1. FILTER YOUR OWN WATER. Throughout many states, we are in the midst of a serious drought so water conservation is top of mind. But you still have to stay hydrated, right? Well studies show that bottled water is often no better than tap water so why waste money and harm the environment buying it. Not only are precious fossil fuels wasted in the production, manufacturing and transportation of bottled water but its estimated that over 75% of these bottles end up in landfills. The truth is it’s much cheaper and healthier to filter your own water.
2. REPLACE YOUR LIGHT BULBS. LED and CFL or compact florescent bulbs use much less energy than old incandescent bulbs and save you money in the long run. Now its true LED bulbs do have a high up front price tag but they also have a lifespan of over 20 years. Imagine replacing a bulb and then not having to do it again for 2 decades.
3. STOP USING SINGLE USE BAGS WHEN YOU SHOP (INCLUDING PRODUCE BAGS). Single use plastic bags in particular are a waste of energy and resources. Across the US some towns have started charging for single use bags whether they are plastic or paper. So choose a few strong reusable bags and keep them in your trunk. They even make bags that roll up into a little ball and fit in your purse or glove box. So it only takes a few times of having to run out to your car to get those reusable bags for you to remember to take them every time.
4. BUY LOCALLY. Now you can’t buy everything locally but you can commit to doing as much as you can. While farmers markets are popping up all over, many grocery stores are now dedicating parts of the produce section devoted to locally grown foods. Also be sure to check out local CSA’s (community supported agriculture) available in your area by going to Local Harvest. CSA’s provide you and your family with a weekly box of fresh, local and in season produce at prices often times less than your local super market or farmers market. The estimates on savings are hard to determine but certainly buying an apple grown in your state is much less energy intensive then buying one shipped from thousands of miles away.
5. EAT LOW ON THE FOOD CHAIN. Even one meatless meal a week can help reduce your carbon footprint. In fact it’s been estimated that it requires 2500 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef and that cows contribute greatly to the greenhouse effect by producing large amounts of methane. So whenever possible choose organically grown and pasture raised meats (one step up from grass fed) to reduce the amounts of chemicals in the environment. Be sure to look for the Certified Humane seal to ensure the animals are in fact eating grass from pastures and not just fed hay at a factory farmed feed lot.
6. BROWN BAG YOUR LUNCH. Why? Well eating out usually means a trip in the car and use of disposable single use containers, paper products and plastic utensils. Plus most restaurant food is less healthy and higher in calories than what you bring from home.
7. GO PAPERLESS WHENEVER POSSIBLE. You can go paperless by paying bills online instead of having bills sent to your home. Estimates that paperless billing in America would save nearly 19 MILLION trees, 2.2 TONS of carbon dioxide and 1.7 BILLION pounds of solid waste every year. You can also take a step further by cutting out junk mail. Your friend the internet can help you find a lot of great services online to help you get off of mailing lists.
8. GIVE BACK TO THE PLANET BY PLANTING. Just make sure to talk with your local garden center or nursery about the most eco-friendly options for your area. For example, we can still put our green thumbs to work in our own back yard but it is best to make drought friendly choices. Remember tip #4 to buy produce locally? What can you plant and grow yourself? There is nothing more delicious than the satisfaction of harvesting your own fruits, veggies and herbs. If you don’t have room to plant at home check with your local park service for volunteer opportunities especially around earth day or for a community garden space near you. And one added bonus? Not to mention, all that yard work is great exercise too!
9. WALK OR BIKE INSTEAD OF DRIVING WHENEVER POSSIBLE. Before you get in your car, ask yourself could this errand be combined with another trip later in the day or week or could you bike or walk someplace closer to home. Also try committing to using public transportation at least once a week. According to EPA leaving your car at home just 2 days a week can reduce your greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 2 TONS per year.
10. SWITCH TO GREEN CLEANING PRODUCTS. Too many cleaners contain harsh chemicals that are not good for you or the environment. Some of those chemicals have been linked to many health issues including eczema, allergies, asthma flare ups, auto-immune diseases and cancer. So do yourself and the environment a favor and swap those chemical cleaners for earth friendly versions. dōTERRA has a wonderful plant based cleaning concentrate that can be infused with your favorite essential oils, hand wash concentrate infused with the immune boosting essential oil On Guard and squeaky clean laundry detergent. I also like to use wool dryer balls infused with lavender in place of toxic dryer sheets.
Let us lighten our footprint for the next generation in line to inherit this beautiful planet from us.
Hugs from my family to yours!