Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Easy ways to start living greener

If you know me at all, you know I'm a recycling fiend. I will keep and wash out plastic cups, I will pick up discarded water bottles that I find, I will tear out my notebook pages at the end of the semester to save them from going into landfills... but the reality of the matter is that recycling is not enough. 

If you take a look at the four R's (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle), you will find that recycling comes last... that's because it should be seen as a last resort. I was  taught a few years ago that there should actually be another R included, and that would be Refuse. 

Anglesbyangela easy ways to live greener eco friendly

By refusing everyday items that we have just gotten used to using and accepting, we can start changing the world. We can 100% live without plastic bags, we really don't need plastic straws most of the time, and who even has time for plastic cups?

If you start making a point to eliminate these wasteful, unnecessary objects from your life, there is a chance that your actions will catch on and start a movement.  

Here are just a few easy ways to start living greener:

Anglesbyangela easy ways to live greener eco friendly

Bring your own bags 

- Find yourself some nice canvas totes, or other reusable bags that you can take with you to the grocery store, or keep in your trunk. I've collected some cute canvas bags while traveling that I bring to the grocery store, farmer's market, and even to the mall! I rarely ever used those weirdly-sized bags that you get when shopping, so I decided to start bringing my own. I've definitely gotten my money's worth of these useful souvenirs.

Avoid cosmetics with microbeads

- I don't know whose idea it was to put minuscule pieces of plastic in facewashes and toothpastes, as exfoliates but it has led to an environmental nightmare! Luckily, President Obama just signed a bill (Microbead-Free Waters Act) to ban the use of microbeads in cosmetics, which requires manufacturers to eliminate microbeads from products by 2017. You're far better off using natural exfoliates like sugar and salt anyways!

Anglesbyangela easy ways to live greener eco friendly

Refuse unnecessary packaging

- Do we really need to put our avocados in one of those little plastic bags at the grocery store? Some kinds of produce come with their own packaging (their peels!)... like citrus, bananas and potatoes... why waste a bag when you don't need one? I wash my produce thoroughly when I get home anyways, so I usually let all of it roam freely in my shopping cart.

Consider buying from the bulk section 

- I realized that I don't really need individually packaged portions of instant oatmeal... And you likely don't either! Why not check out the bulk food section of your local grocery store? Chances are, you will find some treats that you have never tried before... My grocery store sells three different kinds of oats, and I can mix in whatever kinds of flavorings I want at home.

Anglesbyangela easy ways to live greener eco friendly

Bring your own water bottle/travel mug

- Mine is a Tervis brand, which can hold hot or cold liquids! My travel mug goes with me almost everywhere... to work, in the car, and on trips. You can make your travel mug a kind of accessory (I'm eyeing this one) that also keeps styrofoam and plastic cups out of landfills. Did you know that you can get small discount if you bring your own mug to Starbucks?

Invest in tupperware

- I always bring my lunch to work (living that post-grad life over here) and I wanted to avoid using plastic baggies all the time... so I invested in some plastic tupperware at the beginning of the summer... I'm now thinking of upgrading to stainless steel containers and donating my plastics to my local thrift shop. Look how beautiful these are: Life Without Plastic 

Anglesbyangela easy ways to live greener eco friendly

Stainless steel straws

- Have you ever thought about all those plastic straws and paper wrappers that end up in landfills? Every single time we go out to eat, we are automatically offered straws when we are only going to use them once. What a waste! I now carry my own stainless steel straw with me in my purse and use it whenever I can. It's actually quite the experience to drink out of, as it makes your drink seem extra cold and delicious! I ordered mine from amazon and even ordered some for my parents after they tried mine at my apartment!

Go paperless

- I do almost everything on my phone and online anyways, so I rarely print things. Paying for my own printer and ink also keeps my printing at a minimum. If you think of creative ways to get around using actual paper, you will find that you really don't need it at all in this day and age.

Hopefully these easy ways to live greener will inspire you to think about how your everyday choices affect so much more than just you. It's all about living consciously!

How do you live green?


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