I remember in the beginning I was completely overwhelmed with going green. It felt like I would have to get rid of everything in my pantry and medicine cabinet immediately. Instead of throwing everything in the trash, slow down and take one step at a time. When you step back and look at the big picture, you can start to take small steps that will equal a huge impact in the long run. If you are feeling overwhelmed or as if feel you aren’t making a big enough impact – relax. Start by asking yourself questions throughout the day to see where you can add more small green steps. Once you get started, you will find that those small steps really can add up to a bigger impact.
To get you started, here are some small green steps that you may not be already taking that you can easily add to your routine:
1. Wear it Again:
Many clothing items can be worn again before being thrown in the wash. My thought, if I can’t see or smell (ew!) it, then it should be worn again, except for undergarments, soiled clothing, and washcloths of course!
2. Use it Again:
You can reuse the same cup all day long, just fill it up again. There is no need to use a new glass every single time you need a drink of water or a cup of coffee. Every morning, I fill up my favorite cat mug with tea, and I fill it up over and over again until I put it in the dishwasher at dinner time.
3. Bundle it Up:
Plan all of your errands and shopping for the same day. If you need to get groceries, fill up the gas tank, do your banking, drop off the library books, and pick up the dry cleaning – do it all together. It is much more eco-friendly to run all of the errands at once and it frees up a lot of time in your schedule for the rest of the week. Plus, won’t you feel better when your to-do list is done early in the week!
4. Re-Think About It:
Before you throw something away or recycle it, think about it for a moment – can it be reused or used for something else? Remember, recycling takes energy too, so if it can be reused or given to someone else, this is still a better option.
5. Turn It Off | Unplug It:
If it isn’t being used, turn it off or unplug it. A good rule of thumb – if it has a clock, it is sucking energy even if it turned off, so unplug it. This goes for coffee makers, microwaves, DVD players, televisions etc;. You get the point.
6. Borrow It:
When it comes to items that you need for a specific project that you will only be doing once, (such as a ladder to hang that chandelier) consider borrowing or renting it. And if you plan on only going camping, skiing or to the lake once a year, it may be more eco-friendly just to rent the equipment that you need.
7. Share It:
Wouldn’t it be something if communities shared items such as lawnmowers, wheelbarrows, shovels, bicycles, sports equipment, and rakes? It is amazing how most households have a lawnmower that they probably only use during certain times of the year and usually only once a week. I would love to see communities that share equipment, think: a library for things that we rarely use.
8. Thrift It:
When we need something I think it is fun to try to find it at the thrift store first. You will be amazed at how many fantastic things you can find that are in like new condition. We were in need of pots for planting our veggies, an umbrella and a stock pot – the thrift store had them all. Most likely they will have many of the items that you need too.
What simple ways have you found to take small green steps in your daily living?