Earth Day is March 20th, and there’s no better way to celebrate than by starting some new eco-friendly habits. By incorporating eco-friendly habits into your lifestyle, what you are really doing is making a long-term commitment toward our environment. That’s a much more impactful way to celebrate Earth Day than just making a change for one day.
What Does “Eco-Friendly” Mean?
In its simplest form, “eco-friendly” is a term used to refer to products or behaviors that do not harm the environment or that have a lesser impact on the environment when compared to other alternatives. In a slightly broader sense, the term is used to refer to “green” practices that conserve natural resources like water and energy.
6 Eco-Friendly Habits to Try
1) Fill Appliances Before Using Them
This one is pretty easy. Just make sure that appliances like your dishwasher and washing machine are full before running them. This conserves both water and energy. It also requires less detergent than multiple loads.
2) Turn Off Lights
Another simple habit is turning off lights whenever you leave a room. And if you want to do even more for the environment, try switching from incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs to LEDs. You don’t have to do it all at once. Just replace your bulbs with LEDs when they burn out. As you use more LEDs, you should start to see your electricity costs go down.
3) Buy Products that Use Less Packaging
Manufacturers of food and other items are paying more attention than ever to packaging, partially because of pressure from consumers and environmental groups. However, many products continue to be wrapped in layer upon layer of plastic and paper, even when other types of packaging would work just as well. When purchasing an item in the store, in instances where brand isn’t important to you, start purchasing the brands that use less packaging or eco-friendly, biodegradable packaging.
4) Stop Using Aerosol Products
If you use products like hair sprays, air fresheners, and spray cleaners that come in aerosol containers, switch to non-aerosol products. Ozone-depleting chemicals were removed from aerosol products in the U.S. back in the 1970s, but they still release harmful substances into the atmosphere when used.
5) Stop Using Plastic Straws
More than 500 million straws are used every day in the U.S., and most are immediately thrown away as soon as that coffee or soda are finished. The use of plastic straws greatly contributes to the millions of tons of plastic that end up in our oceans every year. Switching to paper straws or drinking your beverages without straws are simple changes that make a big difference.
6) Buy Used When Possible
The next time you need to buy something, whether it be a pair of jeans or a coffee table, check out local thrift stores or online marketplaces for gently used items before buying new. You can often not only find what you’re looking for, but get it at a much better price. You may not be able to find everything you need this way, but once you get in the habit of buying second-hand first, you might just find that there’s a certain satisfaction in getting a great deal while also using items that someone else no longer needs.
Don’t Forget to Share Your Eco-Friendly Habits with Others
When your friends ask why you won’t accept a straw at the restaurant or your mom wants to know why you’ve switched air fresheners, take the opportunity to tell them about your new eco-friendly habits. Perhaps your friends and family will want to join in the cause as well.
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