Most of us (orange Cheetos with weird haircuts excluded) care about our planet Earth and want to do a little bit better when it comes to environmentally-conscious decisions. However, to those who’ve just started their journey towards a greener future, all do’s and don’ts can seem a bit overwhelming in the beginning. But as with everything in this life, great things are built by taking small steps. Some of these steps are so small, they seem insignificant – but scientific research proves that every little bit counts when it comes to building a more sustainable future. Therefore, Bored Panda has made a list of twenty small but impactful steps that you can take to be more environmentally-friendly than you were yesterday. Scroll down below to see the list and comment if you have any more tips that you’d like to share!
#1 Shop secondhand
Making merely one kilogram of fabric generates 23 kilograms of greenhouse gasses. Now consider that most fast-fashion pieces are being thrown away within a year of their production. The numbers add up and show a really ugly picture of the fashion scene. To be more environmentally friendly, consider shopping in secondhand or vintage stores and swapping clothes with your friends.
Image credits: Emily Orpin
#2 Buy loose leaf tea
A recent study found that nylon tea bags leech billions of microplastics into every single cup of tea. Next time you shop for tea, consider buying a loose one instead of bagged.
Image credits: Angela de Marco
#3 Switch to rechargeable batteries
Switching to rechargeable batteries not only saves you money in the long-run – the corrosive acid inside the batteries causes a major problem at landfills where it can wind up infiltrating the soil.
Image credits: Vintuitive
#4 Recycle wire hangers
If you have more wire hangers than you need and don’t know where to put them (as the majority of local recycling programs won’t accept them), you can take them to your nearest dry cleaners. They will gladly accept the hangers to be reused or will sell them to scrap metal collectors.
Image credits: Beatrice Murch
#5 Use biodegradable litter
Most cat litter is made from bentonite clay which never breaks down. Americans are filling up landfills with 2 million tons of it each year, so it’s really worth reconsidering your shopping habits. Next time you shop for cat litter, opt for a biodegradable one.
Image credits: Jinky Dabon
#6 Go for meatless meals once a week
Meat production (especially mass-produced beef) is extremely resource-intensive. Seven or even more pounds of grain are used to produce one pound of beef and it takes around 840 gallons of fresh water to produce a single serving. Choose pasture-fed and sustainably raised beef whenever you can and, if you’re not vegetarian, consider one meatless day a week.
Image credits: Petras Gagilas
#7 Wash clothes in colder water
Standard washing machines tend to use around 40 gallons of water per load. Next time you’re doing laundry, make sure you put in a full load and wash in cold water (which can add up in saving 3,400 gallons of water a year). In addition to this, air dry whenever you can, instead of using a dryer machine.
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#8 Turn down the brightness of your monitor
By simply turning down your monitor brightness from 100% to 70%, you can save up to 20% of its energy.
Image credits: Noah Jacquemin
This one is really easy, it almost seems so easy that… we actually forget to do it. Unplug your electronics – phone, laptop chargers, electric kettle, etc. – when you don’t need them. Even when they’re turned off, they still use a little bit of electricity while plugged in.
Image credits: Karen Cropper
#10 Choose to auto-power down
New game consoles like PS4 and Xbox One have a feature in which you can set your console to auto-power down when not in use. Go into the unit’s system menu to make sure this feature is enabled and set it for one hour of inactivity or less. In addition to this, try to avoid instant-on and other connected standby modes as they are usually connected to the Internet and perform other various functions while on standby by default.
Image credits: Jamie McCall
#11 Keep your fireplace damper closed
Whenever you’re not using your fireplace, close its damper- hundreds of dollars can be saved in the long run on heating by doing so. To have the damper open equals to having a forty-eight-inch window open all the time!
Image credits: Simon Pearson
#12 Use matches instead of lighters
These days, the majority of lighters are disposable and around 1.5 billion of them end up in landfills every year. Given that they’re made of plastic and are filled with butane, makes them even more environment-hazardous. To be more eco-friendly, choose matches over lighters. Ideally, buy paper matches as they are made from recycled paper.
Image credits: Mike Rowe
#13 Replace your old shower head
Installing a faucet aerator and a shower-head of high efficiency will help you save somewhere between 1,000 and 8,000 gallons of water per year.
Image credits: Andy Powell
#14 Opt out of spam emails
Researchers have shown that sorting and filtering of spam email alone accounts for 33bn units of electricity each year and that a single spam email can leave a 0.3g carbon footprint. Now consider the fact that somewhere around 62 trillion spam messages are sent each year. The results of this mathematical equation can seem really daunting, therefore, do your inbox and Earth a favor and unsubscribe from emails you don’t want to receive.
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#15 Listen to music offline
A recent study estimated that the amount of plastic used to make physical music records has fallen from 61 million kilograms (more than 134 million lbs) in the 2000s to about 8 million kilograms (more than 17 million lbs) in 2016. However, the energy that it takes to stream and download digital music has caused greenhouse gas emissions to rise from 157 million kilograms to somewhere between 200-350 million kilograms. Therefore, researchers pointed out that downloading music from streaming services to listen offline, can cut down on the energy use. They are also suggesting to consider switching to a streaming service that uses more clean energy (you can find information about it on clickclean.org).
Image credits: criana
#16 Get your car washed professionally
As professional car wash services want to reduce costs and maximize profits, they use the most optimal amount of water for a thorough clean of your car. It has been estimated that if everyone in the USA who wash their own cars would use a car wash even once, it would save approximately 8.7 billion gallons of water per year!
Image credits: Cristiano Cani
#17 Switch to a bamboo toothbrush
As around 4 billion plastic toothbrushes end up in the trash each year, next time you’re going toothbrush-shopping, consider buying a bamboo one that is biodegradable.
Image credits: Tong Kuan Chuah
#18 Use cloth diapers
Try to choose cloth diapers whenever possible, as they aid the environment and are kinder to baby’s skin. It is estimated that the average infant uses somewhere between 5 to 8 thousand diapers, which equates to 3.5 million tonnes of landfill waste. If you really need disposable diapers, buy from an environmentally friendly brand.
Image credits: Brittany
#19 Choose an eco-friendly search engine
An eco-friendly search engine is not something out of a sci-fi movie. For example, the search engine Ecosia advertises that it donates 80% of the search ad profit to plant trees. Next time you look for something online, try searching on an eco-friendly search engine instead.
Image credits: OER Africa
#20 Opt out of fast delivery
According to Miguel Jaller, a professor from the Institute for Transportation Studies at the University of California Davis, “every individual is buying more and wanting those goods to be at their home really fast. That creates more vehicles, more traffic, and potentially more emissions.” Now while online shopping doesn’t necessarily mean more emissions than shopping at the local store, opting out of fast two-day deliveries can help in cutting down emissions. Therefore, when shopping online, try to do a big order instead of several small ones and try to curb your enthusiasm by simply waiting for goods to arrive for a slightly longer time.
Image credits: mobiusdaxter
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