As of 2020, the world’s population sits at a staggering 7.8 billion people, and it’s growing every minute.1 That means that whether we’re aware of it or not, humans across the globe make a significant impact on the environment every day. But as individuals, a couple of small adjustments on our part can begin to enact a bigger change.
We’re not talking about trading in your car for a bike or making other major, life-altering decisions. Instead, we’re discussing six easy ways you can switch up your daily habits to go a little greener.
Change #1: Use Reusable Grocery Bags
When you go grocery shopping, bring your own reusable bags. In fact, keep a couple of them in your car to ensure you always have them with you. This way, you won’t need to use the plastic bags at the checkout to put your items in. These bags end up in landfills, release toxic chemicals and can cause harm to animals both in the ocean and on land.
Change #2: Carpool or Walk Whenever You Can
Do you and your neighbor go to the same gym? Consider carpooling with them to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas. Going to your neighborhood pool on a hot summer day? Consider walking instead of taking your car. We know it might not be realistic to walk or carpool to places like work, but ditching the car is possible in other aspects of your life.
In addition, making these changes can have personal benefits as well. If you carpool, you may make a new friend or get to know an acquaintance a little better. And if you walk, you have the added benefit of getting some exercise in. The average American walks 3,000 to 4,000 steps a day.2 Start tracking how many steps you’re taking and use this as an opportunity to challenge yourself to hit another 1,000 or more steps each day. It’s surely a win-win situation for both you and the environment.
Change #3: Say Goodbye to Plastic Water Bottles
Are you guilty of grabbing a plastic water bottle from your kitchen on the way to work? If so, think about dropping the habit of buying these plastic bottles and switch to carrying a reusable water bottle instead. It only takes a few seconds to fill up your bottle in the morning before you head out, and it’s worth it for the benefit of reducing plastic waste. Plus, by using one like a Hydro Flask you can enjoy cold water much longer!
Change #4: Revitalize Old Clothes
Consider bringing new life into your current clothes or purchasing used clothes from vintage stores, consignment shops or thrift stores as an alternative to buying new clothes off the rack. Manufacturing clothing serves as a large source of carbon emissions and contributes to the destruction of fragile ecosystems across the globe. Next time you need a little black dress or a new tie, consider digging deep into your closet, phoning a friend or visiting a local thrift shop.
Change #5: Replace Beef With Plant-Based Proteins
The production of beef and other meat causes a significant amount of environmental harm. When most of us are eating meat, we may not be considering the environmental impacts each bite can make. But just because we don’t think about it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. Becoming a vegetarian or vegan is a huge lifestyle change, so take a small step and consider giving up only beef or limiting your weekly intake. Perhaps after making this change, you may become compelled to give up other meats as well.
Change #6: Print Less
Try to use as little paper as you can. Some easy things include reading on your computer or tablet, opting for air dryers instead of paper towels, canceling your junk mail, etc. According to the EPA, paper and paperboard products make up 25 percent of the total municipal solid waste generated by Americans. This is the largest category of waste, followed by plastics at 13.2 percent.3 If everyone in America made a conscious effort to reduce their paper usage, we could begin to make an impact on the overall waste generated year after year.
Many of us are aware that we’re making an impact on the environment, but when it comes to changing our daily habits - it can be hard to figure out where to start. Begin by taking small steps, and remember that you’re taking these small steps along with millions of others across the globe. With your contributions to the environment, you can start making a significant impact around you.