20 Small Things All Of Us Can Do To Help The Environment

Published 5 years ago

When thinking about saving the planet, you probably imagine grandiose actions, like shutting down factories or replanting forests. Thinking this way can leave you feeling powerless – but don’t worry. There are plenty of little things all of us can do to help save our planet.

Don’t be afraid, we won’t be asking you to move out of your home and go live in a shack made of mud and straw. Something as simple as unplugging your phone charger or changing your toothbrush can go a long way as long as enough people do it. Check out all the small things you can do to help the environment in the gallery below and don’t forget – every little step counts!

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#1 Shop secondhand

Image source: Emily Orpin

Choosing fast fashion brands can be tempting – the clothes are usually cheap, colorful, and we usually throw the clothes away after about a year. But did you know that making one kilogram of fabric generates a whopping 23 kilograms of greenhouse gasses? Next time you need a new sweater, try shopping second-hand – in most cases, it’s cheaper and more environmentally friendly.

#2 Buy loose leaf tea

Image source: Angela de Marco

A single nylon tea bag can release billions of microplastic particles into your cup so next time you’re shopping for tea, try loose leaf tea.

#3 Switch to rechargeable batteries

Image source: Vintuitive

Switch to rechargeable batteries – not only will you save money in the long run, you’ll also help reduce waste.ž

#4 Go for meatless meals once a week

Image source: Petras Gagilas

It takes over seven pounds of grain and 840 gallons of fresh water to produce a single pound of beef. You should try choosing sustainably raised beef or choose a vegetarian meal more often.

#5 Wash clothes in colder water

Image source: seanfreese

It takes about 40 gallons of water to wash a single load of laundry and it takes a lot of electricity to heat that water up. So the next time you’re doing laundry, try opting for cold cycle wash. Also, try to skip the dryer whenever you can.

#6 Recycle wire hangers

Image source: Beatrice Murch

Instead of throwing out old hangers, offer them to your local homeless shelter or dry cleaners – most of them will gladly take them off your hands.

#7 Use biodegradable litter

Image source: Jinky Dabon

Next time you’re shopping for kitty litter, choose one made from biodegradable materials. A big part of cat litter is made from bentonite clay, a clay that doesn’t break down, and with Americans throwing away almost 2 million tons of it yearly, choosing a biodegradable one is the more environmentally-friendly option.

#8 Unplug

Image source: Karen Cropper

Save money by simply unplugging your electronics when you’re not using them – it’s as easy as that.

#9 Turn down the brightness of your monitor

Image source: Noah Jacquemin

Turning down your monitor’s brightness from 100% to 70% can reduce its energy consumption by 20%.

#10 Use matches instead of lighters

Image source: Mike Rowe

Around 1.5 billion disposable plastic lighters end up in landfills each year – opt for matches instead. Or if you absolutely need a lighter, instead of throwing out your old one, refill it instead.

#11 Replace your old shower head

Image source: Andy Powell

A high-efficiency showerhead and a faucet aerator can save you up to 8,000 gallons of water each year.

#12 Choose to auto-power down

Image source: Jamie McCall

Similarly to unplugging your chargers, you can set your consoles to automatically power-down when not in use – most of them have this function in the options menu.

#13 Get your car washed professionally

Image source: Cristiano Cani

A car wash is a business – and like most businesses, they want to reduce costs to a minimum, meaning they’ll use the optimum amount of water to make your car clean.

#14 Opt-out of spam emails

Image source: unknown

A single spam email can leave a 0.3g carbon footprint – multiply that by a whopping 62 trillion spam emails sent each year and you got yourself a problem. Do yourself and the planet a favor – opt-out of spam.

#15 Choose an eco-friendly search engine

Image source: OER Africa

Eco-friendly search engines actually exist! Try Ecosia, for example – 80% of their ad profit goes to planting trees and over 70 million of them have been planted so far.

#16 Keep your fireplace damper closed

Image source: Simon Pearson

Save hundreds of dollars in the long run by simply closing your fireplace’s damper when you’re not using it.

#17 Opt-out of fast delivery

Image source: mobiusdaxter

“Every individual is buying more and wanting those goods to be at their home really fast. That creates more vehicles, more traffic, and potentially more emissions,” says Miguel Jaller, a professor from the Institute for Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis. So next time think twice before choosing overnight shipping – can you really not wait a few days to receive your item?

#18 Listen to music offline

Image source: criana

134 million lbs of plastic were used to produce physical records in the 2000s – that number dropped to 17 million lbs in 2016. And while that is a good thing, digital streaming of music caused an increase of greenhouse gasses from around 346 million lbs to about 440 – 771 million lbs. Researchers point out that downloading music and listening to it offline can help reduce energy use.

#19 Switch to a bamboo toothbrush

Image source: Tong Kuan Chuah

With about 4 billion plastic toothbrushes ending up in landfills each year, consider switching to a biodegradable bamboo brush.

#20 Use cloth diapers

Image source: Brittany

An average infant uses up between 5 to 8 thousand diapers growing up. Consider switching to cloth diapers or choosing an environmentally friendly brand.

Aušrys Uptas

One day, this guy just kind of figured - "I spend most of my time on the internet anyway, why not turn it into a profession?" - and he did! Now he not only gets to browse the latest cat videos and fresh memes every day but also shares them with people all over the world, making sure they stay up to date with everything that's trending on the web. Some things that always pique his interest are old technologies, literature and all sorts of odd vintage goodness. So if you find something that's too bizarre not to share, make sure to hit him up!

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eco-friendly ideas, environment
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