10 ways to be more environmentally aware

Category:  Opinions
Friday, September 6th, 2019 at 11:36 AM

It can be overwhelming to think about all the things we do on a day-to-day basis that harm the environment, considering most of those things have become habits. However, the most difficult step in making change is just coming to terms with your own wasteful habits. Once you can acknowledge those habits, they’re actually pretty easy to break.

Here are just a few things that you can do daily that will put you on the right track to living an eco-friendly lifestyle.

Purchase a reusable cup and straw.
Straws and plastic, in general, are a huge part of pollution. According to CNBC, we are using 1 million plastic water bottles per minute. The build-up of that amount of plastic is unfathomable.

Eat less meat.
According to a U.N. study: “the livestock sector accounts for 9 percent of CO2 deriving from human-related activities, but produces a much larger share of even more harmful greenhouse gases. It generates 65 percent of human-related nitrous oxide, which has 296 times the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CO2.” 

Say no to plastic bags.
A good alternative to plastic bags is to purchase your own reusable shopping bags. In fact, most stores offer canvas bags as an alternative. Not to mention, they’re even sturdier than your average plastic bag and are able to withstand and hold much more at a time. That’s not only a perk for you, but a perk for the environment as well. Everybody wins here.

Compost.
We’ve probably all been guilty of not getting to those veggies in our fridge in time before their expiration date. However, it doesn’t mean they have to end up in the trash. They can actually be put to use through compost. By composting, you are essentially creating a natural fertilizer and reducing the waste that goes into landfills.

Recycle.
This one may be obvious, but there are many things that can be recycled. In fact, mostly everything can be recycled: from batteries, paper, aluminum, glass, and even your cars and computers. Before throwing things away, it’s definitely worth your time to take a moment and figure out if it can be recycled instead.

Use your car less.
Seeing as Edinboro is a small town, most of the places we go to are usually within walking distance. If your destination is within a reasonable distance, it might be a good idea to ditch the car and go on foot instead, or even on a bicycle. However, if it is necessary to drive your car, keep the speed down to ensure that your engine is running smoothly, therefore emitting less carbon.

Shop locally.
The closer to home that products and foods are made, the less carbon is made for transportation. On top of that, you’d be supporting local business, therefore keeping your local economy flourishing, creating even more local businesses to choose from. Luckily, Edinboro has a number of local businesses to support.

Donate old clothes.
Donating unwanted clothes can keep them out of landfills and is a good way to help others in need.

Use cold water for laundry.
Using cold water in your washing machine uses less power, making a huge difference in your energy usage. Likewise, try hanging your clothes to dry if you can.

Shut off and unplug.
Although this one may seem obvious, it’s actually pretty easy to forget to unplug major electrical equipment and appliances when you aren’t home. Also, making sure that all your lights are off when leaving your home or sleeping is a small but major way to ensure your energy usage (and electric bill) stays as small as possible.

Not only will these tips help in living an eco-friendlier lifestyle, but a lot of them also benefit you financially, physically and mentally. Starting small is better than not at all.

Remember, a green lifestyleisn’t meant to make life more difficult. It’s actually all about simplifying our actions, thinking economically and saving money all while helping the planet. Consider taking these steps in your daily routine!

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