No matter how hard you try to remain conscious year round, Earth Day always comes as a friendly reminder to reassess your regular habits to make sure that you're living your day-to-day life as responsibly as possible. Luckily, making sure that your usual routine is environmentally-friendly doesn't have to be a major ordeal. Try these simple tweaks for a few small changes can make a seriously big impact.
1. Cut back on meat and dairy
You might love topping your salad with some grilled chicken or treating yourself to a steak dinner after a long week, but unfortunately meat and dairy products are pretty bad news environmentally speaking. Globally animal agriculture plays a major role in deforestation, water pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. Beef accounts for five times the greenhouse gas emissions of other meats. The good news is that being more conscious doesn't have to mean cutting out meat and dairy entirely. Try swapping out meat-based meals for plant-based options a couple of days a week.
2. Replace lightbulbs with LED bulbs
Often people make the switch from incandescent bulbs to LED bulbs purely to save on electric usgae and energy costs. That's all well and good but know that using LED lightbulbs can also have a major impact on global warming and climate change. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, if every household in America swapped out just one incandescent bulb for an LED or CFL alternative, it would cut back greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 9 million pounds. To put that in perspective, that's the same amount that comes from about 800,000 cars.
3. Shop at consignment shops and secondhand stores
Whether or not you're a fan of thrifting, a trip to local secondhand shops or consignment stores can be an excellent way to be more environmentally conscious. These stores offer a responsible way for you to recycle your own clothes, accessories, furniture, and other personal items that you might be wanting to get rid of. Plus shopping at these stores is a responsible way to consume products, it allows you to take part in the recycling process on the other end.
4. Make the switch to non-toxic cleaning products
While you may not think that the choices you make to clean your house indoors have a whole of impact on the environment outside, the truth is that the cleaning products can actually take a serious toll on the environment. This is because most times, the cleaning products that you use end up trickling into waterways through drains at home. So when you use cleaning products with toxic chemicals that aren't biodegradable and don't break down in the environment, it can be a major issue. Luckily, the quick fix is to start focusing on the ingredient labels on your cleaning products, and looking for options that are green, organic, or natural. Of course, you can also skip the cleaning aisle of your grocery store altogether and try making your own products instead, too.
5. Opt for a greener commute
In an ideal world, we'd all be walking distance from our offices, schools, supermarkets, and any other place we frequent. As walking everywhere isn't always an option, the key to a greener commute is to get creative about how you get from point A to point B. If you can, invest in a bicycle or bike share membership and try biking from place to place. If that's not an option and you have to take a car to get to where you need to go, consider carpooling when possible. Any small changes that you can make to reduce how often you use a car ocan play a major part in minimizing, or at least slightly reducing, the number of car-based greenhouse gas emissions that occur every year.