This post is a collaboration between Boomer Eco Crusader and Jan On The Blog
Do you love the world we live in? Think of the sandy beaches, serene rivers, forests full of life, even the air that we breathe, or the food and water that we live on. Planet Earth is magnificent, and we are privileged to experience the wonders that it offers. Do we look after the environment though? The sad reality is that no, we aren’t doing enough, because we all know about the very real effects of climate change that are upon us. That said, there’s no time like the present to start taking small steps towards a greener lifestyle, because they can lead to a big impact if we do them together. Who’s with us?
I teamed up with Michelle from Boomer Eco Crusader to share 12 simple and easy ways to go green in your daily life. As you may know, Michelle is not new to going green (check out her recent post on ‘Positive ways to encourage others to go green’). Keep reading to find out some great ‘not-so-obvious’ tips she’s shared – you will be mind-blown by how simple yet ingenious they are. As for me, I’m still in the early stages of my green living journey because we all have to start somewhere. I’ve shared some ‘beginner tips’ to going green, that I was able to quickly adopt into my everyday life, with little effort. We hope you find some inspiration in the tips we’ve shared. It’s certainly not an exhaustive list, so feel free to get creative. Cheers to taking small steps collectively for a big impact!
Beginner tips to ‘going green’
Turn off the tap while you soap-up
Washing hands – we’ve certainly being doing an excessive amount of that lately thanks to the pandemic. We also have the ‘scrub your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds’ carved right into our brain, and that’s great because health and safety comes first. The million-dollar question is, do we turn off the tap while we soap up and scrub away? I sure hope so, but I’d take a bet that not all of us do. It might not seem like a big deal, but that little step could save around 23 litres (6 gallons) of water per day. Now that’s a lot of water we can save just by turning off a tap!
Shower but don’t take ages
I don’t know if it’s an Aussie thing, but our water companies are big on promoting four-minute showers – they once even offered us free shower timers! Their logic is that if everyone cut down their shower time by one minute, it could save about 4 million litres of water in a single day! In all honesty, I don’t time my showers, but I do make an active effort to get in and out as soon as I practically can. Another great way that my husband goes about this, is to pick a song or two that adds up to about the four-minute mark and play it while he showers – the music ending is his cue to get out of the shower. If you like singing in the shower, this little trick might be a win-win situation for you. It’s something that we can do so easily and make a big difference by saving a whole lot of water.
Matching pot/ pan size to burner when cooking
If you cook at home, your stove would be something that consumes a lot of energy whether it’s gas or electricity. That’s why I’ve always been very mindful of how I do my cooking. It turns out, as simple as it may seem, using the right sized pot/ pan when cooking can have a big impact on energy usage. When you cook in a pan smaller than the burner (with flames licking the sides of the pan), it can waste about 40% of the heat generated. Keeping the flame as low as possible takes up less energy. Also, if it’s practical to cook with the lid closed, it helps to keep cooking times low. These are little things but it’s those that count.
Opt for e-statements
I don’t know if it’s a millennial thing, but paper statements, like bank statements, utility bills, newsletters, ATM receipts, really bother me. That’s why I’ve opted to receive all these types of correspondence digitally – mostly through email or sometimes online versions. It’s one of those things that’s so easy to set up, costs nothing (in fact, sometimes could even save you a few bucks!) and reduces a lot of paper wastage. Don’t get me wrong, there can be very valid reasons you need to get things printed and I do too. But where we don’t need it, we can save a lot of trees by going digital.
Batteries always concerned me because I thought they could only go in landfill and end up causing soil/ water/ air pollution. Turns out, there is a battery recycling program in Melbourne (where I live) but it isn’t very easily accessible. That’s when I started looking into rechargeable batteries. They save you money because once you buy a set or two of rechargeable batteries along with a charging unit they can last you for a very long time, and they don’t cost as much as you might think. What’s more, it saves you heaps of money from not having to repeatedly buy single-use batteries – which is also a lot better for the environment. If you’re keen to learn more about the benefits of using rechargeable batteries, check out this post on One Green Planet.
Not-so-obvious ‘go green’ tips
Swap your bottles for bars
Making the move to bar toiletries is such an easy change to make. For my family, I estimate it saves at least 60 plastic bottles a year. I started with swapping body wash and liquid hand soap for unwrapped bar soap. Then, I switched to shampoo and conditioner bars, unwrapped bar deodorant, and a solid facial moisturizer bar.
Not only does this swap reduce plastic waste, it saves money and is so convenient for travel!
Look for BYOC (Bring Your Own Container) programs
I buy many of my groceries, laundry and cleaning supplies in bulk stores where I can refill my own containers. This saves on packaging and, because you buy only the quantity you need, it reduces food waste as well.
BYOC programs were gaining momentum but many were sadly put on hold because of the pandemic. But, some stores still operate their refill programs. Ask around to see if there’s a local store near you that supports BYOC.
Say no to plastic cutlery
Most disposable cutlery is not recyclable. To avoid the waste, I bought some inexpensive metal cutlery. I keep a set in my purse, my work backpack, my car, and my travel carry-on. That way, I always have a set handy when I’m out and about and can say no to plastic cutlery.
Travel with your own toiletries
Each year, the hotel industry discards billions of plastic toiletry bottles. Travelling with your own toiletries reduces waste, and lets you use your favourite products when you’re away from home.
And, swapping to bar products means no issues getting through airport security, and no risk of liquids leaking in your luggage.
Consider simple DIY options
I’m not a big fan of DIY because I don’t have time to make everything myself and many recipes call for ingredients that I don’t commonly buy. That said, there are a couple of easy DIY recipes that I swear by that use everyday ingredients you probably have in your kitchen. If you’re thinking of trying out DIY, give my Easy DIY 4-ingredient toilet cleaner and Easy natural foot scrub a try.
Ditch the fabric softener
Believe it or not, but I haven’t bought a bottle of fabric softener in about ten years!
Fabric softeners and dryer sheets contain chemicals that could be harmful to your health.
I avoid the static by hanging my laundry to dry outdoors in the summertime. But, I live in Canada where drying laundry outdoors isn’t an option for about 6 months of the year. I use a drying rack to dry some items indoors year-round. And, when I use my dryer, I have a set of cotton dryer balls to cut the static.
Reuse the wrapping
Wrapping paper is expensive and most of it isn’t recyclable. Get creative with your wrapping. There are lots of gift bags, boxes and tins that can be reused many times. Other eco-friendly options for wrapping include newspaper, mason jars, tea towels and scarves.
And that’s all folks. Like we said at the start, this isn’t an exhaustive list of tips to go green. We wanted to give you some ideas of little steps you can take to live a greener life, in the hope that they inspire you and get you thinking. If you want to get serious about going green and go all in, the Anatomy of Action (developed by the United Nations Environment Programme and the UNSchool of Disruptive Design) offers some fantastic ideas on actions related to ‘food, stuff, move, money and fun’ that anyone can take to reduce their impact on the environment. Whatever action/s you choose to take, however big or small they may be, the important thing is to do them regularly as part of your everyday life. Remember that it’s the little things that go a long way, specially if we all do them together. Let’s start today to do what we can to save our beautiful planet.
What are your top tips for going green? Did any of our tips stand out for you?
Boomer Eco Crusader is a great blog that offers handy tips on saving time, money and the environment. Don’t forget to pay it a visit and share your thoughts on Michelle’s posts. I admire her passion and commitment to be environment friendly, and she inspired me to work towards a greener lifestyle this year. Thanks Michelle for joining me to share your valuable experience and knowledge in this collab post.
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