I adore everything about eco-conscious enthusiasts, so I hate to admit that I get a little green with envy at how effortlessly they seem to lead an environmentally friendly lifestyle. However good my intentions might be, oftentimes I need a swift kick in the pants to do something as simple as, say, shut my computer off all the way, or switch off lights when I leave a room. If you’re like me, know that being eco-friendly is not as difficult as we’ve made it out to be—these nine easy and effective tips to start a green movement at home, at the office, and in your community require minimal effort; use them as a reminder to go a little greener every day.
1. Recycle. Yes, it sounds ridiculous to even point this out; we learned about the importance of recycling in preschool. But here’s the thing—how many of us actually do so? It’s as easy as throwing your glass or plastic containers in a second garbage bag at home, or using a water bottle instead of continuously buying bottled water. Really, how easy is that?
2. Decorate your desk with a plant. Studies have shown plants have some serious flower power— the “Benefits of Indoor Plants on Attention Capacity in an Office Setting” report in the Journal of Environmental Psychology suggested just the presence of plants in an office setting have the ability to help keep your attention span. Plus, certain plants like rosemary are great for beating that afternoon slump due to their aromatherapy properties, which are known to energize.
3. Start a garden project. Rally a committee, chose a site, design it, etc. to create a community garden the entire neighborhood can enjoy—just make sure all the paperwork and other essentials are in order. Learn more at communitygarden.org.
4. Embrace public transportation. Devote at least one day a week to taking public transportation. We big city-ers are a bit biased with our sophisticated bus and rail systems, so if public transportation isn’t an option, carpool with a colleague or a neighbor instead.
5. Food co-ops are your friends. Eco-friendly living doesn’t just pertain to the home. Join a food co-op and revel in fresh, locally grown, organic food, grass-fed meats, and more; many co-ops obtain produce from local family farms. Plus, buying locally can also can help you eat healthy on a budget. Learn more and find a co-op near you.
6. Unplug. The U.S. EPA says “the total electricity consumed by idle electronics equals the annual output of 12 power plants.” So how can you make even the slightest difference? Set your computer and monitors to sleep mode when you’re out to lunch or at a meeting, and turn off your computer every night and over the weekend before leaving the office (encourage your colleagues to do the same!). Likewise, at home, switch off lights and other appliances when not being used. That toaster oven decorating your counter that you never use? Pull the plug on it.And this tip from the EPA can be applied at office or at home: Use a power strip for the TV, computer, and other electronics; switch it off when not in use.
7. Go on a “green” walk. A stroll outdoors is a good tactic to get a quick, reinvigorating break from the office, a good way to embrace nature, and it’s good for you: 71 percent of people suffering from mental health disorders said their depression decreased with a “green walk.”
8. Stock up on eco-friendly beauty products. If you’re serious about going green and are a total beauty junkie, you’re in luck: The market is saturated with products touting all-natural, organic, and sustainable ingredients. Some of our favorite brands are Shea Terra Organics, formulated with all-natural and wild-harvested ingredients indigenous to Africa (Angelina Jolie is said to be a fan), and Uprising Botanicals, naturally handcrafted with organic, non-toxic elements.
9. Clean sweep. If you’re going to go for the green beauty products, you might as well spring for the eco-conscious cleaning products, too, right? Keep products like these “five best green cleaners” tested by the Good Housekeeping Research Institute in your arsenal when it’s time to dust, wash dishes, and do some spring cleaning.
What ways help you lead a green-friendly life? Share your tips in the comments!
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