Saving the planet can seem like an extreme and even impossible task.
Industry and lifestyles are constantly evolving and along with it comes mass production and chemical pollution, at an all time high.
Our planet is precious, we only have one, and while we might seem safe and averagely healthy today, future generations will suffer due to our actions.
If we all made a few of few of these simple lifestyle changes, it would go a long way to preserving and taking better care of our environment, our own health and also our bank balance.
1. Reusable bags. Never leave the house without one. Purchase the type that can be tucked away in a pocket or handbag. Make plastic bags a thing of the past. Plastic takes approximately 100 years to biodegrade.
2. Recycle. Glass, aluminium, plastic, clothing—rather than throwing things in a waste bin, save it up and take it to a recycling centre. They can usually be found on supermarket parking lot or an allocated central location.
3. Second hand and vintage. There are some treasures to be found online and in thrift stores. Explore and try new styles—create your own unique look and avoid buying directly from the high street.
4. Coffee/Tea mug. Pop one in a bag and when out and about, ask the shop to refill the mug rather than taking a disposable one. Most stores are more than happy to do this and some even offer an option to use their own versions.
5. Buy local produce. We won’t have to travel far to get fruits and vegetable and the goods won’t have travelled far to get to us. Plus it reduces the damaging effects of factory farming.
6. Turn off tap. When brushing teeth or washing, turn the tap on and off rather than leaving it running.
7. Shower rather than bath. A bath uses twice the amount of water, unless necessary cut it out or try to cut down.
8. Bicycling. Leave the car and cycle instead. Saves money, saves the environment, is much more enjoyable and promotes physical fitness. Win/win/win/win.
9. Opt for vegan or vegetarian food. Not only will animals be saved, but the environment is saved too. Win/ win. It takes two and a half gallons of water to produce every pound of beef.
10. Eat only sustainable fish. Approximately 90% of the ocean’s fish have diminished, choose carefully if you purchase fish.
11. Use rechargeable batteries. In America alone 180,000 tonnes of single use batteries are thrown out every year.
12. Plant a tree. Trees are integral to the ecosystem. Research the best type of tree for your area and the best place to plant it. They produce oxygen and cool the air.
13. Invest in organic coconut oil. Its uses are endless, purchase in bulk and use for numerous purposes, washing, moisturising, conditioning,
14. Organic. Cut out chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers.
15. Place a bottle in your cistern. Fill a bottle full of water and put it in the cistern and save up to a gallon of water with every flush.
16. Layer up rather than turn on the heating. An extra sweater, hat, pair of socks all can keep the heat in the body. Save money and save the planet!
17. Turn off all technology at night. Computers, chargers, televisions, microwaves all continue to use the supply if they are not switched off at the mains.
18. Clean the condenser on the fridge. This can save approximately 25% of the energy used.
19. Cut food into smaller pieces. Reduces cooking time.
20. Cover saucepans with lids. Reduces cooking time.
21. Choose natural fabrics. For clothing, furniture and bedding. Choose organic and recycled textiles.
22. Use a steamer. Two of more vegetables can be cooked from the same pan.
23. Use 100% recycled napkins – around 34 million trees a year are destroyed to make napkins. Purchase a small batch of recycled ones and keep in a handbag or pocket to be used when eating out. Also opt for recycled toilet tissue and paper too.
24. Choose the microwave. Where possible microwave rather than oven cook—it uses approximately ⅓ the amount of the energy.
25. Car share. If possible opt to share journeys with those traveling in the same direction. There are plenty of websites that offer a service to match people to destinations so that energy and money can be saved.
26. Cook double. Put the remains in a sealed container and freeze until next time.
27. Cut down on junk mail. Write to Mail Preference Service, Direct Marketing Association, P.O. Box 3861, New York, NY 10163-3861 and reduce junk mail by 75%.
28. Use reusable containers. For storing food cut out the need for foil and cling film and product food in sealable containers.
29. Keep doors closed. Contains heat and reduces the need to turn up the heating.
30. Cup plastic six pack holders and other ringed materials. These are extremely harmful to wildlife so cut them before disposing.
31. Purchase in bulk. Buy the larger sized products that contain double the amount of product – saves in packaging.
32. Use cloth rags. Cut out kitchen towels by using cloth rags rather paper towels. They can be rinsed and left to dry instead.
33. Keep car tyres inflated. Preserves the life of the tyres, cuts out rubber waste and saves money on fuel.
34. Use a manual sweeper. Only use a hoover when essential on carpets and sweep hard floors and tiles.
35. Turn the oven off 5 minutes early. Food will continue to cook as the temperature cools down gradually.
36. Bleed radiators regularly. Maximizes efficiency and keeps them working properlyPurchase CFC free products—CFC (chlorofluorocarbon) is responsible for harming the ozone layer. Mostly in the form of aerosol sprays.
37. Use a car wash. Saves around half the amount of water that is used if we wash it ourselves.
38. Choose fluorescent light bulbs. They use approximately 75% less energy than standard ones
39. Paint walls light colours. Reduces the need for artificial lighting to brighten rooms.
40. Don’t block radiators. Remove furniture and any other items away from radiators to maximize temperatures.
41. Choose a wind up alarm clock. Much more reliable than using an electric one that could cut out if there is a supply fault. And saves money and energy.
42. Only boil what is required. Fill kettles and pans with only the amount of water needed rather than overfilling.
43. Invest in plants. A far more natural way to filter the air and freshen rooms rather than chemical air fresheners.
44. Use a lint ball. Pop one in the tumble dryer and cut out the need for fabric softeners.
45. Use baking soda or vinegar to clean. Cuts out the need for harmful chemical cleaning products and cleans bathrooms just as well.
46. Insulate windows. Purchase a window film from a hardware store and follow simple instructions to seal to offer an effective double glazing.
47. Use the dishwasher but only when full. Opting out of hand washing and using a dishwasher can save hundreds of gallons of water a month.
48. Don’t use microbeads in cosmetics. They end up back in the oceans and are harmful to fish and wildlife.
49. Cut out baby wipes. They are usually full of chemicals, choose organic cotton wool and warm water instead.
50. Use a refillable water bottle. In America around 1.5 million barrels of oil are used to manufacture disposable water bottles every year.
51. Share. Share knowledge, share ideas—share this article. Pass on tips to others and ask them to share widely too.
52. Purchase CFC free products—CFC (chlorofluorocarbon) is responsible for harming the ozone layer. Mostly in the form of aerosol sprays.
“Only when the last tree has died and the river have been poisoned and the last fish is caught will we realize we cannot eat money.” ~ Mohammed Talha
Make small changes and then make them last—it is not always possible to do everything at once, commit to one thing and soon it will become a routine. Don’t add too much pressure or it will become overwhelming.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Alex Sandra Myles
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock