We hear about the environment everyday. It is hard to miss all the new products popping up on the store shelves and it can all be very overwhelming. Before there were not enough options that fit into our everyday lives and now there are so many options it has become impossible to tell what products are truly sustainable and environmentally friendly. As you get bombarded with endless products, and never ending advice on all the things we “should” be doing to “save” the planet, don’t lose sight of how easy and convenient being “green” can be. Here are three easy steps to get started.
1. The Litterless Lunch
Making your lunch (or any meal on the go) litterless is the easiest first step to going green. Say goodbye to the boring brown paper bag lunch, and say hello to all the amazing and fun reusable lunch bags on the market today. Not only do they look great, but they come in a variety of shapes and sizes and most keep your food either hot or cold. Now that you have the bag, fill it with reusable snack bags and sandwich wraps, so you can stop discarding plastic baggies and plastic wrap. Reusable options are much easier to clean than a Ziploc bag and come in a variety of colours and patterns. If you’ve got something a little larger to store (like dinner leftovers) ditch the plastic containers and opt for glass, stainless steel or silicone. The litterless lunch is the easiest and possibly the “most fun” first step to going green. Once you have what you need, you never have to think about it again. Just pack your lunch (or any meal on the go) as usual and never worry about running out of baggies again – total convenience.
2. The Right Bright
Another simple step, but easy step in going green is to change your light bulbs to Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL’s). These bulbs use a minimum of 4 times less energy than your regular bulbs and last 8 – 15 times longer, so you change them less often. While there has been some controversy over the use of mercury in the light bulbs, the reality is that there is in fact 3mg of mercury in the CFL bulb which is about the tip of a ballpoint pen. There is no risk as long as the bulb is intact. Should the bulb break, simply ventilate the room for about 15 minutes and then clean it up by sweeping it onto cardboard and seal it in a glass container for disposal. Take these bulbs back to the store where you purchased them, or a proper recycling depot, as they shouldn’t be popped into the garbage.
3. The Green Clean
Cleaning products are another very simple and convenient step to “greening” your life. Next time you are in the store buying cleaning products for your home take a look at a more natural option. This is a step that in essence does not change your life in any way and yet will completely change your life. There are natural, chemical free versions of everything from toilet bowl cleaner to dish soap. There is even a non-toxic calcium, lime and rust remover. If every household in the U.S. replaced just one bottle of 32 oz chemical solvent-based glass and surface cleaner with a solvent-free product, that would prevent 9.3 million pounds of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from being released into the environment. Just imagine what we could do if we changed more than one bottle! With the extensive damage that conventional cleaners are doing to our oceans, the least we can do is take a moment to consider the ingredients of the cleaners we buy and make a chemical free, natural choice.
Saving the planet is a big job. We can’t do it alone and we can’t do it all. But if we remember that every single choice, we make (no matter how small) can have an impact on the environment, it makes sense to make a greener start.
About the Author
Ivy Newport is the resident “green expert” at Every Little Bit Eco Shop, an online store offering everyday products that are conveniently green. Visit http://www.everylittlebitgreen.com for more tips & education on going green, as well as a wide variety of products to help individuals make better product choices for themselves, their families and the planet.