Easy Being Green: How to be Eco Friendly

You see it everywhere. Products emblazoned with “less plastic”, “organic”, pro-reusable and eco friendly messages that abound from left and right beckon for you to join them in their quest for some long overdue earthly repair work; and as time goes on, it is becoming more common that doing the green thing is just as easy– if not easier– than conventional alternatives.

Eco friendly culture is not a trend, it is an increased awareness in a responsibility we all share, and an investment in the future that previous generations let go.

Being environmentally friendly starts with you. Remember that going green doesn’t mean turning your lifestyle completely on end, but rather simple changes and a little extra thought until good practices become habit.

Look at what’s in your hand for a basic step into eco friendly living: disposable water bottles account for over five billion pounds of new generated plastic in the United States annually, and the average person who trades them for a reusable drinking vessel saves over three hundred bottles per year, several hundred dollars and quite a lot of new and recycled plastic, not to mention the energy required to produce it.

You can also reduce plastic in other forms. Buy the product with the least packaging, and switch to reusable or paper cups and plates from the disposable plastic ones. Invest in some recycled-plastic-cloth shopping bags and don’t use plastic bags for your groceries.

Try to incorporate your routine for the earth’s health into your own personal health regimen. Avoid drinking out of plastic bottles, to keep harmful chemicals out of your system and prevent them from being produced. Eat organic foods when possible, and try to stay away from anything over processed. Try starting a compost heap or worm farm, growing your own vegetables from heirloom seeds, and cut down on meat to reduce your methane footprint. Seafood is a tricky subject, as it was once hailed for its nutrients, but now may contain dangerous levels of mercury or may be a product of unsustainable fishing practices, so make informed choices. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, the bike, board or your feet instead of the car.

Find out what’s really working to kill germs in your choices of cleaning products, as you may be using harmful toxins unnecessarily, and in our day and age there is almost always a natural way to get the same job done. But be wary of a deceptive marketing strategy known as “greenwashing”, in which big companies, commonly manufacturers of cleaning products, claim to be a green alternative, because you will not only support the dishonest practice of greenwashing, but you will not actually have taken a step in the eco friendly direction.

If it’s hot or cold, try wearing a sweater or a tank top accordingly instead of being quick to turn on the air conditioner or the heater, and give your temperature control systems a rest at least part of every day. A/C and heating units burn energy and may release additional chemicals into the atmosphere. For the same reason in warm weather, try to use a fan in place of an air conditioner.

Sustainable living isn’t just for the home either. While you’re at work, open a window instead of using the aircon. Get a filter installed instead of paying for bottled water (even the bulk bottled water for offices is just filtered tap water that’s been transported in, often emitting a large amount of carbon dioxide along the way). Choose corporate gifts that are sustainable or give charity gifts to reduce landfill (who really wants another mousepad or stress ball?). Instead of sending out hundreds of corporate holiday cards, send a Christmas ecard. Not only is it cheaper for you and costs the environment next to nothing, they’re also cusomisable and trackable. There are so many other little things that you can do in the office to save energy, reduce waste and foster a more sustainable environment.

If you can’t reuse or reduce, recycle. So many things that we used to throw away can now be recycled and in every city local government, companies and charitable organizations have set up convenient recycling drop off points and some will even collect. We all know that paper, cardboard, plastics, glass, and tin can be recycled. But there are also companies that reuse or recycle scrap metal, office furniture, computer equipment, printer cartridges, cell phones and many other unusual items. Call your local government office to find out what recycling is available in your area.