Becoming “environmentally friendly” or “going green” is a current hot topic in our society. While there are many people who go the extra mile in order to help and sustain the environment, there are little adjustments that each of us can make to aid in the cause. The following 9 tips for environmental conservation are extremely easy to achieve and implement, and most of them are just as beneficial to our wallets as they are to the environment.
1. Recycle Everything
There are so many materials used in everyday life that can be recycled. While some of these are well-known, there are other things that you may not have even realized can be recycled. Some of the more common recyclable materials are paper, plastic, metal, and aluminum. Some of the lesser known options include ink cartridges from printers, old cell phones, and used batteries. Most cities have a recycling option in the weekly garbage rotation, so you do not even have to leave your home. Otherwise, there are drop boxes located in store or school parking lots in which you can place these items.
2. Reduce Water Consumption
Reducing the amount of water used in the home can help the environment in many ways. This is very easy to accomplish and will also save you money on your monthly water bill.
- Showers – One of the most basic ways to save water is to switch from baths to showers since baths take up to 2x as much water. You can also take shorter showers or even shower with your significant other to reduce the water used.
- Hoses – Instead of hand washing your car with hose water, visit a local car wash. They are much more efficient with water usage than you will be with your hose. If you have to water your lawn or plants, do so at dawn or dusk. You can also get automatic sprinklers to avoid using too much water.
- Appliances – The dishwasher and washing machine use a lot of water, so only run them when absolutely necessary. Wait until you have a full load of laundry or dishes to run either one. There are also regulators that can be installed in toilet tanks that can regulate the amount of water needed to flush what is in the bowl
- Faucets – Do not leave water running when doing tasks such as brushing your teeth or doing dishes. With most dishwashers, it is also unnecessary to rinse dishes before putting them through a cycle.
3. Stop Using Disposable Items
Instead of adding more to the landfills, stop using disposable products and find something that can be reused. Drink coffee? Purchase a coffee cup or mug that can be refilled. Have a baby? Use cloth diapers instead of disposable. Thirsty? Grab a cup and fill it with some ice and tap water instead of buying bottled water. You can use cloth napkins, use rechargeable batteries, purchase reusable grocery bags, and say “no thanks” to straws and coffee stirrers. Even these small things can make a huge difference.
4. Conserve Electricity
Wasting energy is an epidemic, and curing this can help more than just the environment – it can also save you a lot of money on your energy bills.
- Lights – Get in the habit of turning off the lights anytime you leave the room. During the day, open the blinds and allow the natural light to illuminate the room. You can also switch to more efficient light bulbs, install dimmer switches, or use light timers or sensors to make lights turn off automatically.
- Thermostat – While you do want to be comfortable in your home, you should also be mindful of the temperature. Turning the thermostat just one degree higher in the summer or lower in the winter can make a huge difference in energy consumption. Make sure your thermostat is set to automatically shut off at certain times so that it is not left running unnecessarily.
- Fireplace – Using the fireplace is a great way to heat the home without running the heater. However, if the damper in your fireplace is left open after the fire, the warm air in the home will quickly escape, wasting energy and money. Be sure to make closing the damper part of the routine of warming your home with a fire.
5. Care For Your Car
We always hear that one of the main causes of pollution is vehicle emissions. To solve this, you can do things such as carpooling with coworkers or friends or even walking or riding your bike on a nice day. Properly maintaining your car and ensuring a clean engine can also lower emissions. However, emissions pollution is not the only environmental problem that cars can create. Using too much gas affects fossil fuels, so driving less, driving a fuel-efficient car, and using the cruise control on the highway can aid in this. Another way to save gas is to buy locally-grown products. This way, you will not be relying on the shipping and delivery of these foods and products.
6. Go Paperless
Not only should you recycle paper, you should try to avoid using it altogether if at all possible. Almost all companies and establishments have features such as auto-pay, direct deposit, or e-billing. Instead of having bills or statements sent to your home, have them emailed or view them through the company’s website. Instead of writing a check and using an envelope and stamp, pay your bills online using a credit card. Instead of constantly throwing away the junk mail and phonebooks that you did not request, place a phone call to let them know to take you off their mailing list.
7. Use Moderation With Appliances
Appliances in the home make life much more convenient, but they also use a lot of energy. Being environmentally friendly does not mean getting rid of them, but simply making small adjustments in use. For example, do not preheat your oven unless it is absolutely necessary. Turn on the oven when you put the food in, and it can begin to cook as the oven warms. You can also turn off the oven a few minutes before it is finished since most ovens are able to stay hot enough to keep cooking for at least 5 minutes. The same can be said for the stove top. When doing laundry, you can wash your clothes in cold or warm water instead of hot, and then hang-dry them rather than using the dryer.
8. Reuse Items
Instead of throwing away paper products, plastic bags, wrapping paper, etc., think about ways to reuse them. If you receive a plastic bag from a store, reuse it when making lunches, packing, or carrying other items. Instead of throwing away gift bags and bows, save them to use on another present. Even Styrofoam cups from coffee places can be washed and reused. You can also use newspaper or old fabric to wrap presents rather than purchasing more paper.
9. Purchase Secondhand Items
Just because something is used does not mean it is inferior. For example, purchasing secondhand clothing or baby items can greatly reduce the use of natural materials as well as your cost. The same is true for toys, sporting equipment, lawn care equipment, and more. Be sure to take proper care of your things so that someone else can reuse them when you are finished.
While they may seem minor, implementing these 9 tips into your everyday life can make a great difference in the current and future condition of the environment. Aside from making these small changes in your life, the most important thing you can do is spread awareness to others. Share these tips with friends and neighbors, and encourage them to think about the future generations rather than remaining apathetic to the problem.
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