Reuse, Renew, Recycle. Reuse, Renew, Recycle. We’ve all heard it a million times – but this year in celebrating Earth day I wanted to share with you my readers some specific ways in which you can start shrinking your carbon footprint today. And don’t worry – recycling isn’t on the list.
Now wait, before you skip to the next item because you’re thinking to yourself I don’t have a yard or I have a black thumb or I’m just too busy, let me ask you this: have you checked in your area for farmer’s markets or community gardens that offer compost drop-off sites? Back when I lived in Brooklyn, New York, I kept a plastic bag in the freezer which I put my fruit/veggie scraps in all week, and then on Saturdays, I carried it down to the farmer’s market and dropped it off. So easy! Many areas now also offer compost pick-up by the city from spring to fall, so check to see if your city offers this.
2) Use less paper.
This a big one, and very far-reaching. There are many more ways to start using less paper than you might think. For example, sign up for paperless statements and start paying all your bills online. When traveling, use mobile boarding passes instead of printed tickets. If you get catalogs in the mail, call them up and tell them you don’t want them. Use the front and back sides of paper. The list goes on and on. Once you make the change in consciousness about unnecessary paper usage, you’ll find yourself changing your habits.
3) Shop local.
By simply purchasing food that was grown in your region, you’re helping the environment, your own health, supporting local businesses, encouraging job growth, supporting area farms, etc! Farmer’s markets are also a great way to shop locally. You can also shop locally online. Have you heard of Good Eggs? My sister and brother-in-law hipped me to this one, and it’s pretty rad. They offer a wide selection of almost all locally sourced food (produce, eggs/meat, prepared foods, etc.) and shipping is free for orders over $30. NOTE: While I’m sure the woman in the stock photograph above is planning on reusing or recycling that paper bag, I recommend that you bring your own! 😉
4) Don’t throw away useable stuff.
It really kills me when I see a friend who’s moving and they’re literally throwing away all this stuff that other people might be able to use. There’s no excuse for this. Whenever you find yourself being “done” with something in your home, ask yourself: could I use this for another purpose? And if not, might someone out there get some further use out of this? If the answer is yes, then bring it over to a Good Will or Salvation Army. Better yet, arrange a clothing swap party with your friends (so fun!).
5) Buy a reusable coffee mug.
Can you imagine how many disposable coffee cups are used every day in this country? I shudder to think. By bringing your own reusable coffee mug into your local coffee shop, you’ll be helping to cut down on waste big-time. And some places will even give you a discount for doing so (Starbucks for example provides a 10 cent discount for bringing your own mug).
Remember that when it comes to building planet-helping habits, small changes add up. Don’t beat yourself up for not being perfect – just do what you can do realistically. If each of us makes a small change in our habits, it will add up to something truly spectacular.