Easy Eco-Friendly Changes for a Healthier Life
With increasing carbon dioxide emissions, rising temperatures and widespread weather disasters, it may seem that the threat of global climate change cannot be stopped. If international organisations cannot protect our planet, is there a chance that an individual person can make a difference?
Yes, there is – and before it’s too late, all of us should reconsider our lifestyle and make our world more environmentally friendly, healthier for humans regardless of age, and safer for nature.
Here are some specific eco-friendly ideas for things you can do to help the world get better, starting today:
Produce less plastic trash
There is a lot of plastic in the world. Too much! Scientists are trying to find solutions to clean the ocean with bacteria that devours plastic waste, but the 9.1 billion tons of plastic that humanity has created would not exist in nature if we didn’t use and throw away so much of it.
There are tons of tips for reducing plastic waste, but the most important one is very simple: Replace plastic items with reusable or more easily biodegradable options.
There is one common plastic item that you must NOT buy again – plastic straws. Due to their size and shape, they are essentially impossible to dispose of in an environmentally friendly way. In addition to clogging our landfills, they also end up in the ocean and can cause serious harm to ocean animals. Buy reusable metal straws or biodegradable cardboard straws if you must use a straw.
Turn off the water when brushing your teeth, turn off the lights, do not leave chargers in a wall socket. Simple advice, easy to do (hard to remember at first!) – but effective, AND it will save you money as well. To preserve clean water, take a shower instead of a bath; if possible, use a dishwasher rather than washing and rinsing dishes under running water. Ordinary bulbs should be replaced with LED ones, and you can install motion sensors in entrances and high traffic areas of your home.
On a global scale, these may seem to be little things, but there are so many of us (almost 8 trillion people in the world and increasing by the minute), all using natural resources like water and electricity every day.
Choose locally produced products
Seasonal fruits and vegetables in your area are much healthier for your diet than exotic ones, and retain more vitamins. In addition, buying local products helps to reduce transportation and associated fuel costs, and, consequently, environmental pollution.
Pay attention to the packaging of goods you buy – the less packaging, the better. If you can’t do without it, then choose the product packaging that is easier to recycle – cardboard boxes and aluminum cans.
Use environmentally friendly detergents and cosmetics
For your health and environmental safety, switch to natural detergents. They have no harmful components that dry the skin, cause allergic reactions, or damage nature by falling into the water supply chain through the sewer. In addition, the packaging of environmentally friendly products is usually made from biodegradable materials.
Same thing with cosmetics: products based on natural herbs, oils, and clay, will serve your beauty and health much better than products with parabens and synthetic dyes.
Bring new life to old things
Re-using something for a new purpose or in a new way, is an environmentally friendly alternative to consumerism, and good training for the mind. Often items that are not designed for long-term use are made of very durable materials; the same plastic will outlive it’s owner.
Think creatively. Used bottles, containers and other packages can, for example, be adapted for bird feeders. During the pandemic, the fabric from clean used t-shirts can be turned into comfortable non-medical face masks. Old clothes should be taken to special re-use collection points or stores, where they will often give you a discount on the next purchase.
Consider your gadgets and home appliances
Most of us don’t think too much about obsolete electronics. After all, compared to the straws you regularly throw away, the fact that you change your electronic devices or your washing machine up to twice a decade probably doesn’t seem like a huge problem. But this electronic waste is environmentally dangerous not only because of plastic and metal, but also because of chemicals that can leak from the old appliance into the soil and water from landfills.
It’s better to repair your old things rather than dispose of them improperly.
Make sure you pay attention to the brand of your appliance when repairing it. Getting Electrolux, Samsung, GE, or LG washing machine parts depending on the brand you have, is essential to extend the life of your washer. That will save you money AND contribute to saving our planet. Only hand over your outdated electronic device or appliance for recycling, if there is no feasible option to fix it.
Everyone has the power to help restore what has already been destroyed, and prevent new problems. During the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, there was less environmental pollution because people stayed home, and marine life and nature rebounded. Imagine, dolphins in the canals of Venice!
You can participate in environmental events that are held in your city: for example, go to community workdays, clean up trash, and plant trees. Study the law and avoid breaking it: report illegal dumps, excessive use of reagents, and felling of trees. Sign petitions against oil spills, or for separate waste collection if it’s not already offered; or donate money for environmental projects. Every one of us can help.
*All photos in this article are via Unsplash*