When it comes to the environment, small changes you make to your daily routine can often make the biggest impact. Although saving the environment may sound like a huge undertaking, the good news is that it doesn't have to be time-consuming, expensive, or difficult. Here are five easy ways that you can protect the planet.
Use Reusable Bags
Although plastic bags are only used for an average of 10 minutes, they take approximately 500 years to decompose in a landfill. Consider switching to reusable bags instead of using plastic bags every time you check out at the grocery store. This small change can help the planet in a multitude of ways, such as by saving trees, reducing litter, and preventing the accumulation of greenhouse gases. Many stores offer discounts for using reusable bags, and some even charge extra for using plastic bags, so making the switch to eco-friendly bags can also save your wallet.
Whether you simply want to change some of your daily behaviors or you're looking to make more drastic improvements, there are many ways that you can conserve energy from the comfort of your home. Some easy changes include replacing your traditional incandescent light bulbs with LEDs, unplugging unused appliances, and installing a programmable thermostat, which can be scheduled to automatically shut off when you're asleep or away from home. If you're looking to take on a bigger project, consider installing a solar panel system on your roof. Solar panels work by absorbing the sun's energy to generate a flow of electricity. Installing solar panels may not only help the environment by generating clean energy, but it can also reduce your energy bills and allow you to earn tax credits by transporting your system's extra power to the public grid.
Reduce Water Use
You use water for more activities than you likely realize. Once you become aware of all the ways that you use water in your daily routine, reducing your water use can become one of the easiest ways to save the environment. Simple activities such as turning off the tap while brushing your teeth, taking shorter showers, and fixing a leaky faucet can go a long way in protecting the environment. As an additional benefit, these activities can also lower your water bill. Furthermore, consider using a dishwasher instead of washing dishes by hand. Be sure to wait until the dishwasher is full before running it in order to minimize waste. If you don't have a dishwasher, turn off the water while you hand-wash your dishes to prevent wasting water.
Buy Secondhand Clothing
A single pair of jeans can take up to 1,800 gallons of water to produce. Although buying a new clothing item at the mall can be a nice treat, purchasing your clothing secondhand from a thrift shop or vintage store can do wonders for the environment. Shopping secondhand translates to lessening greenhouse gases and reducing the amount of plastic in landfills. Additionally, buying used clothing not only benefits the environment but can also help you save money and experiment with your personal style. Keep in mind that you're not limited to purchasing secondhand clothing. Consider other categories of goods such as shoes, furniture, and books.
Recycling is something that you've probably been told to do hundreds of times, yet you might be surprised to learn that the average recycling rate in the U.S. is only about 35 percent. Be sure to familiarize yourself with what items in your household can or can't be recycled. Some common items that can easily be recycled are paper, batteries, plastic, and glass. Also, check with your local district to find out how to recycle large items such as old laptops and televisions.
Saving the environment won't happen overnight. However, by following these simple tips, you'll be on your way to protecting the environment and creating a healthier future for yourself and those around you.