Big, sweeping changes like relying on solar energy or biking instead of driving a car could be incredibly good for the environment – but they also require a lot of planning and sacrifice. Thankfully, there are many ways you can benefit the environment every day with simple changes to your daily habits.
Small Ways You Can Benefit the Environment Every Day
These are some of the best (and least invasive) ways you can benefit the environment every day:
- Use a bidet (instead of toilet paper). Toilet paper is an incredibly wasteful product, yet most of us are used to using toilet paper as a primary way of cleaning ourselves after using the bathroom. Instead, consider using a bidet. Bidets are inexpensive and easy to install these days, and they’re incredibly good for the environment, allowing you to dramatically reduce your usage of toilet paper in exchange for a very small amount of water. On top of that, bidets get you cleaner and offer a range of health benefits, so there’s no reason not to try one.
- Invest in reusable bags (and use them). If you’re the type of person who goes shopping regularly and picks up plastic or paper bags to carry your groceries and other items, you’re essentially producing waste every time you go out. Instead, consider purchasing a strong reusable bag that you can use for years without it wearing out. Then, when you check out, avoid the one-time-use bags and prioritize using your own.
- Sign up for paperless. Do you have the option to sign up for paperless billing? Can you unsubscribe from mailing lists that you no longer wish to be part of? Do so if you can. Converting to paperless models and reducing the amount of paper waste sent to your house can make a huge impact. Even if you’re only saving a few letters or a couple of catalogs per week, you could end up saving many pounds, or even tons of waste over a lifetime.
- Pick up litter you see. You may not be responsible for the litter that you see on the ground, but you can take responsibility for it. When you see someone’s soda can or fast food wrapper on the ground when you’re out walking, pick it up and throw it away if there’s a trash can conveniently nearby. Better yet, go out with a bag of your own and spend a few minutes clearing out trash in your favorite areas. If everyone committed to picking up just a few pieces of litter, we could keep all our natural areas beautiful without spending much time or money.
- Recycle. Recycling is one of the best ways to preserve our natural resources, while simultaneously reducing our dependence on landfill space. Familiarize yourself with recycling requirements in your city, and recycle items like paper products, glass bottles, and certain types of plastics. These resources will find new life in new forms.
- Use eco-friendly transportation. You don’t have to sell your car, nor do you have to bike everywhere, but whenever it makes sense, consider using an eco-friendly mode of transportation. Can you walk to the grocery store instead of driving? Can you take the bus downtown instead of dealing with parking? In many cases, you can save time and money by pursuing the more environmentally friendly option.
- Adjust your thermostat. Your biggest source of energy expenditure at home is heating and cooling. We all like to live in a house with a comfortable temperature, but if your temperature is too high or too low, you’ll end up expending far more energy than necessary. Consider addressing your thermostat so the temperature is slightly less comfortable, but also less demanding of energy resources. You can use extra layers of clothing to stay warmer in winter, or open the windows and use fans to stay cooler in summer.
- Rely on natural light. As long as you’ve upgraded your lights to LEDs, you’ll benefit from highly energy efficient light emission. But even these ridiculously efficient bulbs still draw some power. During the day, rely on natural light for the majority of your lighting needs, and only turn on the lights when you truly need them.
- Tend a garden. Tending a garden is easier than you think, especially if you live in a warm climate. In your own backyard, or in your neighborhood, just a few minutes of tending everyday could give you a steady supply of natural, organic, immediately available food.
- Prioritize less packaging. When shopping and making purchasing decisions, always prioritize less packaging when possible. Avoid shipping unless necessary, choose goods with less packaging, and live a generally minimalistic lifestyle so you can reduce your spending and consumption overall.
One Step at a Time
Improving our collective environmental sustainability doesn’t have to be an enormous effort, nor does it have to cost billions of dollars. While there are major changes that can benefit society (like increasing our usage of renewable sources of energy), we can make a prominent collective impact by simply making better decisions on a daily basis. If you commit to changing your life in these small, minimally invasive ways, you can be part of the bigger movement that helps to protect our world.