When many of us think of going green, images of sacrifice tend to predominate. We think of going green as a hardship. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that difficult. You really can take steps to live a greener lifestyle. And once you see how easy it is to make some changes, you might be encouraged to continue toward more sustainable living.
You don’t have to experience a green makeover overnight. Small steps in the right direction will help you develop long-term habits on your way to a greener future.
Here are 10 relatively painless things you can do to get started on a green lifestyle
- Pick your produce: Think about purchasing organic produce. At the very least, consider produce that is low in pesticides. You can also help out by buying produce from local sources — like farmer’s markets.
- Grow your own food: It really doesn’t take much to grow some of your own produce. You don’t have to have a huge garden, though. Start small with container gardening for small spaces, and start with plants that don’t require a lot of work.
- Bring your own bag: You can buy reusable shopping bags, but you don’t have to rely on the store. Use an old tote, or bring the plastic shopping bags from your last trip for reuse until they wear out. It won’t cost you anything, and you can live greener.
- Check the labels: When you buy organic items at the store, you need to be careful, since there are no uniform standards for certifying something “organic”. But you take a couple of minutes to check for these trusted labels: USDA Organic, Fair Trade Certified, Rainforest Alliance Certified, Green Seal and Certified Humane.
- Drink from a bottle: Not the “disposable” kind you buy at the store! Invest in a water bottle made from stainless steel (with a chemical free liner), and use that to keep you hydrated. Refill with filtered tap water, or from the drinking fountain. Most cities have more stringent tap water requirements than what you’ll find with “pure spring water” in plastic bottles, anyway.
- Solar powered outdoor lighting: You can take gradual steps toward solar power for use in your home. Start by converting your outdoor lighting to solar energy with floodlights, motion sensor lights, pathway lights and even bug zappers to the kind that charge up during the day with help from the sun.
- Counter-top composting: It’s really not stinky! There are a number of companies that make composters meant for the counter-top. You can use them (usually ceramic with filters) for food scraps and then spread the resulting compost in your garden.
- Stop idling in your car: Avoid the drive-through window when possible. Idling puts pollution in the air, and uses resources. This is especially true when there is a long line at the window. Park your car, and walk into the building to conduct your transactions. You’ll get a little extra exercise as well.
- Reduce your junk mail: You can sign up with the Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service (dmachoice.org) to adjust your preferences regarding junk mail. You’ll be reducing the number of trees used, and you’ll be happier with fewer annoying advertisements in your mail box.
- Replace one meaty meal a week: Consult a vegetarian cookbook or vegetarian recipe site VegWeb.com for delicious recipes that don’t require meat. Replace one meat entree a week with a vegetarian entree. It’s a good way to start on a path of eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, as well as reducing your meat consumption, which takes a great deal of energy to bring to the table.
With a little extra mindfulness, it is possible to live a little greener — and maybe even feel a lot better!
Do you have any other easy ways to go green that you can share with us? What has worked for you? Please let us know through comments below
Note: This article was originally published on Naturigy Blog and is now moved here.