Simple ways to reuse, reduce and recycle

Many aspects of daily human life impact our environment. What we buy, how we get from place to place and how much electricity and water we use can drastically change the world in which we live.

Here are seven easy ways for you to be more environmentally conscious:

  1.     Avoid using unnecessary paper, Styrofoam and plastic products. Instead of taking that huge handful of napkins at the movies, take one or two per person. Opt for regular ceramic plates at dinner instead of paper and use a refillable water bottle rather than pre-bottled water. Buy products you use often in bulk to reduce the amount of packaging.
  2.    Limit your electricity. This can be as simple as turning off the light when you leave the room, towel drying your hair, or switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs. Help your fridge run as efficiently as possible by removing excess ice and frost buildup in your freezer and by keeping the fridge fully stocked.
  3.    Trace your carbon footprint. In other words, keep track of how much fuel you use for transportation and heating. Car-pool with a friend or ride a bike to places around town to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases you release into our atmosphere.
  4.    Buy greener. Look for items labeled “environmentally friendly” and avoid harsh chemical cleaning products. Purchase higher-quality clothing that can be worn in multiple seasons and avoid impulse buying by waiting a day to purchase non-essential items.
  5.    Conserve water. Always wash full loads in your dishwasher and washing machine. Surprisingly, dishwashers take less water than hand washing dishes. Take less baths and shorten that long morning shower to a 10 or 15-minute process.
  6.    Look for opportunities to upcycle. Upcycling involves using old products to make a new and more useful product. You can use Walmart bags to line small trash cans, use junk mail to write your grocery list on, or use newspaper to wrap gifts. Garage sales are great places to find interesting items to make your own upcycling creations.
  7.    Don’t waste food. Prevent food waste by splitting meals or by going without that extra appetizer you know you don’t really have room for. At home, compost organic materials rather than throwing them away. Throw those corncobs or potato peels into your garden to help your plants grow, or for a nice midnight snack for the neighborhood raccoons.

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