Did you commit to a few New Year’s resolutions this year? I like to think that people are deciding to live a greener lifestyle in 2017 but the idea can be a bit intimidating. You probably think that living a sustainable lifestyle is really hard but I’m going to share a few eco friendly lifestyle tips that will be incredibly easy to get started on right now. These are things that I do in my own home, despite being incredibly busy and working on a budget. I hope you continue to follow my blog this year as I teach you a few baby steps on the road to green living. Remember, you don’t need to wear hemp and live in a grass hut to reduce your carbon footprint. Adopt some of these simple eco friendly lifestyle tips to go green and help save the planet one simple choice at a time. I will include links to articles and a few affiliate links that you might find helpful.
Eco Friendly Lifestyle Tips
Compost: Composing is not that hard. I have a small countertop compost bin and toss things into it randomly all day. Coffee grounds, egg shells, apple cores, and carrot peelings all get thrown in. When it’s full, I dump it into the outdoor compost bin in the backyard. I don’t like an open pile because I have pets and kids and have no desire to attract rodents to my yard. Once or twice a year I spread compost on my garden and landscaping. Less waste, happier plants.
Recycle everything: One of the most common sense, eco friendly lifestyle tips is to start recycling. I seriously don’t understand the people in my neighborhood that don’t recycle. They give you a free bin. They pick it up at your curb for no additional cost. How hard is it to throw a milk jug and your junk mail into the recycle bin. Make it a chore that your kids are in charge of and save yourself some time and energy. My son is 17 and has been recycling since he was 5. If a 5 year old can do it, so can you! Recycling isn’t just for trash. Recycle household items rather than throwing them away.
Use cloth napkins: Yes, you will have to shell out a few dollars to get started but think of how many paper napkins you will NEVER have to buy again. Buy cloth napkins on clearance and don’t worry if anything matches. Have a nice set for company and give your kids the cheap, mismatched ones at breakfast.
Choose organic, natural, and bulk foods when you can: I understand that everyone is working on a budget. So am I. If I wasn’t, I would be shopping at Whole Foods on a weekly basis. Since I am NOT a millionaire, my Whole Foods trips are limited to every couple of months. Stop buying individually wrapped bags of chips and goldfish crackers. Buy in bulk and put them in small reusable containers to save money and reduce your trash output. Organic foods are grown without chemical pesticides and farmers are often using more sustainable farming methods than traditional farmers. Commit to choosing a few organic foods every week, even if you only buy what is on sale or in the clearance section. I live in the clearance section at Krogers. That’s why I am now the proud owner of 12 boxes of organic taco shells and 8 jars of organic pasta sauce. Save money on organic food by shopping smart.
Stop buying stuff: Okay, you still need to buy new underwear and a gift for your nephew but seriously, you need to put your credit card in the freezer and stop wandering aimlessly through Target. Americans own WAY too much stuff. You don’t really need 47 pairs of shoes or 80 DVD’s. Don’t buy ‘uni-taskers’ that serve only one purpose. Buy second hand whenever possible. Borrow from friends and neighbors when you need a big item instead of buying it for yourself. I find that the classics and neutral tones in the closet last the longest in terms of style. That hot pink hat isn’t going to be worn very often and will most likely be out of style next year. Brown purses and little black dresses may not be the height of fashion but add a pop of color with accessories and reduce the carbon footprint of your closet.
Give up the idea of a perfect lawn: Grass is bad for the environment. Between the chemicals you have to dump on it, the water you use to keep it lush, and the constant leaf blowing and mowing, you are single-handedly destroying the environment with you grass obsession. Invest in a reel mower and learn to love weeds. My motto is that as long as it’s green, I am happy that it is growing in my yard and I can rest easy knowing that my kids and dog aren’t rolling around in cancer causing lawn chemicals.
Reduce your utility bills: Cut back on using your utilities. That means reduce your water consumption with shorter showers. I have teenagers. This one is not easy but I keep trying. Fix leaks, conserve water in the garden and install low-flow shower heads and toilets. Cut back on energy usage. Check out these energy saving tips for ideas. Cutting energy costs may require a few eco friendly home upgrades but the cost you put in is usually recovered in the next few years by saving you money in the long term.
Going green doesn’t have to be hard. You don’t have to spend a fortune to reduce your carbon footprint. Learn to shop smart, repurpose and recycle everything you can, and make smart choices when you shop as often as your budget allows.
I hope you decide to follow my blog in the coming months and learn a few more easy ways to go green, get healthy and simplify your life one baby step at a time!