Living a more sustainable life isn’t just a passing fad or a growing trend anymore — it’s quickly becoming a societal necessity. According to experts, we’ve got roughly 11 years to prevent the damage to the planet from becoming irreversible.
While living a more sustainable lifestyle is important, many people aren’t quite sure where to start when it comes to becoming greener than they were before. Here are some non-sustainable items that you can swap out for green alternatives to help change your wasteful habits.
Swap Plastic Grocery Bags for Reusable Ones
Plastic grocery bags are one of the biggest problems the environment faces. Globally, only one out of every 200 plastic bags is recycled — and globally, we use anywhere from 500 billion to 1 trillion bags every year.
One of the easiest things you can do to switch up your wasteful habits is to ditch the plastic disposable grocery bags in favor of biodegradable cotton or canvas alternatives. They’ll last longer, and when you’re done with them, you can bury them in your compost pile.
Swap Aluminium Foil for Silicon Mats
Aluminum foil is perhaps the most versatile thing in your kitchen. You can line pans with it, wrap food with it, cover dishes with it and even turn it into a moderately successful airplane if you’re patient enough. It’s also one form of aluminum that rarely gets recycled. Instead of trying to clean and recycle your foil, replace it with silicon mats that are reusable, washable and perform many of the same functions.
Don’t beat yourself up if it takes you a while to make the switch from foil to silicone mats. Creating new habits takes time, and if you aren’t patient with yourself, you’ll end up giving up and won’t ever make those habits stick. Be patient, start with small goals and work your way up to the big ones.
Swap Paper Towels for Dish Cloths
Paper towels are convenient when you’ve got a spill to handle. But the average person uses roughly 80 rolls of paper towels every year, which also uses up 110 million trees and 130 billion gallons of water.
Instead of using and throwing away paper towels to decompose in landfills, switch to kitchen towels and dishcloths. You’ll accomplish the same tasks without wasting paper. All you have to do is toss them in the washer when they get dirty and you’re ready to go. Once they start to wear out, you can downgrade them to shop rags.
Swap Body Wash for Bar Soap
Body washes come in all sorts of scents and types, but they all have one thing in common: they’re sold in plastic bottles. Swap your body wash for bar soap. Not only does it help you use less plastic, since most bar soap comes in cardboard sleeves, but it also helps you use less water while you’re washing. Bar soap also has a 10x smaller carbon footprint than liquid soap.
Swap Chemical Cleaners for Green Options
Bleach and other chemical cleaners may be effective, but they aren’t the greenest option when it comes to cleaning your home. Ditch the bleach and ammonia for vinegar and baking soda. They’re just as effective without any of the chemical alternatives or the dangerous potential side effects. If you don’t like the smell of white vinegar, soak some orange peels in the vinegar to create a beautifully orange-scented cleaner.
Small Changes Add Up Quick
If everyone makes small changes in their life, like getting rid of plastic bags in favor of reusable alternatives, they could add up quickly when you multiply them by the seven billion people that call this little blue marble home. These are all small changes that you can incorporate daily without turning your entire life on its ear. Small changes add up, and if everyone starts making some small changes, we might be able to change the world.