As color returns to the local landscape, we’re reminded of just how delicate our world is. When it comes to caring for our planet – our home – simple everyday changes will make the biggest difference long-term. Here are 10 easy ways to make a positive impact on the environment this spring, and better yet, save some money while doing so.
1. Reduce water waste
Clean water is something that a significant part of the world lacks, however, it is one of the easiest commodities for Americans to waste daily. Limit water waste by wearing clothing more than once before washing it, turning off the water when brushing your teeth, watering outdoor plants with collected rainwater, and fixing even minor faucet drips or pipe leaks promptly. Less water down the drain means a lower water bill, too.
2. Swap out household paper products
Instead of reaching for a paper towel whenever there is a mess or setting out paper napkins for each meal, opt for a reusable option instead. Cloth towels and napkins may mean an extra load of laundry, but the habit change can reduce the amount of money spent on paper products and lessen the amount of waste your household produces.
3. Invest in reusable products
Purchasing reusable water bottles, sandwich bags, food storage containers, grocery bags, and other products of the sort may cost extra upfront, but the expenses will be recouped quickly and lead to additional savings over time. Some businesses, including brand name grocery stores, really encourage bringing in reusable bags so you don’t have to use plastic bags.
4. Make your own environmentally-friendly cleaning products
Do-It-Yourself multi-purpose cleaners and laundry detergent are cost-effective alternatives that also reduce exposure to toxins that do more harm than good to the environment and your health. Baking soda, vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide are household staples that can be used to make powerful cleaning agents without questionable fillers. Plenty of recipes can be found online for making bulk batches on a budget that will last.
5. Install energy-efficient products in your home
There are a wide range of energy-efficient options you can have in your home. Start small by installing LED lightbulbs and upgrading to a programmable thermostat. When it comes time to replace larger appliances, such as a dishwasher or water heater, purchase products that require less energy consumption. There may even be financial incentives for opting for energy-conscious products, such as Energy-Star tax rebates.
6. Ditch unwanted items sustainably
Nowadays, recycling is often a standard practice in many households, workplaces, and public spaces. On the flip side, the types of goods that can be recycled is still underestimated. Before simply throwing something in the trash, take an extra moment to determine if it can be recycled or not. More product packaging is eco-friendly and features a symbol that indicates if it’s recyclable. Aside from carefully disposing of everyday waste, always consider donating or consigning clothing or other household items that are still in good condition, but no longer needed. Like the saying goes: “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!”
7. Buy secondhand
When in need of new clothes or furniture, visit a thrift store or consignment shop. Buying secondhand reduces the amount of waste that ends up in landfills and lessens the demand on the industries. Less demand means reduced environmental impact of production and manufacturing. Local yard sales are also great places to find previously-loved items. However, if online browsing is more your style, there are a range of apps and websites to consider.
8. Grow your own produce
It may seem intimidating to start a garden, especially if you lack a green thumb. The good news is there are a handful of easy-to-grow crops that can grow successfully even in confined spaces like raised beds or above-ground planters. Lettuce, green beans, cucumbers, squash, carrots, and tomatoes are some of the easiest vegetables to grow. While proper planning and regular tending will be essential, it’s worth it to save money on your grocery bill and lessen the demand on the farming industry.
9. Consume less meat
Buying less meat is a quick way to reduce your grocery bill, but the impact can reach far beyond your wallet. Committing to even one meatless day a week is an easy way to take a step in this direction. Farming animals uses a lot of energy and a lot of water. Alternatively, a plant-based diet uses less energy and less water.
10. Shop locally at sustainability-promoting retailers
The less distance goods have to travel between where they originate to where they are sold, the better. Additionally, it is better to champion businesses that support the environment, limit waste, and source from local suppliers. Shopping at sustainable businesses at times costs more out of pocket, but this money ultimately goes back into the local economy as opposed to big businesses that may not be as cautious when it comes to caring for the environment or sourcing goods sustainably.
This spring, make it your mission to adjust everyday habits in order to benefit the environment and your budget. Mindful efforts will make a difference within your household and the benefits will encourage a far-reaching ripple-effect of positivity. For more helpful tips, visit our Simply Speaking Blog.