Every minute, one garbage truck of plastic is dumped into the ocean.
By 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish and most fish that humans consume have ingested plastic microfibers. Less than 20 percent of roughly 30 billion plastic water bottles that are sold every year in the U.S. are recycled. Half of the Great Barrier Reef has died since 2016.
Did this grab your attention? The sad truth is that these facts will continue to get worse if we do not change our current lifestyle, but that does not mean we have to spend an abundant amount or sacrifice all our time and effort to do so. The smallest about of change can make a lasting impact if everyone comes together.
What if I told you that recycling one ton of paper can save seventeen trees or that one aluminum can is capable of running a television and a computer for two or three hours or that cutting the six-pack-rings on your soda or beer can prevent wildlife and marine life entanglement? Most people will turn away from the idea of “Green-Living” because they believe it will be too costly to go green or they will have to sacrifice too much to change their current lifestyle.
This, however, is not the case as the most effective changes are actually the simplest. The worst thing we can do is continue to do the same things because it’s what we’ve always done. This guide is to provide you easy tips to help you transition into a better lifestyle that require minimum to no cost at all and limited effort and you, as well as the environment, will be so glad you did.
Ten Simple (and Mostly Free) Ways to Live Greener
- Declining a Paper Receipt
Instead of accepting a paper receipt, stores now often have the option of an email or text receipt.
- Paperless BillingYou don’t have to receive bills in the mail anymore as many companies now have a paperless billing option, allowing you to receive your bills by email or online account. You can also opt for direct payment which allows your bills to be paid automatically.
- Stop Your Junk Mail
Junk mail is often unwanted and considered a nuisance. It takes an average of twenty-four trees to create one ton of the paper used for junk mail. Average that out to every mailbox for one year and the numbers are staggering. An average 70 lbs of junk mail are sent out within a year which is approximately 96 million trees. It takes less that ten minutes to cancel your junk mail
- Reduce the Use of Plastic Water Bottles
Invest in reusable water bottles versus constantly purchasing plastic water bottles. Box Water is also a great option to get away from bottled water. Box Water is 100 percent recyclable and made of 74 percent paper which comes from managed forests that replant the trees they harvest.
- Reduce Use of Plastic Straws
500 million straws are used in the U.S. every day. Every. Single. Day. This type of single-use plastic is among the “Top-Ten” of items found on beach clean ups. Plastic never completely biodegrades, and straws contain BPA which cannot be recycled. The easiest way is to cut out straw use in the home. Stainless or Bamboo Straws are also great alternatives over plastic straws.
- Switch to Natural Cleaning Products
Many, if not most, cleaning products for both personal and household use include harsh chemicals including perfumes, dyes, bleach, ammonia and many others. Switching to natural products can be beneficial to both your family, pets and the planet.
- Practice Water Conversation
We are all guilty of water waste whether it is leaving the water running while we brush our teeth or waiting for the water to warm up. Be conscious of the amount of water we use is both vital and free.
- Conserve Your Home’s EnergyAs with the water conservation, we tend to waste a lot of energy as well. Switching to LED lightbulbs, rechargeable batteries, opening windows and blinds and managing our electronic use are all easy ways to make most of the energy we use at home.
- Shop from Environmentally Friendly Brands
There are lots of companies now to are very eco-friendly and environmental conscious. Brands have now started giving back by creating product of recycled goods, replanting trees, organized cleanups and more. Supporting these companies can both help you live greener as well as help them with their missions. See below which companies give back.
- RecycleIf you haven’t already started, I encourage you to begin recycling. The City of Little Rock offers residential recycling for only $4.14 a month and you can recycle directly from your home. Certain grocery stores have recycling bins on site for their plastic grocery bags. You can also find recycling bins around town or certain venues allowing you to recycle anywhere you go. Contact your local city office to find out how you can recycle.