Image © Krissa Cavouras
5. Reduce Your Food Waste
This sounds like a no-brainer (who wants to throw out food?), but most of us end up tossing out food that’s gone bad before we’ve had a chance to use it. This not only wastes good food,
but it's also a means of tossing portions of your paycheck into those already-overflowing landfills. Try doing some meal-planning in advance—like on weekends, or on an evening when you and your family have some spare time—so you only buy the groceries that you know will be used over the course of the week. Remove vegetables
from plastic bags before putting them in the fridge, and if you think something's on the verge of going off, freeze it: you can use it for soup stock at a later date.
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.