Recycling and Reusing products are not nearly as common in the US as it is in Europe mostly because it can be seen as a costly or time-consuming activity. When in reality being more environmentally conscious saves you a lot of money in the long run. Here is a list of 7 painlessly easy things you can start doing to reduce your carbon footprint and live a more eco-friendly life.
1. This is a big one start using reusable Shopping bags
The cynics of the world will tell you over the course of your lifetime using recycled bag is not going to make a big difference to our planet. They might be right or they might be wrong but it is definitely going to make a difference to your pocket. For starters, we are starting to see a trend in many shopping stores banning plastic bags. As a planet, we are all starting to make an initiative to use less plastic bags. By switching to reusable bags not only does it make you more mindful of what you buy. (Because it all has to fit inside your bag) meaning you’re more likely to stick to your shopping list and not buy that extra bag of chips. But you’re not going to pay that extra 5 to 10 cents to use a plastic bag which will obviously add up.
2. Switch from black plastic bags to white plastic bags
Black plastic doesn’t reflect light, so can not be seen and sorted by the scanners and could end up contaminating other materials such as glass bottles. So they all end up in a landfill or in our oceans. This doesn’t save you any money. Black and white bags cost virtually the same amount. We just don’t have the technology to recycle black plastic bags right now.
3. Shop at “ugly” grocery stores
Now, these do not exist in every city and can be a bit difficult to find but if you live nearby one I highly recommend. Now I didn’t know these existed until I got a Swiss roommate but now that I know about these I’m amazed. Now when you go to the grocery store do you notice you never see any wonky shaped fruits or veggies? Do you know why? No one wants to buy ugly fruits or veggies. As a result tons of perfectly good products are thrown away by grocery stores and farmers every day. This is ridiculous. As a result, “Ugly” grocery stores and ugly grocery pop-ups have started to make an appearance. Here you can buy misshaped produce for a discounted rate than regular shaped produce. You know what they say an ugly apple a day saves you a boatload on produce a year and is just a smart thing to buy.
If there is only one thing you take from this list it should be this! We all love coffee and tea from our favorite places. But, coffee cups are not recyclable. Now I know they can be made out of recycled material but since they have a wax coating inside they cannot be recycled. Meaning that the end up in a landfill. Instead op for reusable cups/ tumblers. Starbucks sells reusable cups that you get a percentage off your order every time you use them so it’s a no brainer! Now if you are part of the small minority of Americans out there and you do not drink coffee or tea get a reusable tumbler for water. You will literally save so much money. Water is free, don’t pay for it. You can get your Tumbler filled at most coffee shops and restaurants for free as well as at the airport. Nothing is worse than paying $5.00 for a plastic water bottle at the airport. When there are free water fountains all around the airport. The best part is on a flight the hostess will fill your tumbler for free. No more mini water bottles!
5. Start using Dryer balls instead of Dryer sheets
Let’s be honest no one knows how many sheets to put in each wash. Sometimes you grab 4 other times they stick together and you put in 10. You can run through dryer sheets pretty quickly. The worst part about Dryer sheets is that they are not recyclable and end up in our oceans so If you care about our oceans (which is probably why your here) invest in dryer balls. You can buy an 8 pack of plastic dryer balls on Amazon for $10 (it is recommended to use 2 per wash) and they last for 1,000 washes. You can also buy wool dryer balls and infuse them with essential oils to give your wardrobe a signature scent. I know this sounds like a lot but if you have eczema or sensitive skin infused wool dryer balls can lead to less irritation. So wool dryer balls are great for moms with babies that tend to be rash prone. Wool dryer balls can last for about 2 to 5 years and are way more cost effective than regular dryer sheets.
6. Turn old T-shirts and old towels into Household rags
Now everyone who grew up poor already knew this trick. When your towels begin to fall apart or your T-shirts are getting too old you can start using them as rags for cleaning up around the house. In comparison to buying paper towels in bulk, rags are easy and free! Clothes usually those polyester or cotton based are excellent at soaking up liquids. Rags are a no brainer, clean up spills faster for free
7. Buy Clothes from Thrift Stores/ Vintage Market Places
My father used to take us to thrift stores as a kid and it would drive my mother insane. She didn’t want us wearing “poor peoples clothes”. But thrift stores are a great place where you can buy designer, vintage, of unique pieces for almost nothing. Thrift stores are becoming a trend now these days but there is a reason why. Why buy fast fashion made by people with terrible working conditions, who are underpaid for high prices when you can wear cool unique pieces for nothing.
Tell us down below ways that you incorporate the three R’s in your lifestyle!