With everything our world has been facing, it's hard to deny global warming. I don't know about you, but sometimes our planet's condition is almost too overwhelming to think about.
When I was little, I remember learning that we should turn the faucet off when were brushing our teeth, and to turn the lights off when we leave to conserve energy and water. I remember my 3rd grade teacher telling us about electric cars and saying "some day, you all will start looking at cars, and I hope you'll consider choosing one that's more environmentally friendly." I remember my middle school science teacher doing a blind taste test with tap water and all of the major bottled water brands and pointing out that most of us said we preferred the taste of tap, and not to fall for bottled waters marketing tactics. I remember learning about fossil fuels and how clean, renewable energy could help us prevent the hole in the ozone layer from growing.
As a young adult, I've been trying to piece together what I can do to limit my impact on the earth. It got me thinking: maybe if we had a reminder of the simple changes we can make, it wouldn't feel so daunting. So, I've compiled all of the little things I do to be green, and a few of my goals to continue to improve. Some of these may seem obvious, but I hope you're able to find at least one new idea to incorporate into your routine!
1. When I'm grabbing food to go, I've noticed so many people reach for a water bottle in the check out line. Instead, ask for a cup of tap water. Or, if you're in a pinch, look for boxed water or a glass bottle (like Voss). Bonus points for refilling and reusing a glass bottle!!
2. Only ask for a bag (regardless of if it's plastic or paper) if you truly can't carry what you bought (girls, does it fit in your purse?). If you do need to take your items in bags, be sure to save them and reuse!!
3. When you're at a bar or restaurant, ask for a refill of your drink in the first cup you were given. There's no need for a new glass each time you order another drink!
4. I know it's tempting to buy all of the cute paper party cups and plates when you're hosting, but opt to use real glassware and plates if possible! You can still have fun with it (I have a collection of jungle animal dessert plates I like to whip out), and your fun wont create bags of unnecessary garbage.
5. Buy a variety of tupperware! I promise there is no better feeling than having the perfect sized container to save something in.
6. Don't buy disposable zip-lock bags or plastic wrap. I recently invested in these reusable sandwich bags and they work just as well as the disposables (plus, they're way cuter). I also found these super simple bags if you're more of a minimalist.
7. My apartment building doesn't have a recycling service (booooo👎), so every week I take my recycling to work with me! I work at a college, so an extra 2 bags is no big deal. However, if your workplace isn't in to you offloading cat food cans and shampoo bottles, bring it directly to your town's recycling center!
8. In college I didn't have a car until senior year, so I would always bribe friends with Starbucks to bring me to the cobbler. Don't just get rid of clothes or shoes when they start to show a bit of wear, get them repaired! Fast fashion has us feeling too comfortable with treating our clothes as disposables, because we often only spent $20 on each piece... but this is not good for our earth! Buy pieces you love, and spend the extra $10 - $15 a year to get them repaired if need be. Similarly, I recently bought this de-piller to freshen up my workout gear if it starts pilling, and it's totally worth the $8!!
9. Bike around town for short trips. I try to use my car as little as possible on the weekends if I'm just meeting a friend for coffee or grabbing something from the grocery store. It's good for the earth, you save on gas, and it helps you burn those extra calories from brunch!
10. Keep food or takeout containers to reuse whenever possible. I recently splurged on some (delicious) Orange Blossom Honey Le Fermiere yogurt from Whole Foods, and kept the cute little clay pot to use as a planter!
11. Plan your weekly meals ahead so you don't overbuy. Our country waists 133 BILLION pounds of food a year! It's fun to come up with a menu for the week, and helps you avoid throwing out your produce!
12. Ok, I know a lot of people are going to roll their eyes at this one, but eat less meat! The digestive systems of cattle (and all ruminant animals) release methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Personally, I love being a pescetarian!
13. When holidays or birthdays roll around, i have one thing on my mind: fun wrapping! But, you can avoid fumbling with paper that never seems to come out looking Pinterest-perfect and wrap with reusable materials / items! Lush has a gorgeous line of scarfs to use as an alternative to wrapping paper, and a ton of great ideas on how to reuse your scarf! Or, if your gift is a little bigger, buy a reusable bag to wrap it in! I found a few options, like these whimsical drawstring bags, these floral bags, or these hand printed gift wraps!