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