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10 Easy ways to be environmentally friendly

Being environmentally friendly is not only about avoiding the use of plastic. Although this is a major part, certain things we do daily can have a global impact. We can be environmentally conscious and help change the way things are. Anyone can help in this process, especially when it becomes a habit; for example, it can lead to influencing others to also be environmentally friendly.

Even one change in our daily lives can help the fight against climate change. Not only will you reduce your carbon footprint but you will also reduce your spending with these tips about being eco-friendly:

1. Recycle

Recycling reduces waste and conserves natural resources. Recycling means sorting and cleaning up trash to reuse for different products. A great example of recycling is recycling aluminum cans or metal. Metals are reusable natural resources because they can retain their properties indefinitely. About two-thirds of aluminum ever produced is still used and reused.

2. Plastic Bags

Plastic bags are a big ecological problem because of how long they take to decompose. Many aquatic animals die every year after mistaking plastic bags for food. Many animals also get entangled in plastic bags and end up suffocating. As opposed to using plastic bags, use your own bag at the grocery store and reuse accumulated bags.

3. Only buy what you will use

Humans are huge consumers of cars, food, electronics, furniture, and many more. Though, many of these items are barely used. Higher consumption of goods means higher costs to the environment and the energy used in manufacturing, transporting, and disposing of goods. This can be reduced by avoiding buying unnecessary goods. If you do have to buy a certain good, find an alternative with a smaller amount of packaging and the lowest possible carbon footprint.

4. Take shorter showers

Taking a long hot or cold shower may be nice, but in reality, five minutes is all we need. Taking off one minute from our daily shower will save nearly a thousand gallons of water every year, which will also reduce your water bill.

5. Donate

Donating unused goods is a good alternative to throwing them away. You can donate to your local thrift store or church. This is not just environmentally friendly but you are also helping out others and may be eligible for a tax deduction.

6. Avoid disposable products

Paper plates, plastic utensils, paper towels, and other consumer goods make up around 20% of America's stream, which totaled 50 million tons in 2015, according to the EPA. As previously stated, these items emit a lot of greenhouse gasses in the process of manufacturing and disposal. An alternative is using cloth napkins, diapers, rags, metal utensils, or even glassware.

7. Upcycle

There are many ways to upcycle items that still have life in them. A quick search on Google can show you how to. DIYs such as water bottles turned into plant pots, corks into bath mats, or even bottle caps into art! This may not remove a lot of trash in the streams but it does conserve energy in the long run, as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

8. Choose local and organic

Locally grown organic food requires about 30-50% less energy to produce because of the lower transportation cost. Organic foods are usually found in local farmer’s markets near you.

9. Compost

Around 30% of waste is food and yard waste according to the EPA and over 50 million tons go to a landfill. Composting does not only bring down the greenhouse gasses emitted but also makes healthy and nutrient fertilizer for your garden or landscape.

10. Volunteer

Many environmental organizations have volunteer programs with activities such as fundraising, clearing trails or streams, planting trees, or even educating others. This can help you meet new people while making a difference in the world.

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