The start of a new year (and a new decade!) is a convenient time to reevaluate how you treat yourself and the world around you. Are you living a life that helps reduce your impact on the earth and climate change? If not, then start 2020 with a few simple changes to your lifestyle that can help lead to a positive change for the environment throughout this decade and beyond. You may be surprised at the effect this change can have on other areas of your life too!
Adjust your food shopping habits
An easy way to adjust your lifestyle is to be more sustainable with grocery shopping. Buying local from a farmer’s market or small shop can reduce your carbon footprint because you aren’t supporting big stores that source their produce and products from thousands of miles away.
If you don’t have farmer’s markets near you all year round, then try to buy in bulk from the store. Stocking up on unpackaged produce, bulk nuts, and bulk grains allows you to greatly reduce your waste. Bring your own glass containers or cloth bags to the store to stock up on your favorite, healthy foods!
Pro tip: a lot of grocery stores take customer suggestions seriously, so if your store’s bulk section doesn’t have what you want, request that they add it!
Spend time outside
One way to help the environment without having to spend money is to dedicate more time to being outdoors. No matter what you’re doing, spending time in nature can help you feel more gratitude for the planet. In 2020, commit yourself to working out in nature more by hiking, biking, or even doing an exercise in a park. You can also find other hobbies to do outdoors that can help the environment too! Things like gardening and volunteering in your community are activities you can do to enjoy your time spent outdoors even more.
Help the environment and save money
Helping the environment doesn’t have to be hard on your wallet! Just like spending time outside, there are free ways, and even ways that save you money, to be kinder to the planet. That is a win/win if you’re looking to budget your money in the new year too!
- Ask for emailed receipts at stores. Receipts are made from thermal paper that is difficult to recycle.
- Turn off your lights. Use less energy in your home by turning off the lights in rooms you aren’t using, turning down your heat at night, and switching to LED lightbulbs, which use less energy. This can help reduce your carbon footprint and save you money!
- Take shorter showers. Use less water by limiting your shower time. Set a timer on your phone for 5 minutes and try to be in and out of the shower in that time frame! You’ll see a reduction in your water bill too!
- Bike more. If you already own a bike, reduce the amount you spend on gas by taking your bike to work once a week or using your bike to run errands around town.
Use less plastic
Reducing your daily plastic use is easy with a few small changes. Reusable water bottles made from metal or glass is a great place to start. However, you can take it a step further this year by looking for other places in your daily life that you use plastic that you may not even think about!
Your contact lenses produce small amounts of waste daily, from the individual packaging to the bottles of solution. Switch to daily contact lenses that use less packaging and require no extra plastic for contact solution! In general, beauty products usually mean a lot of waste; think about all of your makeup, skincare, and hair products and their packaging. Choose to shop from a natural brand that uses less plastic, no toxic ingredients, and is environmentally sustainable.
Buy green cleaning products
There are many ways to reduce the carbon footprint of your home but keeping your home free of toxic chemicals can help better your health, as well as your family, pets, and the earth. Green cleaning products are easier than ever to find in grocery stores and supercenters. However, be sure to do your research on products first to ensure the product you want to buy is actually safe to use in your home. Products like these can help reduce air pollution, ozone depletion, and the disposal of toxic chemicals into the earth, all while keeping these types of chemicals out of the air in your home and away from your family and pets.
There are many ways to change your lifestyle to help the environment. However, we now know that helping to save the earth can also mean creating a healthier life for yourself and your family, as well as saving yourself some money! There is no better time than the new year to refresh your habits to reduce your impact on the earth and make your life more sustainable for years to come.
Author Bio – Nicole Ford is a freelance writer that cares about sharing her knowledge and passion for environmental awareness with the world. When she isn’t creating, she is almost always spending time with her fiance and their cat, Frida.