By now, we’ve all heard that we should be "going green." But what does that really mean, and how can our small actions possibly make a dent in an issue as huge as global warming?
Let’s dive into a few simple, approachable tweaks you can make every day—across all aspects of your busy routine—and explore how they can add up to your health and the health of the planet.
When you wake up: Dress in eco-friendly options.
Did you know that the fashion industry is the fifth most notorious polluter in the world, emitting 1,715 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year? In order to bring this number down, we can all do our part by investing in clothing that’s multipurpose and made to last, so that we’re not constantly tossing and buying new looks. We can also opt for natural fabrics, which typically don’t take as much energy and chemicals to produce as synthetics.
Toad&Co’s line of stylish lifestyle apparel inspired by the outdoors works perfectly as day-to-day wardrobe options (this comfy sweater and chic cardigan are great examples) and are made from sustainable materials like certified organic cotton, hemp, and recycled wool—so you can feel comfortable knowing your purchase is sustainable and natural, not cheaply made fast fashion. Their versatile lifestyle pieces truly do double duty: They’re just as appropriate for an afternoon hike as they are for after-work beers (hello, capsule wardrobe!). Plus, proceeds from every purchase go to Designed for Good, which helps adults with disabilities have transformative experiences outdoors.
On your morning commute: Use a reusable container.
Pass over the café or smoothie shop on your way to work (to-go beverage cups generate tons of waste) and prep your coffee or green juice at home and bring it on the go in a reusable container. In doing so, you’ll cut down on unnecessary single-use plastic. On average, we throw away half of our plastics after just one use, and plastic accounts for 10 percent of the total waste we generate. Make a dent in your trash by going with a long-lasting option, like this one.
At lunch: Pack your own food in jars.
Yet another reason to take on meal prepping! By preparing your lunches at home every day, you’ll be able to tailor your food to your specific tastes and you won’t be tempted to run out and grab a treat you’ll regret by 3 p.m. Even better, you’ll be cutting down on disposable food containers and saving money. Mason jars are a great option for storing larger dishes like salads and soups since they’re portable and available in many different sizes. For those smaller items that you’re tempted to throw in a plastic bag, try a more eco-friendly option like a cloth wrapping or Bee’s Wrap, a plastic-free, biodegradable packaging material made from beeswax that can be reused to wrap food again and again. Bonus: You can use it as a place mat too! If every family switched over to options like these, they’d save 500 plastic baggies a year on average.
After your workout: Take shorter showers.
While this idea might make you cringe at first, hear us out. Even cutting down on your shower time by just five minutes can save up to 10 gallons of water—enough to keep you hydrated for nearly a month. Music is a nifty tool to help you ease into a more efficient shower routine. Simply throw on a song you love and get out of the shower once it ends. Challenge yourself to make those tunes shorter and shorter each time!
On the weekends: Get out in nature.
Instead of spending your free time indoors, use it as an opportunity to explore the world around you. Taking hikes in nature is a great way to not only immerse yourself in beauty, but it’s actually been proven to decrease blood pressure, anxiety, and stress hormones. Before you head out, be sure to read up on local wildlife, familiarize yourself with the rules of the trail, and pack your food in reusable containers so you’re not tempted to litter. The benefits of being out in nature cannot be underestimated.