Environmental issues can leave us feeling overwhelmed and at a loss. But don’t lose hope!
Even little changes can add up and have a meaningful impact.
You can get started today!
I’ve compiled a list of the top 24 simple ways that you can take care of the environment. Let’s jump right in!
1) Buy what you need
“There’s too many of us. It’s a planet of finite resources – and we’re using them up. And that’s going to mean so much suffering in the future.”
– Jane Goodall
This is another way of saying no to impulse buys. Impulse buying is one of the biggest issues facing people today because there are so many options available to us at any given time that we don’t often think before we buy something.
Marketing is targeted to you to buy something whether you need it or not.
It’s tempting to buy more than you need for the sake of convenience and desire, but it’s not sustainable.
Buying more than you need is one of the most common mistakes people make with their money. It doesn’t take long for a new purchase to become an old, outdated item that’s no longer wanted or needed.
As well as this, buying things on impulse can be expensive and wasteful because it takes time to research what something costs to see if it’s worth your hard-earned cash.
2) Use what you have
This is another great way to save money and reduce waste.
For example, it’s hard to believe, but there are a lot of people who don’t use all of the food in their fridges before it goes bad. Many have clothes that they don’t wear because they’re not currently in style or because they haven’t worn them in years.
Letting old clothes go to waste is a common mistake people make with their clothing, but there are many other items that people buy and never use.
Use everything you have before buying something new. You may be surprised at how much you have.
“The human brain now holds the key to our future. We have to recall the image of the planet from outer space: a single entity in which air, water, and continents are interconnected. That is our home.”
– David Suzuki
You don’t always have to own something to use something. By sharing resources and items with others you can minimize your waste and reduce the need to buy more.
For example, if you have a phone, but it’s not in use at the moment, why not rent a phone out to someone who needs one? Or if you have an extra empty room, why not rent it out on Airbnb?
Sharing is a great way to make money as well as save resources.
There are many other ways that you can share your belongings and resources with others. Think of ways that you can share and help others without buying anything new.
4) Slow down
Did you know that driving at 50mph uses 25% less fuel than 70mph? When you’re going faster, you tend to use more fuel.
Slowing down is a great way to reduce your impact on the environment and save money on fuel.
Driving slowly is also beneficial because it helps to keep our cars in working order longer which can save us time and money in maintenance costs over time.
5) Buy local
When we buy local produce we support our communities by keeping money in our area instead of sending it overseas.
Buying local also reduces the environmental impact of transport, packaging, and storage and the overall use of fossil fuels.
Buying local is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and save money.
6) Walk whenever you can
This is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and save money. Not only will you be saving money on petrol, but you’ll also get some exercise!
Its resourceful use of space allows you to experience your local surroundings in a new way.
Walking is a great way to get around that doesn’t cost anything at all.
7) Turn down your central heating
By turning down your heating, you can reduce the amount of energy that you use.
Even a reduction of 1 degree can have a significant impact on your energy use and you probably won’t feel the difference.
If you do feel a little chilly, put on a sweater or warm layer to compensate. Or snuggle under a blanket to get warm.
8) Don’t use air conditioning
Open the windows and doors, it will be cooler outside than inside anyway. Even a simple floor fan uses less energy than an air conditioning unit.
The energy savings are due to the fact that air conditioning units use more power than a fan. In addition, an air conditioner uses less electricity when it is in cooling mode and much more when it’s turned off.
9) Cook a vegetarian dinner for your friends
Cooking a larger amount of food at once typically involves less packaging than if it were in individual portions.
Sharing a plant-based meal is also more energy-efficient than a meat-based meal. Why not celebrate the environment together with a good group of friends and a healthy meal full of nutrients?
Buying fresh produce from your own garden or local farmers market is also a great way to support your community in addition to reducing food waste too.
10) Invest in a washing line
In the sunny, hot months try to hang your clothes on a line to dry.
If needed you can always press them with an iron to perfection.
Tumble dryers devour an impressive amount of electricity and need constant attention from consumers for them not to overheat or break down. If you can wait a day, your clothes can dry rather quickly in the summer heat.
11) Buy secondhand or refurbished items
This is not only a great way to save money, but it is also a great way to reduce the amount of waste that you create.
When you buy new items, the manufacturer will use up raw materials, energy to produce the new item and then transport that item to your local store.
Once you have bought something secondhand, all of that expense has already been used up and there is no need for more to get it into your hands.
12) Clean the back of your refrigerator
Did you know that dusty coils can increase energy consumption by 30%?
Cleaning them just takes a few minutes, but can save you a lot of money. So roll out that fridge from the wall and give it a little attention.
13) Use public transportation when possible, or ride a bike
Even if you have to pay for your public transportation pass, it will usually be cheaper than paying for gas and maintenance on a car. Plus, you get to skip all the traffic jams and road rage. Doesn’t that sound great?
If you have reliable access to public transportation, it is an excellent choice for reducing your carbon footprint and saving energy as well.
If not, taking the bike instead of the car could be a good idea too! You’ll reap the health benefits of cycling along with the reduction in fossil fuel consumption.
