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Easy Everyday Ways to Go Green in 2016

Updated on July 7, 2016

Years ago, when the phrase “going green” crept into our collective lexicon, it was little more than an unusual catchphrase; it turned heads and those same heads were often being scratched by their owners who had no idea what going green meant, let alone what it represented to the future of our planet.

Fast-forward a few years, and now it’s not only commonplace, but it’s firmly engrained in our culture and growing in recognition by leaps and bounds every day. But for every company that switches to LED lighting to local governments that convert their officials vehicles to biodiesel, there is an average man or woman on the street that doesn’t realize that they are on the ground floor of the environmentally conscious green movement, and there’s a great deal of simple, easy, everyday things that even one person can do to help ensure the sustainability of the Earth.

Reader’s Digest has been a mainstay of American Culture for many generations, so it’s only natural that they would hop on board the green bandwagon with a recent article they composed offering numerous tips on how to live a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle. While recycling is a popular trend among green advocates, Reader’s Digest suggests people go one further and think BEFORE they use something, not after.

“Many people are already avid recyclers. But how about taking a second look at over-packaged products before you decide to take them home?” they said. “For example, don’t buy individually wrapped cheese sticks all packed in yet another plastic bag. Buy a big block of cheese and cut it yourself. Send your kids’ food to school in re-usable containers, not plastic bags. Don’t stuff produce in plastic bags, carry fruit and veggies home unwrapped. Many cities now have organic delivery services that will deliver a weekly box of local organic (unwrapped!) produce to your house each week. And always take your own shopping bag…keep canvas, net, or other reusable bags in your car or backpack at all times.”

Note taking is a daily fact of life; it not only helps people remember all sorts of random facts – shopping lists, highlights of a lecture, an address of a restaurant, and so on – and, in the process of all that note-taking, a lot of good paper is wasted. FastWeb notes that a good solution for all that wasted paper is to start taking your notes electronically. It’s really common sense…most everyone walks around every day armed with a digital smartphone, and there are a plethora of free note-taking apps that people can download and use to keep track of anything they might need. Voice-to-text technology is at a point that you can even give your fingertips a rest and simply dictate your notes at any given time.

Another way to go green – and actually make your life not only easier but more effective while you’re at it – is foregoing print telephone directories in favor of digital/online alternatives. Every year, millions and millions of obsolete phone books are printed and shipped to doorsteps of homes and businesses across the country, and every day those same phone books – whose listings are often out-of-date within weeks or even days – find themselves in landfills rotting away; a waste of resources in their creation and a source of pollution in their end. However, there are many websites to choose from when it comes to finding online phone directories, but one recommended by green tech site EnviroGadget is YellowPagesGoesGreen.org, mainly for the fact that they boast millions upon millions of constantly-updated listings in both the business and residential categories while remaining an “advocate for staunch environmentalism.” With smartphones and other hand-held digital devices commonplace these days, getting your phone numbers online as opposed to on paper is clearly the green – and more effective – way to go.

Staying hydrated is one of the best ways to look, feel, and BE healthy…but did you know that, depending on how you do it, it’s also a great way for the Earth to get the same benefits? Case in point- bottled water, which while providing a handy way to get your daily fill of water while on the go, also generates a huge amount of waste. And we’re not just talking the left-over plastic bottles, as they can usually be recycled in some manner (although not always); we’re also talking the waste and pollution, much like with phone books, that accompany the process of their creation to begin with. Daily Delights suggests foregoing bottled water in favor of an alternate solution.

“Water is an excellent, healthy drink but drinking bottled water creates an extraordinary amount of waste. Did you know that it takes more than 17 million gallons of oil each year just to produce bottled water?” they said. “That’s enough oil to fuel a million cars for an entire year. Instead, get a filter installed on your tap at home and buy a reusable jug to carry with you.”

In addition, check out a blog entry on She Knows entitled “52 Easy Ways To Green Your Home Without Going Broke.” It’s quick, simple, and offers a great many tips on how to green up your life.

These suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, when it comes reducing your carbon footprint upon the world we live on; many more exist, just wanting for green-minded people to adopt them, such as making the switch from conventional light bulbs to fluorescent/LED lights, car-pooling, biking locally instead of driving, using digital alternatives to print, and much, much more. Again the actions of a lone person might not appear to amount to much in the grand scheme of things, but if everyone realized that, together, we our collective actions can indeed make an impact upon the Earth, we could all pitch in and save the Earth.

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    • Chris Boylan profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Boyle 

      2 years ago from New York, NY

      Good point about plastic bags! Everything in moderation, I suppose. :)

    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 

      2 years ago from Auburn, WA

      Really like the tips.

      But I would be very careful not using plastic bags for produce and other storage.

      One of the reasons the food supply is so secure is our storage and transportation system. A lot of that certainty comes from the use of plastic. We've had instances out here of shoppers using only their reusable bags for food (unwrapped) and it led to a lot of contamination. Keeping those bags clean is nearly impossible.

      I use reusable bags faithfully, but precautions are necessary. Unwrapped foods need to be handled wisely. I think home delivery is the way to go. Or someone has to invent a non-petroleum based way of making plastic bags that are recyclable.

      Sharing everywhere.

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