Sustainable Living in Six Simple Steps

Most people understand that going green will help the health of the environment, but few seem to realize just how simple it can be. It’s not necessary to run away to a cabin in the middle of nowhere, or buy thousands of dollars worth of solar panels. By applying the mantra “reduce, re-use, recycle” and making a few simple changes to your everyday life, you can increase the health of your body and the amount of green left in your wallet. Here are six things you can do that will dramatically reduce your impact on the environment:

REDUCE

  • Go paperless. Almost all of your bills can be paid online or by phone. Your credit card, utility, and bank statements can all be set to be viewed online via a secure connection. Save your documents by downloading them and securing them to a thumb drive to guard against losing them in case of a hard drive crash. The amount of paper saved will greatly reduce what goes in your local landfill.
  • Buy a water filter. Bottled water is ridiculously expensive (more expensive than gasoline!), and the plastic bottles are unhealthy (the components of the plastic leach into the water itself). Good faucet-based water filters made by brands like Pur are comparatively inexpensive and can remove enough contaminants that the water from your tap might as well be water from a bottle. Get your eight glasses a day by filling up a purchased BPA-free bottle and carrying it with you.

RE-USE

  • Pack your lunch. Save your money by staying away from overpriced healthy eateries, and save your health by keeping out of processed-food havens. Carry it in a reusable insulated lunch bag. Use reusable glass or BPA-free containers that can be found at most retailers, and stay away from disposable plastics.
  • Use a sponge (or a dishcloth). The manufacturing of paper towels creates all kinds of environmental issues, including deforestation and chemical effluent in our lakes and rivers. Also, think of how much money you can save simply by cleaning up that spill with a micro-fiber cloth. Concerned about bacteria? Rinse the cloth thoroughly and sanitize it in your sink with cool water and a small amount of chlorine bleach before using again.
  • Buy a coffee cup. Most of us can’t function without our morning coffee, but that coffee consumed every morning in a disposable cup creates a host of nasty environmental issues. If you’re not making it at home, and you simply must stop at your local beanery, purchase one of their insulated refillable cups, or bring your own. Many retailers will offer a discount for “going green” at their establishment. Besides, your beverage stays hot or cold longer!

RECYCLE

  • Donate your old electronics. Most of our home electronics contain harmful metals and chemicals that can cause health problems for all of us if not disposed of properly. In fact, many states have laws in place concerning e-waste disposal. As listed on epa.gov, the EPA strongly supports “keeping used electronics out of landfills, to recover materials and reduce the environmental impacts and energy demands from mining and manufacturing.” When recycled or donated, you save harmful elements from leaching into the local water table.

You don’t have to be an environmental activist to do something positive for the environment. All it takes is a desire for healthy living and a little bit of common sense. You deserve a better world, and the small changes you make today will have a big impact for years to come.