10 Simple Ways To Live More Sustainably, Starting Today

Written by Emmanuelle Chriqui

New Year’s isn’t the only time to make resolutions. How about we all make one big one this Earth Day to live a more eco-friendly existence?

There’s this notion that it’s difficult and expensive to live a more sustainable life. But guess what? It’s not at all! Earth is in serious need of our help, and we can all pitch in. Everything you do, no matter how big or small, helps.

Here are 10 simple tips to help you start living a greener existence right away.

1. Bring a reusable grocery bag to the store when you shop.

It takes between 15 and 1,000 years for a plastic bag to decompose, and the United States uses 100 billion new plastic bags each year. Imagine how much lower these numbers would be if everybody brought her own reusable bag to the store.

2. Quit buying bottled water. Instead, get a water bottle that you can refill.

Bottled water wastes fossil fuels in both production and transport, and the plastic bottles continue to end up in our landfills. Tap water in the US is subject to more stringent federal safety regulations than bottled water, so when you drink from the tap you know it's actually safe to drink.

3. Avoid buying things packed in Styrofoam or plastic.

Why? Because Styrofoam and plastic aren't sustainable and are heavily polluting materials.

4. Buy locally.

When you buy local, you reduce your environmental impact because you help cut down on transportation, congestion and pollution.

5. Eat seasonally.

You help support more sustainable farmers, and you get fresher food! If you buy ingredients that are in season, you know that your food hasn’t been sitting around in a warehouse.

6. Get e-tickets for movies, flights and other events instead of printing.

Save the trees and use an alternative to printing when it’s available. We need the trees to pull the CO2 out of the air, which means we need to stop wasting paper. Airlines, movie theaters and events now have e-tickets which is an easy way to cut back on needless paper use.

7. Wash your clothes in cold water.

Ninety percent of the energy your washing machine uses is for heating the water, so if you use cold water to wash your clothes, it can make a huge difference in energy efficiency.

8. Take public transportation, carpool, ride your bike or walk whenever possible.

You can help cut down on air pollution and reduce your carbon footprint. It doesn’t even take that much effort, plus you get to spend more time outside or with friends!

9. Volunteer at a community garden.

By getting involved, you're helping to spread the environmental message. If you know of a community garden, you can help plant your own food, free of chemicals! A huge perk is that you get to eat (organically, if you choose to) for a fraction of the cost of buying the same foods at the grocery store. If you're really ambitious, you can start a community garden in your neighborhood.

10. Stop throwing away your dryer lint!

Put it in the backyard for the birds — they use it to feather their nests.

The more you can live daily without creating waste, the better your impact on the environment. Instead of throwing things away, figure out how you can upcycle them and transform trash into something useful.

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