We all want to do our part to save the planet, but aren't there some easy ways that won't really impact my lifestyle? Well, since you asked - here's 9 life hacks that you can easily incorporate into the every day to help save mother earth. And no, I'm not going to talk about shorter showers and turning the water off while brushing.
"We're in a drought, save water! Take a shorter shower, Take a 4-minute Shower, No Shower should be over 7 minutes, Take a shorter Shower"
These are things I hear all the time, especially in California these last few years. And I think we pretty much ALL know that these are good things to do.
We get it!
But we are already taking shorter and less frequent showers (it’s good for your hair anyway).
There have to be other ways to save water and help the planet in general. And I'm not talking about the other obvious ones like turning off the water when you brush your teeth.
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Now I'm no angel. I fly to work every other week so my carbon footprint isn't exactly on the tiny-house scale. But there are still things we can do every day that help balance out those harder to change habits.
Save Mother Earth with little things that add up
Wherever you are, and whatever your level of green living, try to incorporate just one of these changes into your life and you will make a positive impact!
Here are some 9 simple changes you can make to reduce resources and save water, both of which are great for mama earth.
Reduce... Reuse... Recycle... Refurbish... Rethink...
1. Plant something
Plants pull carbon out of the air and store it in the soil. The deeper the roots, the better the plant is at depositing carbon deep into the soil and supporting the soils microbiome with nutrients and water.
And it doesn't have to be a tree. Your new plant could potentially double as food, which serves a double duty: reduce food waste and food transportation costs when you grow your own. Go organic and you'll even cut down on pesticide runoff.
2. Choose a stainless steel reusable bottle
They don't leak.
They tend to last longer than plastic reusable bottles, especially the ones with the straws that only seem to last a few months.
They also don't have BPA in them.
3. Cover food with etee instead of cling wrap
Buy reusable food covers to cut down on single-use cyran wrap.
There are tutorials to make these yourself, but I just both them on amazon. The paper covers are coated with beeswax which makes them washable, sticky when activated, reusable, and compostable when they've run their course.
I've had mine for a couple of years now and I'm not sure if they even do wear out at all.
If you already have them, consider getting them as a gift for your next housewarming or holiday gift. Then you can help other households cut down on single-use plastics as well! #win-win
4. Use real dishes
That means stop using the throwaway kind. I'm talking about paper plates, plastic flatware, and disposable cooking dishes.
I'm looking at you aluminum lasagna tin.
Real lasagna pans aren’t even that hard to wash. If you just soak the pan overnight, washing it will be a piece of cake. And you can save the dump from 1 more tin in the landfill, not to mention the transportation and water costs of creating new disposable pans and shipping them to your local grocery every time you use one.
5. Cook with earth-friendly kitchenware
That means cookware that is good for your body (think not leaking anti-stick chemicals into your bloodstream) and good for the earth (think renewable and safe products).
Look here for more details on the best types of pots, pans, utensils and cutting boards.
Remember - this isn’t a call to throw stuff out!
If you have perfectly good pans (that aren’t flaking Teflon) then keep them and reuse them. Buying fewer things, after all, is one of the best things we can do for the planet. But, if you need new ones, think about buying the most sustainable versions.
6. Consider your food's water footprint
Do you consider water-load when buying food? Did you know that almonds are one of the most water-intensive crops out there along with wine, chocolate, rice and pasture for animals?
That doesn’t mean you have to avoid these foods completely, rather think about quantity.
Almond milk is a prime example of taking an already water-intensive crop, mixing it with water, and discarding a large portion of the crop as pulp. Try to mix in some coconut milk or cashew milk to balance it out.
(Illustration: Pacific Institute)
7. Pick up trash on walks
Just bring a bag with you, so you are prepared.
It's everywhere. And if it eventually floats into a river it will end up in our oceans. The plastics might break down to where they are invisible to the human eye, but they aren’t really gone. Recent research found microplastics in fish and sea life digestive systems.
That digested plastic leads to chemical additives or hydrophobic waterborne pollutants depositing in the marine muscle tissue, which can eventually be ingested by and negatively impact larger animals and eventually humans.
I usually try to pick up trash when it's convenient on my path, but I'm going to try to be more like Compost and Cava and bring a bag on my walks to make a bigger impact.
8. Use reusable bags
...for things like groceries, lunch, and toiletries.
Now we can definitely save on single plastic by using our reusable grocery bags, but it doesn't stop with the supermarket.
I use reusable bags for dirty clothes, for wet clothes, and for gym clothes. I use them when going to the farmer's market, the books store or clothes shopping.
Reusable lunch bags are better than paper lunch bags.
And you can also apply it to gift bags! For baby showers put the gifts inside a diaper bag gift. You can put gifts inside a backpack or purse or just use a reusable wine bag. If that doesn't work, reach for the brown paper grocery bags or newspaper before buying wrapping paper.
For bulk item purchases at the grocery store, consider Earth Junky mesh and muslin produce bags.
Many big cities have programs so you don't have to do it yourself.
Even if you do it yourself, consider using the city compost as well. At least in Denver, they use a large industrial grinder so they can break down bones, pizza boxes and other stuff you'd never throw in your garden compost. Once they grind the waste down to a powder, it decomposes much quicker, giving a quick turnaround time on turning waste into soil.
I avoided this for a long time because I thought it was going to be gross and stinky. But you can get a cool counter-top compost container with a carbon filter so it doesn’t take up too much space and doesn’t get too smelly.
I use a Veritek silver compost pail. You can find the specific carbon-filtered compost pail here.
Together we can help Mama Earth one micro-step at a time
Hopefully, you found at least one thing you can easily change to start reducing your carbon and water footprint. It might not be quick, but if everyone made these changes, we'd be in a much better place.
Already using one of these options? Snap a photo and tag @eatyourwayclean in it! Would love to see these tips in action!