- Bring your own shopping bags.
- Carry a reusable water bottle with you everywhere you go—no exceptions.
- Let dishes air dry in the dishwasher.
- Use paper bags instead of plastic when scooping kitty litter.
- Buy fruits and vegetables grown closer to home—at least on this continent.
- Print on both sides of the paper.
- Choose your transportation wisely.
- Use what you have.
- Buy less stuff.
- Get a library card.
- When you do need something, buy it used.
- Fix things.
- Reuse and repurpose things.
- Turn the thermostat down and set it on a timer.
- Avoid plastic bags in the produce section.
In Part 4, I offer five more ways we can reduce our impact on the planet.
16. Buy dry foods in bulk. If you shop at a market that offers bulk foods, then start stocking up on foods such as rice, beans, cereals and oatmeal, nutritional yeast, spices, etc. Skip the plastic bags though and bring containers or use paper bags from the store. I know people who are against buying bulk foods because they fear germs and contamination. I am not afraid of germs, so I shop in this section every time I go to the grocery. Most of the time you will save money and you will likely save on packaging that either needs to be recycled or will end up in a landfill.
17. Bring your own takeaway containers. When you eat out and want to bring leftovers home, consider bringing your own containers, especially if a restaurant uses Styrofoam. My husband and I created a “car kit”, which is a bag full of reusable containers, plates, coffee mugs, and utensils, so that we can eat on the go and bring leftovers home with less impact on the planet.
18. Stop using plastic storage bags. I prefer using containers because they are easier to clean and last longer. Almost anything that lasts longer is better.
19. Change your light bulbs. If you haven’t done this yet, then do it now. Today. It’s a ridiculously easy way to conserve energy. We recently moved to Berkeley, CA. I found a service where a couple of college kids come out to your home and complete an energy assessment. Not only do they offer you ideas for ways to reduce your home energy consumption, they replaced every light bulb in the house with a compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL). This saved us quite a bit of money, since the house includes many built in light fixtures that had incandescent light bulbs. If you happen to live in the East Bay, I recommend this service, or check in your area for a similar one.
20. Grow your own food. Start a small garden. You can use containers, your front lawn (scrap the grass!), or join a community garden. The options are endless these days. Think how proud you will be to eat food you grew with your own two hands. Every time I look at my spinach sprouting and growing a little more each day, my heart swells with pride.
Practically Green is a six part series. Stay tuned for Part 5.
Global Seva Amazon Challenge
You can support my efforts to be “green” by donating to the Global Seva Amazon Challenge. I’m raising funds to defend rainforest ecosystems, stand for environmental justice, and reclaim indigenous rights in the Ecuadorian Amazon. If you find my writing helpful in any way, consider donating to this important cause.
If you are unable to donate money and even if you do, please consider what new step you can take to reduce your impact on the environment. Every small step matters.