If you're wondering how to help the environment, it's easier than you think. All it takes is a few adjustments to your daily life and you can reduce plastic waste and decrease your carbon footprint. From the Iron Flask team, makers of best-selling stainless steel water bottles and other sustainable products, here are nine easy ways to help the environment:
1. Invest in a Reusable Water Bottle
Bring a reusable water bottle with you wherever you go; that way, it can be your go-to source for hydration throughout the day. Look for an ultra-durable model made with stainless steel and double-walled insulation, which is non-toxic and also keeps drinks hot or cold for several hours. Another benefit of a reusable water bottle as your main drinking source is that it reduces the amount of single-use plastic bottles and aluminum soda cans. You get to stay hydrated while also reducing the number of plastic water bottles that end up polluting the environment. Plus, it's healthier to drink water rather than soda or other beverages with high sugar content and other additives. Make a healthier choice for yourself and the planet by making the affordable investment in a reusable water bottle.
2. Stick with Reusable Shopping Bags
Another low-lift way to reduce plastic waste is to bring reusable shopping bags with you for trips to the store. But it's an easy thing to forget, especially with the hustle and bustle of daily life. This is why we recommend keeping a few reusable shopping bags in the trunk of your car and also in a designated spot near your front door. And remember – reusable shopping bags aren't just for groceries. They can also be used for any shopping trip, from electronics to clothing and any other items on your shopping list.
If you do forget your reusable shopping bags, there are other ways to go green. Many stores sell them inexpensively at the checkout for your convenience. Another plus is that many reusable bags are made from reclaimed plastic found in the ocean, which further reduces common pollution. Purchasing these types of reusable shopping bags helps support cleanup initiatives to reduce plastic pollution in the ocean.
3. Ask for Reusable Containers For Takeout
Some restaurants are doing their part to reduce single-use plastic and styrofoam waste by switching to compostable takeout containers. But there are plenty of others that don't. In those cases, simply bring a reusable container for your takeout order. Not only will it keep your food fresher, but you don't have to worry about harmful chemicals leaching into your food, a real possibility with plastic and styrofoam. You can also feel good about reducing the amount of single-use plastic and styrofoam that end up in landfills and bodies of water. Look for containers made with non-toxic, durable materials like stainless steel or glass. Designed for ultimate sustainability and convenience, some containers also come with reusable utensils and straws.
4. Plant a Garden
Want to know how to go green at home? It’s actually much easier than it seems. While it's great to bring reusable shopping bags on your grocery run, that doesn’t account for the plastic bags that many veggies and fruits come packaged in. One way to reduce your daily plastic consumption is by growing your own garden. Even if you don't have a green thumb or live in a city, there are many creative ways to grow food.
All you need is a balcony or a sunny window to grow herbs or lettuce in pots or box planters. There are also hydroponic grow systems that automatically water the plants for easy maintenance, a smart choice for those that lack a green thumb or don't have time for gardening. Many are available in a vertical design, allowing anybody to grow a garden, even in small spaces like balconies or doorsteps.
5. Support Environmentally-friendly Companies
If you want more ideas to go green, it might seem overwhelming in a world that runs on fossil fuels. In fact, it's no secret that some of the biggest companies are also major polluters, contributing significantly to carbon emissions. Part of the problem is that corporations don't want to go green for the environment because it would undercut their bottom line. But as a conscientious consumer, you actually have a lot of power when you vote with your dollar.
Anytime you shop, try doing a quick search on the web to see how the company is taking action to be more eco-friendly. Another way to be a conscientious consumer is to embrace minimalism in your life. When it comes to happiness, oftentimes less is more — especially when you consider that lasting joy comes from within and not necessarily from buying things. While the beneficial effects of retail therapy cannot be denied, those feelings are typically short-lived after the initial excitement wears off.
6. Be an Eco-friendly Traveler
Along with easy ways to help the environment at home, they are also ways to travel green. Some popular destinations like London have public buses that use fossil fuel alternatives like biofuel. Other places have started initiatives to reduce air pollution from everyday traffic by providing inexpensive bicycle rentals that are conveniently stationed throughout popular neighborhoods.
Recycling can also be a challenge when you're on the road, which is why we recommend bringing a reusable water bottle on your travels — it will save you money while also reducing your plastic consumption and keeping you hydrated. If you are traveling to an area with questionable water and want to know how to go green, it's easy. Simply purchase large jugs of filtered water for refilling your reusable water bottle. You're still using plastic, but not nearly as much as compared to how many single-use plastic water bottles you’d typically drink throughout the day.
7. Use Bar Soaps
You can also reduce single-use plastic by revamping your personal care routine. The easy solution is bar soaps, which last longer than liquid body washes and often come wrapped in paper instead of plastic bottles. Specially formulated shampoo and conditioning bars are also available, allowing you to have a plastic-free collection of toiletries. Store them in reusable tin containers for easy access at home or on your travels. Compared to plastic bottles, you'll also have little to no waste with bar soaps, making it a more sustainable and eco-friendly option.
8. Support Local Farmers
If you're wondering how to help the environment, it's important to consider the big picture, especially when it comes to everyday items that you buy at the grocery store. For example, if you buy fruit that was shipped from another country, it took a considerable amount of fossil fuels to transport the items from long distances. While it might be tempting to buy your favorite groceries any time of the year, you can easily go green by only purchasing seasonal, locally sourced food.
But it can be a challenge to know which items are local and which ones are shipped long distances, which is why we recommend doing most of your grocery shopping at farmer’s markets. You'll be supporting local farmers and also reducing the demand for less sustainable, eco-friendly groceries.
9. Buy in Bulk
Just like your favorite fruits and vegetables, most kitchen staples such as grains, pasta, and popular snack foods also come in plastic bags. One solution to this persistent plastic problem is to buy these items in bulk. Not only will it give you the convenience of staying fully stocked for several months, but you can also reduce your single-use plastic consumption by using your own containers. For more information on where to buy in bulk, Litterless features a list of grocery stores throughout the U.S. that allow you to bring your own containers and fill them with bulk items.
When you incorporate these inexpensive and sustainable tips into your daily life, you're taking actionable steps to reduce plastic pollution while also simplifying your life for the better.