5 Easy & Simple Ways to Be More Green
I have a confession to make: I didn't much care about doing anything "green" until fairly recently. Those of you whom are reading this fall into two categories. There are those of you who think I am (or was) a bad human and those that feel exactly as I did.
If you're the former, you will be happy to know I have improved greatly! If you're the latter, keep reading because, I have learned that making small changes to your lifestyle can and will, not only be good for the environment, but might actually make your life better!
1. Reusable grocery bags or no bag at all
I fought doing this for years! I just couldn't justify actually purchasing bags (and enough of them to support a large grocery trip to boot!) and remembering to take them into the store every shopping trip. Who has the time, energy, and wherewithal to add this to our already busy lives? Well, let me be honest. Does it take a little getting used to? Yes! However, with the convenience that is lost with just being able to mindlessly go into the grocery store and use bags that are right there waiting for you, there are also some unexpected perks!
Okay, so first, I had to tell my husband and convince him to participate. Once he agreed, we purchased 4 bags from Walmart at .50 cents each (we later added to our collection.) Next we had to get in the "swing" of it. It honestly didn't take long because I had the drive to do it.
Now, I am happy to say that it is second nature. Every once in a while, we forget the bags in the car but we think nothing of going to get them.
Here are the benefits of using reusable bags, other that helping the environment.
- Reusable bags are better quality than plastic store bags. Gone are the days of boxes cutting though and them tearing apart. Also, if you have never used a reusable wine bag when you buy bottles of wine, you're missing out!
- Each one holds more groceries. I would say we use one reusable bag for every 2, 3, or 4 plastic bags. So the benefit here is that you can make less trips from the care to the house. Are they then too heavy to carry you ask? Let's face it, don't we all pile as many bags on our arms as humanly possible to avoid making more trips? If you must be that person, and I am, this is a much more comfortable way of achieving that.
- If you're like me, when you unpack your groceries, you save all those plastic bags for various reasons. However, we never, ever run out. In fact, we have way too many! I find that to be very stressful and overwhelming. Sure I can take them to a recycling receptacle, usually available at most grocery stores, but why use them to begin with. It would lead to the same problem as switching to reusable bags and that is remembering to bring them into the store. This just went full circle!
My husband is now hooked in this practice and I was worried he wouldn't be on board at all. Rather than us feeling inconvenienced or as if we have given something up, we actually feel like we have upgraded! I highly recommend trying this. Start small with a couple bags and go from there. We started with 4 bags and now have 6. So if you're concern is that you purchase too many groceries to realistically do this, that couldn't be further from the truth and it's all that more important that you try.
Of course, If I am running into a store to grab an item or two (especially at the drugstore), I will forgo a bag all together!
2. Rechargeable Batteries
I grew up with my dad using rechargeable batteries all of the time. I even remember a large charging unit that held several batteries and it sat on the dining room floor plugged in by The DustBuster (remember those?) However, rechargeable batteries didn't much come into my consciousness as an adult, I guess because of the perceived inconvenience factor.
My husband and I both work in show business and rechargeable batteries are the way you keep the microphones working in the most economical way possible. He was looking around the house observing my fairly light addiction (don't judge me) and suggested them. I admit that the suggestion may have come after my complaining that each string of fairly lights uses 3 batteries and a giant pack doesn't last very long.
I'm still in the process of switching all of our batteries over to rechargeable, but I have made a really good start! I purchased a charger that holds 4 batteries and purchased another 8 pack separately. Right now, I am just using AA's but will buy other types and different charger if/when needed.
3. Reusable makeup removing clothes instead of disposable wipes
Between makeup application, removal, bathroom needs, cleaning, and sanitizing, I had developed a straight-up addiction to wipes of all kinds. The worst though is my over-use of baby wipes and makeup-removing wipes. On the recommendation of a friend, I purchased reusable makeup removing clothes.
I was a little skeptical at first because the claim is that these super-soft clothes just need to dampened with warm water and they will magically, and gently, remove all kinds of makeup, even waterproof mascara! How is someone like me, who literally used 2-3 baby wipes, cold cream, micellar water, 1-3 cotton rounds, and a makeup removing wipe to finish it off supposed to get by with just one of the "magic" clothes and just water?
Well, let me tell you, they WORK! I don't know how, but they do. I have only removed my heavy stage makeup with them and they performed surprisingly well. I'm excited to remove a light face of makeup with them and watch them perform even better!
So now, I not only use way less baby wipes and makeup removing wipes but I also use less makeup removing products, such as micellar water, cold cream, and eye makeup remover. It's a double whammy of savings! That doesn't even count the benefit of simplicity and time.
4. Recycling what you can
So let me start this by saying that I absolutely cannot get into using reusable water bottles. I don't know why, I just have never been able to get into the groove of filtering the water and I always seem to taste odors in the plastic of reusable bottles. It's a shame because I drink a lot of water! This means I go through a lot of disposable plastic bottles that are not so good for our environment. A compromise I make is that I recycle whenever I can.
I live in a rural area that doesn't make recycling easy or convenient, but I do it anyway. We have to drive our recycling to a place on the other side of town and they accept paper, cardboard and plastic. We've actually been doing this for several years now and it was kind of the start to my getting better with my carbon footprint.
5. Take care of what you have/making more mindful purchases
This is generally something we are either good or bad at. Some of us are just naturally more careful (or careless) at taking care of the things we have more than others. Generally, being mindful, organized, and gentle when dealing with the possessions we have means that we will misplace, break, and appreciate what we own and that can limit the need/desire for more. For example, if you have an unorganized tool shed (and most of us do), when you go to do a project, if you can't find something that you know that you already have, you're likely to have to go buy another. Then someday, you realize you have multiples of things. Needless to say that keeping track of where things are by being organized can and will lessen having to run out and buy something that you already have. Like most of these green tips, it also saves money and time too! i guess this tip falls into the reduce category of the "reduce, reuse, recycle" concept. So it makes more sense that if you prolong the life of what you own, keep track of it's whereabouts, and are mindful about what you truly do need, you are actually doing all three!
I know that these steps can feel both insignificant and insurmountable at the very same time. Perhaps that is the beauty of such an enormous project. Preserving the earth for generations to come could never be a small job in it's entirety. The beauty of cohabiting with others on this beautiful planet is that we share the job with every single other person that lives. That means everyone only has to do their part, which is honestly small changes.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Jess B