Make your year a lot more eco-friendly by stopping these 20 wasteful habits. You will save money and help the environment with each habit you stop.
It seems like every day there is a new environmental disaster. 2020 started off with the Australian wildfires and we continue to hear bad news about climate change and our impact on the environment.
While we need to see change coming from governments and large companies, we can all do our part as well. Our changes can also impact global change as brands and governments see what we all want from them.
Even very small changes add up for reducing our own personal environmental impact. If we each made 20 changes for 2020 we could reduce a lot of waste and make a big difference. We don’t need a few people doing this perfectly, we need a lot of people doing it imperfectly.
If you aren’t sure where to start this list of 20 wasteful things to stop doing in 2020 can help you get started.
20 Wasteful Things to Stop Doing
- Bring reusable bags with you for all of your shopping. There are great options for compact reusable bags that you can throw in your car, purse, backpack, or even your pocket. This can help you avoid collecting tons of paper and plastic bags. Many stores will also offer you a discount for bringing your own bag.
- Use lower waste cleaning products. Making your own cleaning products or choosing concentrated products can help cut back on waste. Grove Collaborative has great cleaner systems where you use the same bottles over and over and mix up your own concentrated cleaners.
- Buy less clothing. We are wasting a lot of clothing and it’s an environmental disaster. Buy less overall and when you do shop go to your local thrift stores or have swap parties with your friends. You can also rent clothing which is especially helpful for events.
- Waste less food. Becoming mindful of food waste is huge when it comes to creating less waste. There are many ways to do this but the biggest thing is paying attention to what you buy and having a plan so you will use it.
- Use reusable drink containers. Ditch the single serving size drinks and to-go coffee cups. Use a reusable bottle and reusable coffee mug.
- Stop using paper towels. If this seems hard, start by putting your roll of paper towels in a cabinet or pantry. Put rags in its place and make sure hand towels are easy to get to. You will soon find that the reusable options are often better and it’s not as hard as you think.
- Take shorter showers. Hot showers are relaxing and hard to get out of, especially in the colder months, but they can waste a lot of water and energy. Get a shower timer or set your phone alarm so you know when you’ve been in there long enough. For most people, 5 minutes is plenty of time to get clean.
- Only run full loads in the dishwasher and washing machine. Washing full loads is a more efficient use of the water and energy required for laundry and dishes.
- Switch to cloth napkins. Just like paper towels, this seems harder than it is. If you are worried about stains simply choose a dark color that won’t show stains. It adds minimal laundry as they can just be thrown in with towels and they will reduce a lot of waste.
- Drive less. There are a lot of ways to reduce the amount you drive. You can combine errands, shop less often, see about telecommuting to work, carpooling, public transportation, and the options go on and on. This will put fewer miles on your car, save you money on gas, and reduce the impact your car is having on the environment.
- Cook at home more often. Fast food and takeout are especially wasteful. Cooking at home more usually means healthier meals, more time with family, and a lot less waste.
- Choose more staycations. If you are in Oklahoma don’t think there is nothing to do here because there is a lot to do in Oklahoma. Staying closer to home can be great for your budget, helps our local economy, and means a smaller carbon footprint.
- Eat less meat. Eating meat has a big carbon footprint. If you aren’t wanting to go full vegetarian consider at least cutting back. Meatless Monday is a great way to get started.
- Skip takeout. With so many delivery services now it’s just a few clicks to have food brought to your door. Unfortunately, that comes with a lot of waste. Eating at home is better for us and can be done in a much less wasteful way. If you do want food out, go to the restaurant or use zero-waste takeout technics to avoid waste.
- Line dry your clothes. Dryers use a lot of energy and if you are in Oklahoma we have a lot of great sunny days that are perfect for line drying. That Oklahoma wind can also help your clothes dry in no time.
- Buy fewer gifts. Not gifts in general but material gifts. Choose to give experience gifts instead of more stuff that will clutter someone’s home and waste resources.
- Shop locally. When you shop locally you are saving on resources and also helping your local economy. It’s especially great to support local shops that are working to be eco-friendly as well.
- Start a garden. Even if you only grow a few herbs in your kitchen window you can help cut back on waste. Fresh food also tastes the best. If you have kids be sure to get them involved.
- Buy a smaller home. When home shopping, think about how much space you need. Don’t buy the biggest house your budget can allow, buy what works well for you and your family. You will save money not only when buying the house but also on electricity.
- When ordering online combine your orders. Amazon now has an option for a delivery day where all your recent orders go into one order. This will reduce packaging and shipments. When ordering from other places try and think if there is anything else you will need soon and get it all at one time. You can even see if friends or family want to join in and do one big order.
You don’t have to do this whole list at once. Pick on thing at a time and just keep working through it until you’ve done it all. If we each work on this in 2020 we can make a big difference.
Don’t forget to join the Green Living in Oklahoma Facebook group for help and advice on these topics and others.