Whether you have growing concerns about the environment due to the rise in climate change, emissions or our crumbling democracy under President Trump, it’s never too late to start cleaning up your act when it comes to making environmentally conscious decisions. Maybe you’re thinking, “I can’t afford a hybrid and I definitely can’t afford solar panels.” No matter! There are hundreds of ways to reduce your Earthly impact in manageable ways. You can determine what works best for you based on your surroundings and lifestyle.
Here are seven easy ways to stay environmentally conscious at home:
- Tip: Turn the water off while you’re brushing your teeth. Fact: According to the EPA, the average bathroom faucet uses 2 gallons of water per minute.
- Tip: Swap out your inefficient bulbs for Energy Star-rated lights. Fact: According to energy.gov, the average US household dedicates about 5% of its energy to lighting, and there’s huge potential to save energy and money here!
- Tip: Shut the lights off when not using them. Fact: Even modern energy-efficient bulbs conserve more energy by shutting them off when not in use.
- Tip: Cut down your shower time by shutting off the water when washing your hair or shaving. Fact: According to the EPA, the average family of four uses 400 gallons of water per day in the US.
- Tip: Purchase reusable bags and use plastic bags as little as possible. Fact: According to onegreenplanet.com between 500 billion and one trillion plastic bags are used worldwide each year and up to 100,000 marine mammals are killed each year from plastic debris, with bags being a major part of the problem. This doesn’t even account for the waste of energy to produce these ridiculous bags!
- Tip: Start a compost pile. If you have a little space in your yard, or even just have a local friend or farmer who does, composting is an awesome way to start a healthy home garden. Fact: Composting is a major way to prevent your waste from ending up at the landfill (thereby reducing harmful methane gas emissions) while also improving the soil.
- Tip: Inspect your home for water leaks and other ways to improve efficiency. Fact: There are hundreds of products ranging from the cost of a cup of coffee to more that can help reduce your emissions and water usage. From simple things like checking your pipes for leaks and installing efficient shower heads, to purchasing and installing more involved and costly equipment like solar panels, there are many at-home adjustments that can greatly improve your savings potential and reduce your footprint.
Above all, remember that everything starts with a little self-education and trial and error. While these tips are all useful, I encourage you more than anything to head to the library or power up that Google search and start looking into what environmentally conscious really means, and then determine what it means to you. Is it more important for you to make individual choices that you’re happy with? Maybe you want to bring down those unethical capitalist corporations and become more involved in fighting businesses that are ruining the Earth. Looking for resources and chatting with friends can really help determine what your priorities are and what complements your values.