Creating a sustainable lifestyle is no easy task, especially for those new to going green. If you are looking for ways to make a few positive changes, the best approach may be to simply make one change at a time. Let’s take a look at a few easy ways we can be more sustainable in everyday life.
Ride your bike or walk to the market to pick up that loaf of bread. The average American spends plenty of time behind the wheel – 293 hours each year, according to AAA. How about walking? It’s better for you and the environment. Plus, by walking or taking your bike, you’ll be setting a great example for your children about the importance of sustainability and physical fitness.
Plant more food
You don’t have to have a green thumb to make a small difference. Start with one patio container of tomatoes. They can be used for so many things! Toss them in a salad, make your own salsa or marinara sauce or slice them up for a fresh, healthy snack. Before you know it, you may even be ready for a small raised garden.
Turn it up (or down)
To stay comfortable and efficient, energy experts recommend setting your thermostat to 68 in the winter and 78 in the summer. Heating and cooling your home can account for up to half of your home energy bills, so doing it efficiently will help save energy and keep your costs down. Looking for more ways to save? Find eight more ways to live sustainably on a budget here.
Use less water
With 71% of the earth’s surface covered in water, why is water conservation important? To answer briefly, only a small fraction of the earth’s water is fit for consumption. And, with a rising population, we need to think about how we are using that precious resource.
Here are a few easy ways you can conserve water at home:
- Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth
- Fix your leaky faucets
- Take shorter showers
- Don’t water your lawn
- Get a rain barrel
This is an easy one that you’re probably already doing. But every once in a while we can get a little lazy. Here’s your friendly reminder that all of the recycling you’ve been doing is paying off! Every day, more than 100 million Americans recycle.
Reaching recycling levels of 75% in the United States would:
- generate 1.5 million new jobs.
- be the environmental and CO2 equivalent of removing 55 million cars from U.S. roads each year.
Here’s one we could all do better at: do without. While recycling is always a great choice, using less “stuff” is the best thing we can do for the environment. Reducing consumerism cuts down on the resources used and lessens our impact on the environment. Besides, do you really need another [fill in the blank]? Chances are you already have three of them in a closet somewhere. Make do or do without!
When your food travels, it becomes less sustainable. For every mile traveled there are of fossil fuels consumed, greenhouse gases emissitted and air polluted. Yuck. When you can, visit your local farmers market or farm stand. We promise it will taste better too! Click here to find a farmers market near you.
Composting is easy, and you can get the kids involved in this one. Set up a small pile or bin outside and begin collecting kitchen and garden scraps like fruits and veggies, dry leaves, newspapers. Then turn your mixture every week or two. Soon, you’ll have new soil to add to your garden. Ready to start? Grab a few more composting tips here.
Make some changes in the laundry room
There are several ways to be more green in the laundry room. A big one is to make the switch to energy efficient appliances. Next wash in cold water and with free and clear detergent. How about this one? Try wearing your clothes more frequently. (Do you really need to wash your jeans every time you wear them?)
Get the whole family involved
Teach positive habits to your kids at a young age. Children enjoy recycling, and this makes a good first chore. Ask them to carry a few, lightweight items to the recycle bin. Remind them to turn off the lights every time they leave the room. Or – our favorite – encourage them to power down the devices and head outside for play time. Children love to help and will probably be willing to jump on board with any ways your family plans to become more green!
There are so many simple steps you can take to become more sustainable in everyday life. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you think about all of the possibilities. The key is to start small and make choices that will work for you and your family. Before you know it, you’ll be making a positive impact. Looking for more ways to create a sustainable lifestyle? Check out a few more tips here.