1. Reduce the use of items in your home like plastic wrap, wax paper, tinfoil, sandwich baggies, ect. These are all convenient products that we have gotten very used to using without thinking about where they end up in the land fills or how long it takes them to decompose, if they even do! Instead of buying these products try using reusable containers whenever possible. There are many options to choose from like ziplock containers, they come in severeal different convenient sizes. Also tupperware, or rubbermaid has some great options as well. Just use and bring them home and wash them out for the next use. You will be contributing much less waste by using reusable containers.
2. Reduce the use of those plastic, convenient but harmful grocery bags. These plastic bags may remain unchanged in a landfill for 400 years or more. Many stores and even cities are giving a voice to this issue. Some are even banning the use of these plastic bags. In some places fines are even being issued if you are caught using these plastic products. There are some fabulous eco-friendly bags that one can purchase and reuse. For ease of use keep a couple of these reusable totebags in your vehicle at all times, you can use them for your grocery shopping, market trips, or wherever you happen to be shopping.
3. As a society we have become huge consumers of water bottles, juice bottles, chocolate milk bottles, ect. So many of us have fallen into the convenience trap, so easy to do! How often do we see these bottles in garbage cans, or discarded on the side of the road. These bottles are recyclable but even so too many of them are landing in the garbage dumps. So as a better option we can use refillable water bottles, there are some great designs and options for these. These can be filled at home or at the office and just washed out and reused.
4. Another great way to reduce your carbon footprint is to use less electricity. One way to do this is to purchase energy saving fluorescent light bulbs. These bulbs use less energy, therefore will also help cut your energy costs too! These energy saving bulbs consume one third less energy than an incandescent bulb does and will last much longer. Use these in your home wherever you can.
5. Reading is a great love of many people. We are so blessed to have access to so much knowledge. Whether reading for pleasure or inspiration, for education or for work purposes we have unending resources. Instead of always buying new books think of visiting used bookstores. Garage sales are great places to pick up used books too, or try sharing between friends and co-workers. Be sure to make use of public libraries and of course there is always reading on-line too! Also remember if you are getting rid of books be sure to take them to a used bookstore or second-hand store. Magazines can be donated to Dr.'s offices or kids clubs.
6. Composting is another great way to reduce waste. There are many inexpensive and functional composting bins that can be used in the home. Instead of throwing all of those fruit and vegetable cores and greens into the garbage put them in a compost bin. You may be amazed at how much less waste ends up in your garbage can. If you have a vegetable garden this is especially useful. What you compost can then be used in the soil for your garden. It will provide nutrients and help keep the soil moist. If you don't have a garden, shop at your local farmer's market for fresh produce.
7. Everything from notepaper, to newspaper, to office/computer paper can be recycled. To make this task easy keep a recycling bin under or nearby your desk at work. At home be sure to have a recycling bin in an easily accessible place and encourage all your family members to use it. Most of use could probably be doing more of this type of recycling than we realize. Another way to help save trees and go green is to opt out of 'junk mail' wherever you can. When you do purchase paper be sure to buy 100% recycled paper. Other ways to reduce paper use is to think twice before you hit that copy or printer button. Do you really need those paper copies! Have you switched to paying your bills online, these are just some thoughts to make us aware of our paper useage. Maybe there is something here that you could start to put into practice.