If you order items online in enough time they have a better chance of getting put in the regular mail and therefore will reduce the carbon footprint of that item.
9: Influence your friends and family to make small changes as well: Once you adopt some new green habits, be sure to educate your friends and family so your impact can multiply!
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