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14) Start a compost
Compost can be a great way to reduce the amount of waste that you put into your garbage and save money on your trash bill.
In addition, it can make you feel really good about yourself because you are doing your part to reduce the amount of waste in the world and allow food waste to become useful fertilizer.
There are some very modern, compact tabletop models now if you don’t have the outdoor space.
15) Buy energy-efficient appliances
These days, most appliances are energy efficient, but they don’t always come that way from the factory.
You can usually find an energy star label on them if they are going to be more efficient than average.
If not, you might want to look for something else or at least buy some of those energy-saving light bulbs and solar-powered lights.
16) Use less water in your home
Freshwater is a limited resource. And yet many of us use potable water to flush our toilets.
Even small changes like taking shorter, colder showers, washing only full loads of laundry, and turning off the water while you are brushing your teeth can add up to a lot over the year.
If you want to save money on your water bill, consider planting some drought-tolerant plants on your property instead of grass, and using a rain barrel for watering. If you like to read more, there are plenty of ideas on how to reduce your water consumption.
17) Turn off lights and electronics when you are not using them
It is shocking how much energy we use to power things that we are not even using!
Even if you just shut off the lights in a room that you aren’t in, it can make a big difference over time.
Also, turn off your computer and other electronics when you aren’t using them, they might use energy unnecessarily and you will drain the battery.
18) Use reusable grocery bags instead of plastic or paper bags from the store
Most grocery stores will give you a discount for bringing your bags with you, so why not take advantage of it?
Plastic and paper bags can be avoided for the sake of the environment and they cost money too! Making this one change can reduce the use of one-time-use plastics.
19) Use a power strip for multiple electronics
If you have multiple electronics plugged into one outlet, a power strip can help to keep them from sucking up as much energy at once.
Investing in a bar with circuit protection can also help to protect your electronics.
This will save you money and help the environment too!
20) Buy used items at thrift stores or garage sales or community marketplaces
Sometimes, it is possible to find good quality second-hand items that are in good shape and still work well without having to buy something brand new that will end up in a landfill eventually anyway!
Take a look at your local second-hand stores and online community marketplaces to see if you can get more use out of an existing product before placing a demand for new products to be made.
21) Borrow a book from the library
Libraries are just for your childhood years.
Instead of buying books, why not pay a visit to your local library?
They have tons of books that you can check out and return when you are done. They can even order titles if you request them.
Libraries are a great place to go if you’re looking for new books. They also have tons of other resources that are available, including movies, magazines, and sheet music.
22) Turn off your computer when not in use
Computers use a lot of energy even when they are just turned on, but if you turn them off after using them, then they don’t use any energy at all. Remember to turn off your computer when it’s not in use.
You will save money on your energy bill and help the planet by turning off your computer instead of leaving it on.
23) Use rechargeable batteries for toys, flashlights, etc.
Rechargeable batteries can save a lot of money in the long run and help to keep the environment safe from toxic chemicals in disposable batteries.
Plus, they are more convenient since you don’t have to keep buying new batteries.
24) Avoid buying bottled water
Bottled water is convenient, but it is also bad for the environment.
It takes a lot of oil to produce all of those plastic bottles and they end up in landfills and oceans eventually anyway.
Bottled water can also be contaminated with low-grade particles of plastic. This might not be the ideal way to transport and store water.
Instead, use a reusable water bottle, a glass bottle water delivery service, or fill up at home or work with filtered tap water instead of using single use plastic.
Recycling can be done in many different ways, such as collecting recyclable materials to create new products or by recycling the waste of one industry into another.
Recycling is important because it helps prevent pollution and preserve natural resources. It’s also good for the environment because it reduces the amount of garbage that needs to be disposed of.
The process begins with collecting trash from homes and businesses, which are then sent through various sorting stages so they’re ready for reuse or disposal at a landfill. Helping this sorting process and making sure you bring the right containers to the correct bins really does help.
“There is a powerful force unleashed when young people resolve to make a change.”
– Jane Goodall
Don’t stop here. There’s always more to do!
There are a lot of small things you can do to help the environment.
The common thread of these recommendations is to have a clear vision for what you need and don’t need.
Remember, small things can make a big difference in our world!
Each intentional decision is better than aimlessly using resources wastefully and never thinking about it. Our everyday actions have an impact on the environment we live in; therefore, being mindful of what you are doing will do wonders for your health and well-being as well as that of the planet.
Taking care of what you have and reusing what others have is a simple way to change your mindset to start adapting to more environmentally friendly behaviors.
In the words of Jane Goodall, “Whatever we believe about how we got to be the extraordinary creatures we are today is far less important than bringing our intellect to bear on how do we get together now around the world and get out of the mess that we’ve made. That’s the key thing now. Never mind how we got to be who we are.”
Keep in mind that each intentional decision is better than aimlessly using resources wastefully and never thinking about it.
Remembering to use fewer resources and making more thoughtful decisions about your daily life is better for the environment.
Small changes make a big difference in our world!
You may not be able to solve all of the world’s problems, but there is certainly a lot you can do in your everyday life. It only takes a few small changes to make a difference!