It’s usually not the big things that stop us when figuring out how to live green. More likely it is the daily habits that we develop over time. If you have developed some bad green habits, there’s no time like the present to change them. So, how exactly do you live green? It’s a simple two-step process. First, take an honest look at your current habits. Then, find ways to live greener.
Steps to a Greener Lifestyle
Step One ─ Assess Your Habits
Make a list of areas in your life that you can improve. Keep your list short and manageable. Here’s an example:
- Transportation. Include when and how you get from point A to point B for work, entertainment and errands.
- Energy Consumption. Include when and how much gas and electricity you consume.
- Food. Include when, where, and how often you eat in restaurants. Also list your grocery shopping habits, including the amount of food you buy, eat and throw out.
- Clothes, Electronics and Furniture. Include the types of products you buy and how often you you replace them.
- Cleaning and Personal Care Products. Include the types of products you buy and how often you replace them.
STEP TWO ─ Green Your Habits
Look at your above list to see your current habits. Usually it’s fairly easy to see where you can make little adjustments to green your habits. Here are a few samples to help you get started:
- Bring your own bags when shopping.
- Buy vintage clothing, furniture, electronics and other items. You can find vintage items on Ebay, Craigslist, garage and estate sales, thrift store and at vintage specialty stores.
- Call your local garbage company to ask for a current list of items accepted in their recycle program. Post it on your refrigerator.
- Carpool whenever you can and work from home when possible.
- Compost food and other accepted items through your garbage company and start a compost bin at home.
- Do all your shopping at one time instead of making many trips.
- Drive your car for long as long as possible instead of replacing it every couple of years.
- Keep your vehicle tuned up and in good condition so that it will last a long time, won’t cause air pollution, will consume less gas, and will need fewer repairs in the long run.
- Make a list before grocery shopping that includes organic foods (when you can afford them), non-processed foods (foods without chemicals), and foods that use small amounts of packaging.
- Pack a waste-free lunch from home for you mid-day meal.
- Recycle batteries, paint, oil and other household hazardous waste (toxic materials) through your local garbage company if they offer programs. If they don’t, find a household hazardous waste facility in your area to properly get rid of them.
- Remember to use cloth napkins and towels instead of items made from paper or plastic.
- Save glass jars from items such jam, pickles, and marinara sauce to reuse as storage containers for food.
- Save printer mistakes and use the flip side to make your own tablets.
- Split large meals at restaurants when possible or order an item with the intention of eating the leftovers at home. Bring a container from home for leftovers instead of asking for a to-go box.
- Shut off, swtich off, turn off whenever possible, for example shut off water, switch off lights, turn off electronics.
- Use the internet to listen to music, watch movies, and to read books and magazines.
- Avoid impulse purchases by waiting a day before buying non-essential and big-ticket items.