Once you have made the switch to reusable grocery bags and refillable water bottles, there are still many more ways to make your life more eco-conscious. With a few adjustments to your routine and lifestyle, you can tremendously reduce your carbon footprint and save money in the process.
Buy in Bulk
If you don’t already have a membership card to a warehouse club store like Sam’s Club or Costco, now is the time. Buying household goods in bulk is the first step towards reducing your usage of plastic packaging, which is used once and thrown away and accounts for 40% of plastic produced annually according to research by Roland Geyer at University of California, Santa Barbara. Many larger cities also have stores that you to fill up your own jars and containers of bulk food items like rice, beans, nuts, and coffee.
According to the Environmental Working Group, to get meat to your table requires large amounts of pesticides, fertilizer, fuel, feed, and water while releasing greenhouse gases, manure and a range of toxic chemicals into our environment. Try removing meat from your family’s dinner each week and opting for a vegetarian pasta salad or tacos with beans instead of ground beef. There’s no better excuse to have pancakes and eggs for dinner than this!
If you regularly drive your kids to school, consider starting a carpool group with other parents in your neighborhood. With everyone taking a day or two a week to drive the kids, you will ultimately save time and money. Even if your child rides the bus, you can organize carpooling with coworkers and maybe get some work done on your commute. According to a study by
PACommutes in 2016, by adding one passenger to every average commuting car, the United States could save 33 million gallons of gas daily.
While composting may not sound like a pleasant option, it is a super simple way to reduce methane gas created in landfills according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Not to mention, you can get natural fertilizer for your gardens at no extra cost to you. Some bigger cities offer composting services, but it is surprisingly easy to start your own compost pile as long as you have space.
A huge contributor to pollution, in fact, the second largest, is the fashion industry accounting for 10% of global carbon emissions. By buying used clothing, you can greatly reduce the number of textiles that end up in landfills. You are not only limited to thrifting anymore either with the rise in popularity of reselling sites like thredUP, DePop, Facebook Marketplace, and consignment stores. Not to mention, these used options for you and your children are all cheaper than buying new clothing.