Although we celebrate Earth Day each year since 1970 representing the awareness that we hold for our planet’s wellbeing; factually looking at it, it’s still a huge challenge getting the larger chunk of people across the globe to alter their ways in favour of the overall welfare and good health of the whole planet. And the ever aggrandizing global warming is the evidence of how precarious the results could be for human, plant, and animal life altogether.
It’s been a long time since we changed our ways of conducting our environment and our behaviours towards our only habitat-the mother earth. It’s high time we started practising eco friendly, sustainable ways of life, which means adapting to green living sooner than later and aid better orientation of our environment.
But before we march ahead, let us briefly mention what green living/ green culture or sustainable living means?
Green living is a self-regulated lifestyle that is important and helpful for taking care of the environment. Intrinsically, it’s making environmentally ethical, eco-friendly conscious choices and taking actions at individual and society level that conserve, preserve the Earth’s natural reservoirs and terrains and to use renewable resources as much as possible.
Being environmentally congenial is doable more so now than ever before and the best place to begin with is from your own abode. However it may seem challenging to get started going green in the beginning and hence to guide you, your friends and family how to become more responsible and sensible global beings, we’ve assembled some vital green living practices that can aid minimising the unpleasant impacts on the environment. These doable tips will let you save the environment as well as your hard earned money. Let’s have a look!
Recycle: This is an easy practice you may want to inculcate in order to go green. You just need to install a recycling bin at your home and try to recycle everything possible. Simply form a habit of segregating the recyclable waste into the recycling bin and nonrecyclable waste into the outgoing trash bin. Instead of heaping on the landfill, thus recycled collectibles can be turned into new products with less energy than required to produce things from scratch using the fresh materials.
Upcycle: Upcycling is a smarter version of recycling where you collect the waste and convert it into something more practical, constructive, productive and valuable than the primary thing through artistic creative reuse of it. There are various ways through which upcycling can be done. A few examples would be converting empty beer and jam bottles into vases, using old rugs to make vibrant floor mats, turning car tyres and old trunks into seating arrangements, using empty bottles as plant pots etc. Upcycling is a wonderful technique to obliterate waste.
Compost: Wasting food in any form should be a complete no-no, food scraps have their own place and they should rather be used for practical purposes! Alternatively throw the waste food in your compost instead of letting it fill the trash bin. And it’s pretty easy too, just like separating for recycling. You can invest in a small composter to be kept inside the kitchen either under your sink or on your counter, or you can get a larger one to be installed outside which can make functional compost for your houseplants or garden. Doing so will also nearly abolish the trash odour thereby keeping your kitchen air fresh.
Do Gardening: Cultivating a garden for yourself is not only a money and environment saver deal but it is also therapeutic. For those who find planting fruits, vegetables, herbs and other plants challenging, there are many other easier options available these days. As an alternative to the traditional landscape gardens, you may grow raised gardens or small indoor gardens that will give you nice homegrown fresh produce and will also save your money. Cool, isn’t it!
Minimise Plastic Use: Plastic is one of the major contributors to the earth’s pollution, it contains high risk chemicals, is connected with the death of marine wildlife and takes billions of years to decompose. Try to eliminate plastic use to live sustainably by making some lifestyle changes. For example, avoid buying bottled shampoo, conditioner, and hand wash bottles which cannot be recycled, rather use their bar alternatives which take less packaging material. Using your own reusable bags at the grocery store will bring down the plastic waste created by non degradable plastic bags. Also the one time use of plastic water bottles add a lot to the pollution. Studies show that it takes three times as much water to make one bottle than what can be filled in it. Instead of adding to both water waste and land pollution, choose to use a reusable water bottle that can be refilled as needed thereby saving money and resources. Same can be done with tea-coffee, other drinks too by bringing your own reusable mug to the vendor shop. Always try to find an alternative to the plastic packaging and usage. Taking small but effective steps continuously as a consumer can persuade large enterprises to choose more eco-friendly ways to serve their customers.
Use Energy-Efficient Appliances: In today’s time and age, we are all so much more dependent on electrical appliances in our homes and offices than in bygone eras, which makes it all the more important for us to be vigilant and responsible to their usage so as to not add more burden on the environment and its resources. While buying appliances, choose energy efficient models such as energy-efficient heating, air conditioning, refrigerator, washing machine, dishwasher, dryer etc and replace them only when you really need to. Needlessly or redundantly disposing of your old appliances will only add more waste to the landfills, hence avoid doing so. Use sun heat to dry clothes if possible. Using LED light bulbs that last much longer, take much less energy than traditional bulbs, save your money and minimise your carbon footprint. Whenever and wherever natural light is available, utilise that instead of turning on the lights and form a habit of turning off the lights when you leave the room. Another small, easy peasy yet effective way to go green is to unplug the unused or rarely used items thereby saving both money and energy.
Save Paper: Save paper by ditching paper bills and by paying your bills online. Avoid printing everything and if at all you have to take a print make use of both sides of the paper. If printed papers have served their purpose, encourage your children to use those scrap paper for doodling and then later recycle them. Making the maximum use of each sheet of paper will help save more trees. Try and limit or totally eliminate your usage of tissue and paper towels as they are unnecessary waste, instead use their reusable options. Installing a bidet is a better option to discourage toilet paper waste. Most Asian countries use water in place of toilet paper.
Save water: Regularly watch and fix/replace the leaky taps and faucets to avoid water wastage. If not necessary avoid using hot water for everything as it takes loads of energy to heat the water up. Choosing to do laundry with less hot water, taking shorter showers with reduced temperatures whenever you can will save money and energy both. Another efficient way to conserve energy is to collect rainwater and use it for houseplants, garden, lawn, flushing the toilet etc.
Save environment: It’s a fad nowadays to use a lot of chemical loaded products for household cleaning, which were never required by our elders in the olden times. There are various eco-friendly product options as well as methods available online with which you can make your own sanitising products without spending much and at the same time conserving the environment as a result.
Save resources: Adapt your old clothes and repurpose them as cleaning rugs. The cleaning sheets that you buy from the supermarket are nothing special but just well fashioned cloth pieces. Instead of wasting money and resources, utilise your old clothes or cleaning furniture, vehicles, floors and other dirty items.
Reusing: Before investing in buying anything new, look for used item sales in your locality and if feasible buy the used, recycled items. That way, you will not only save money but will also reduce your own carbon footprint which may occur due to the production and shipping of the new products. Small steps go a long way.
Driving Green: Personal vehicles are practically indispensable for almost everyone in the current times, but how bad or worse that would impact the environment, largely depends on how one exercise their driving conducts. Driving green is an eminent choice one can adopt to go green and minimise their personal carbon footprint on earth. Earlier there were not many options but now we have feasible and workable alternatives to switch from the carbon producing vehicles. Choosing electric cars also helps as it emits less than half the carbondioxie as a gas car and even gas is saved. Another way you can do your green bit is by buying used cars, thereby saving money, energy and our very own planet earth. Also, choose to donate your old used unwanted car rather than just chucking it out thereby utilising its potential and not adding to the landfill. Other eco-friendly options would be choosing car alternatives like walking, biking, vehicle pooling, using public transportation etc.
Educate Yourself: Most important and easiest of all is to educate yourself more and more about the importance of going green and then educating others around you. Watch, read, research, stay informed as much as you can about substantial ways of living and zero-waste lifestyles and practice them earnestly.
Happy going green my lovely readers!