Habits That Help the Planet

Published: January 20th, 2014   |   Author: Jackie Gentilesco

It's easy being green.

You have a collection of unused reusable grocery bags, and sometimes cheat on your canteen with plastic water bottles. Caring about conservation efforts is more important than counting every slip-up. Green your lifestyle with these everyday eco tips.

  1. Skip plastic bags (and straws, and lids).
    Plastic products can end up being a deadly meal for marine animals. Ditch straws and lids if you don’t need them, and use a cloth or canvas tote instead of plastic bags.
  2. Speed up your shower.
    Most showerheads use 2.5 gallons of water per minute—that’s over one trillion gallons of water per year just for showering. Take a 5-minute shower to conserve H2O. Bonus points if you invest in a water-saving showerhead.
  3. Go paperless.
    Who wants surplus snail mail? Unsubscribe from paper mailers in favor of email communication, and recycle old mail. Paper is the number one source of solid waste in the US, yet Americans recycle only ~66% of paper products.
  4. Eat sustainable fish.
    Overfishing has led to global seafood shortages. But there’s more than one type of fish in the sea. Help protect seafood diversity by choosing sustainable options.
  5. Recycle Coltan-containing products.
    Recycling old cellphones helps eliminate coltan mining! Coltan is an ore used to make digital devices, but mining it has endangered gorillas and caused water pollution.
  6. Turn in unwanted clothes.
    Many companies collect and recycle old clothing to counter industrial pollution, such as toxic textile dyes leaching into lakes and streams. Look for sustainable fabrics such as organic cotton, linen, and bamboo, too.
  7. Ride a bike.
    Greenhouse gas emissions from driving mess with our climate. And 86% of US travel is done by cars and trucks, reports a factsheet from the University of Michigan’s Center for Sustainable Systems. Think like Copenhagen-ers and bike to work, even for a day, to save lives and improve air quality. If it’s not practical to bike to work, try using your bike to run errands.
  8. Get kids involved!
    Educate the next generation on living eco-consciously. Organizations such as Nature Rocks expose kids to outdoor exploration, which may make them happier and healthier.

Related Links:
8 Foods We All Waste
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Understanding Meat Labels