It's been said that we cannot do great things in this lifetime: just small things with great love. Though none of us can single-handedly wipe all the yuck from the planet, some pretty monumental changes can occur if each and every one of us just made a few simple changes in our lifestyles. We're now firmly established in the new year, and though some resolutions may have fallen by the wayside by now, it's not too late to make the decision to live in a way that's kinder and more gentle to the planet we all call home. Read on for 6 ways that you can lessen your eco-footprint in 2013 and beyond.
1. Reuse Bags and Containers
It’s easy to carry around a reusable bag in your purse or pocket so you don’t have to buy a plastic one at the store. There are countless styles available in a variety of fabrics, so feel free to scour local shops, Etsy, etc. for bags you’d be happy to tote around. Hell, if you know how to sew, you can even transform old drapery or upholstery fabric into the bag of your dreams.
Try to buy products that are contained in glass or paper (and thus, recyclable), or take your own containers to farmers’ markets, and bulk/whole food stores. Go right ahead and show up with BPA-free plastic containers when you order from take-out places too! Every little bit we do adds up to create a cleaner planet.
2. Use Biodegradable Cleaning Products
Every time I go shopping, I’m delighted to see how many great alternatives there are to standard cleaning products. Laundry detergent, dish soap, all-purpose cleaners—so many products out there are now far more eco-friendly than they were 20 years ago. If you use store-bought cleaners for your home, look for products that are biodegradable and phosphate-free, such as those made by Seventh Generation, Green Works, and Bio-Life (Shoppers Drug Mart brand).
If you’re in the USA, you can look for products with the Green Seal on them, while the Eco Logo/Bio Vert logos are the ones to look out for in Canada. Of course, to be super-environmentally-friendly, you could just make your own cleaners with baking soda, vinegar, and water.
3. Buy (And Use) Your Own Water Bottle
This should be on everyone’s list for this year. Along with all of those discarded plastic bags, plastic water bottles end up in landfills and waterways all over the world. Ditch the plastic, invest in a Klean Kanteen or BPA-free Nalgene bottle (or just hold onto screw-top glass bottles), and carry your own water around with you.