How to Go Green If You’ve Just Started a Sustainability Journey

published Apr 30, 2018
2 min read

If you’ve been ignoring the recycling bin for as long as you can remember, committing to going green is a big step. An eco-friendly lifestyle involves some sacrifice, but the payoff is more than worth it. When you stop and think about the environment before making a decision, you have the power to make your carbon footprint smaller and do your part to reduce the effects of climate change. Can you imagine if everyone did that?

Get started by looking at these seven categories in your life and making some changes.

1. Shopping

You probably shop a few times a week, whether you’re picking up groceries or searching for a new ensemble. When you do, bring along your own reusable bags instead of taking the plastic or paper ones offered at the store. Stow a small, foldable bag in your purse or a few in your car so you always have them on hand. Also, consider where you’re shopping. When you shop at small, local businesses, the products probably haven’t travelled as far as others — meaning they’re responsible for less pollution.

2. Eating

You should also consider the products you’re picking up at the grocery store. It’s common knowledge that raising meat drains natural resources drastically in a way that growing plants do not. So, devote yourself to at least one meat-free meal a week. This small swap will have a significant impact over the course of your lifetime. Bonus points if you buy organic, sustainably raised meats when you do decide to embrace your inner carnivore.

3. Recycling

This is an obvious one, but still a step that too many people overlook. Decide to recycle at home, at work and anywhere else you spend your time — even when it’s inconvenient. What’s more, try to conserve resources that can’t always be recycled, like water and electricity. If you already have a stash of plastic bags at home, find a grocery store nearby that will recycle them for you. Do the same for other difficult-to-dispose-of items like batteries and electronics. The earth will thank you.

4. Drinking

Another way you can cut down on waste and preemptively “recycle” is by saying goodbye to plastic water bottles — permanently. They may be convenient, but is the toll they take on the environment worth it? Instead, invest in a high-quality steel or glass water bottle you can refill and easily toss into your bag to take with you. This move alone could cut down dramatically on the waste you create every year since not every single piece of a plastic water bottle can be recycled.

5. Cleaning

It might not even cross your mind that the chemicals you use in your home could hurt Mother Earth, but it’s true. When you use toxic cleaning products, they emit harmful liquids and gases that end up in the atmosphere or drinking supply. Instead, craft your own all-natural cleaners with powerful, eco-friendly ingredients you probably already have on hand, like vinegar and baking soda and lemon or essential oils. You can find many recipes online to replace your current cleansers.

6. Travelling

Jet-setting can take a significant toll on the environment — think about the gases your average aircraft emits. But that doesn’t mean you have to hang up the towel on your travelling dreams. Instead, opt for an eco-friendly mode of vacation, like camping.

When you camp in a tent, you’re bypassing lots of creature comforts that use electricity, like heat and plumbing. If you pack your own cold foods, you also won’t have to use natural resources to order pick-up or cook raw ingredients at the campsite.

7. Acting

A big part of being eco-conscious that many people forget about is getting involved. Contact your local government officials while they’re weighing the pros and cons of passing environmentally friendly legislation. You might not think your voice alone will bear much weight, but if it joins a cacophony of other voices who are equally concerned about the earth, the roar could become deafening. Figure out who you can contact in your community to make your voice heard in the name of change.

It’s Easy to Go Green — Don’t Overthink It!

With so many simple ways to honour Mother Earth, that going green is pretty easy if you’re willing to make a few minor tweaks. Follow these guidelines to live a greener life and reduce your impact on Mother Nature.



Emily Folk is a conservation and sustainability freelance writer and blogger from Lancaster, PA. Check out her blog, Conservation Folks, or follow her on Twitter for the latest updates.