We all know we should be making more of an effort to go green, but making more eco-conscious choices can feel intimidating at first. If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, know that there are many small things you can start doing today to green every part of your life. We’ve put together a guide to help you lead a more environmentally focused life, starting now.
Around the house
There are many simple changes you can make at home to be more environmentally conscious. Once you start thinking greener, you’ll realize how easy it can be to make more eco-friendly choices.
- Turn off the lights when you leave the room.
- Switch to candlelight when watching TV or a movie.
- Replace traditional light bulbs with energy-saving ones.
- Lower your thermostat a few degrees in colder months and cozy up under a decorative throw.
- Turn off the water when you’re brushing your teeth and take shorter showers so you avoid wasting too much water.
- Wash your laundry in cold water so you’re using less energy.
In the garden
- Put a rain barrel by your drain pipe and water your garden or lawn with rain water.
- Consider getting rid of your lawn which requires a lot of water to stay green, and replacing it — or even just some of it — with drought-resistant groundcover or moss.
- Plant flowers and shrubs that are indigenous to your area to promote native plants, which are best suited to your climate and won’t need excess water to survive.
- Plant a sustainable garden with perennials — plants that come back every year — and herbs and vegetables you can enjoy.
- Avoid using chemical pesticides on your plants.
In the kitchen
- Join a community-supported agriculture (CSA) group to support local farmers and shift to eating more local, sustainable produce.
- Unplug kitchen appliances (blender, food processor) when you’re not using them so they’re not wasting power.
- Switch to eco-friendly cleaning products, or simply use what’s in the cupboard. Vinegar diluted with water can be used to wash windows and floors.
- Instead of using paper napkins or paper towel for quick wipe-ups, switch to washable cloths and rags.
- Recycle and compost as much as you can to minimize household waste.
On the go
- Walk, bike or take public transit whenever you can.
- Car-pool or catch a ride with people at work so you lower your gas consumption.
- Instead of packing your (or your kids’) lunches in plastic or paper bags, switch to reusable containers.
- Stash reusable bags in your trunk so you never have to use the plastic ones they give you at the store.
- Instead of driving around in circles trying to find the closest parking spot, just pick the first spot you see and walk the rest of the way.
- Turn off the engine while you wait to pick up the kids — don’t idle.
- Ditch one-use shopping bags in favor of cloth or reusable ones.
- Trade the plastic produce bags (which always end up with holes) at the grocery store for mesh or smaller reusable bags.
- Whether you’re shopping for food, furniture or clothes, consider shopping locally and choosing items that didn’t need to be shipped from overseas.
- Opt for natural skin care, hair care and beauty products whenever you can. The fewer ingredients, the better, when it comes to what you’re putting on your body.
- Pick up what you can from second-hand or vintage shops – basics like dish towels, kids’ clothes and other items that don’t need to be new.
You don’t have to go green all at once. Choose a few eco-conscious changes to make each week and before you know it you’ll have greened every area of your life!
How to make compost
This how-to video by the nonprofit group Kitchen Gardeners International shows you step-by-step instructions for successful organic composting.