What is green living? In basic terms, green living is used to describe a sustainable lifestyle that aims to reduce the negative impact on the environment. Green living also works to promote environmental awareness and the health of the planet and everyone (and everything) that lives on it. There has been a big push for greener living, especially these past few years with water scarcity and climate change becoming more and more of a concern. Green living isn’t just a trend, it’s a lifestyle.
So, how can you start living green? While it may seem daunting, it doesn’t have to be. A shift to being environmentally conscious can start in your home with simple day-to-day habits. Here are 10 easy to implement tips for green living to get you started!
1. Unplug and turn off the lights
It may sound silly, but remembering to turn off the lights and unplug any unused appliance (such as chargers) is an easy way to embrace green living. If you have lightbulbs to switch out, consider choosing LED lights. Not only will these practices help save energy, but they will also increase the lifetime of your lightbulbs and appliances and help cut down on your electricity bills.
2. Use a reusable water bottle
Another simple yet effective way to live greener is to switch to a reusable water bottle. In Ontario alone, over one billion plastic water bottles are sent to landfills every year. Now consider that it takes at minimum 45 years for those plastic bottles to break down and compose. Those are some pretty frightening statistics that could be better managed if people would just switch out their water bottles.
3. Conserve water
Conserving water doesn’t mean you need to be on harsh rations. It can be as easy as turning the tap off when brushing your teeth, or only running the dishwasher when you have a full load. Another helpful way to conserve water is to replace your showerhead with an aerated showerhead, which will help with energy and consumption. Again, these are things that will also lower your bills on top of helping the environment.
4. Reduce the use of single-use coffee pods and tea bags
Coffee and tea are part of most people’s daily routines, but some have switched from coffee pots to k-cup machines that use pods, which create a lot of extra waste. If this is the case in your home or office, consider buying yourself a reusable filter. They are quite inexpensive and can still allow you to brew a convenient cup of coffee. The same goes for tea - instead of buying individual tea bags, buy loose leaf tea and get a reusable infuser.
5. Restructure your meal plans
How we grocery shop, what we consume, and where we buy our food plays a big role in green living. Simple things like using leftovers to avoid food waste, shopping at your local farmers’ markets and butchers to purchase food, and choosing in-season produce are all ways to help promote living green. You can also aim to eat less meat and dairy. This doesn’t mean you need to be strictly vegetarian or vegan, but even taking part in ‘meatless Mondays’ can be a helpful step.
6. Donate before you throw away
Styles, design, and personal taste change over time, but just because you no longer want something doesn’t necessarily mean it’s trash. If you can’t reuse your clothing, furniture, or other household items, then donate them or give them to someone who can use them. You can take these items to local charity shops or offer them to shelters, or even list them for sale online.
7. Steer away from single-use plastics
As we know, a lot of plastic ends up in landfills and oceans, even if they technically are recyclable. So cutting down on your use of single use plastics is an easy way to live green. This means avoiding travel-size toiletries when you take a trip; if you need mini sizes, you can buy reusable containers to fill yourself that are carry-on approved. Also consider food storage - skip the plastic wrap and keep any leftovers or covered food in reusable Tupperware containers. And don’t forget your reusable bags when you go to the grocery store!
8. Embrace plants
Plants and trees are great for the environment and improving air quality, so create more space for them on your home and property. Having certain plants in your house can help filter the air and make it cleaner and healthier for indoor living. We all know how beneficial trees can be to the environment, but even if you don’t have room to plant trees, you can still have a garden. The added bonus of having a garden is that you can also grow your own flowers and produce if you choose.
9. Go paperless
Do you still get your paper bills in the mail? The vast majority of companies will allow you to switch over to get digital copies of these bills now. In fact, if you haven’t switched yet, they might even be charging you for the printouts. Not only does going paperless cut down on paper waste, but it also makes it a whole lot easier (and neater) to keep track of your bills if you have them all in an email folder rather than shoved in a desk drawer.
As you can see from this list, green living doesn’t have to be hard. You can start small at home just by changing some of your habits.
Hannah Logan is a Canadian travel writer who dreams of being just like Indiana Jones. You can follow her travels on her personal travel blog Eat Sleep Breathe Travel where she shares her travel tales and (mis)adventures around the world.
Hannah Logan is a paid spokesperson of Sonnet Insurance.