Earth Day, which is observed on April 22, is a great time to consider the impact that our lifestyles have on our world. Wondering how you could live a little more “green?” It’s a myth that living an environmentally friendly lifestyle is difficult; by making a few small changes, you can do your part for the planet. Here are a few ideas for reducing your footprint (and maybe saving a few dollars while you’re at it).
Consider Alternative Forms of Transportation
Did you know that every gallon of gas sends 19 pounds of carbon dioxide into the air? If you’re among the 76 percent of Americans who drive alone to work every day, then reexamining your commuting patterns is a good place to start. According to the 2016 census, there are 150 million workers in the country; if four out of five workers are driving to work, then that means that there are about 120 million cars on the road on any given workday. No wonder we experience rush hour traffic! On top of that, the cost of owning and maintaining a private vehicle is expensive. By carpooling with coworkers or taking advantage of public transportation options, you can save money (and maybe even a little stress) while lightening your environmental impact.
Opt Out of Junk Mail
Of the pieces of mail that you get in a single day, how much do you actually keep and how much lands directly into the trash? In one year, the average household receives nearly 900 pieces of junk mail, which is equal to about one-and-a-half trees. Sure, that doesn’t sound like a lot, but multiply that by five years. Then, multiply that by the 126 million households in the United States. That’s a lot of trees. Fortunately, you can opt out of credit card offers, decline future delivery of phone books, and get off the mailing lists for direct marketers.
Update Your Cleaning Closet
You’ve probably heard that the air inside your home can have far more pollutants than the air outside your home, but did you know that a lot of that could be coming from the chemicals in the cleaning products that you use? The results of a small study conducted in Norway suggested that using cleaning products can be as harmful as smoking 20 cigarettes a day. Homemade cleaners can be just as effective as their store-bought counterparts without the potentially harmful ingredients.
Ending Plastic Pollution
This year, the Earth Day Network has set its focus on putting an end to plastic pollution. The goal is to get rid of single-use plastics (think water bottles and coffee pods), raising awareness for alternatives to fossil fuel-based materials, pushing for global regulation of plastic pollution, and providing better solutions for current human behavior when it comes to using plastics.
So, what can you do? As it turns out, you can significantly cut down on how much plastic you use without doing anything too crazy. Use reusable bags for your groceries, buy a reusable water bottle, and when possible, buy foods that have minimal packaging. By giving just a little more thought to your daily routines and buying habits, you can reduce your footprint.