20 Non-Crunchy Ways to Save the Earth

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Do you want to help the environment but aren't sure where to start? Maybe you don't want to smell like homemade patchouli and lavender deodorant while you do it (no shame in that, but that's hippie level for sure)? Here are twenty simple, incredibly easy and affordable ideas to get you excited about being a part of saving our beautiful earth .

 ·Spend time in nature on a regular basis. Its unreasonable to expect to develop a loving relationship with Mother Earth if you don't know anything about her. Go on a hike, a walk, grow a garden or even adopt a houseplant . Make it a point to connect with nature at least once a day, even if all you do is watch the sun rise or set from your porch.
·Take reusable grocery bags to the store with you to replace the plastic ones. Some stores will even give you a per-bag discount off your bill for every reusable bag you bring.
·Turn off the car when its not in use - be idle free! Even if its not a law where you live, make a point to turn the ignition off when you're sitting in the parking lot or driveway.
·If you can reasonably walk there, do it. Its good for your health.
·Wash a full load of laundry as opposed to half or quarter loads. Hang dry every once in a while if you can.
·Switch to natural-based cleaners. As long as they do the job right, they can bring a sparkling cleanness to your home and a peace of mind that comes without harmful and poisonous chemicals. I've recently started using homemade cleaners, but if that's not your thing there are great brands such as Seventh Generation, Honest Co. and Method that are usually available at your local grocery store.

·Take batteries to a recycle center instead of throwing them in the trash. I know my local Best Buy recycles all kinds of batteries. Keeping batteries out of the trash reduces the amount of harmful metals and chemicals in our water.
·Recycle! Look up your city's recycling guidelines. Some cities recycle glass, some do not. Same goes for certain kinds of plastic.
·Consume materials made from recycled post-consumer content. If recycled content is bought, there is more demand for eco-friendly products. Notebooks, paper towels and toilet paper, and plastic packaging are just some of the things you can buy recycled.
·Switch to reusable kitchen and food storage options. Reusable sandwich and snack bags are a super cute and cost-sensitive, eco-friendly way to transport snacks and lunches to picnics, work, and school. I purchase mine from this Etsy seller. You can also buy or make re-usable plastic wrap using a tutorial like this one. Storing food in glass containers like mason jars or Pyrex also cuts down on the amount of plastic tupperware that you can never find the lids for.
·Shop local. Farmer's markets are the best place to do this. When you buy things that are made in areas near you, a few things are accomplished. You support your local economy and small business, less energy is used to transport the products, and most of the time things like produce are specific to your area. Case in point: consuming local raw honey can alleviate symptoms of seasonal allergies.

·Use cloth in place of paper towels and napkins. Not only are cloth napkins and towels SO much cuter than paper, but they are softer and better for the environment. If you're buying for a party or picnic, consider buying paper towels made from recycled materials (see #9).
·Give the gift of time and experiences. Instead of buying another birthday or Christmas gift from the store, take your friend out to lunch for her birthday or gift classes, a massage, or season passes to entertainment for Christmas! These gifts are wonderful because often memories are treasured so much more than things.
·REDUCE. I believe this to be the best way to start helping the earth. Its the first word in "reduce, reuse, and recycle", but in today's over-consuming society it gets overlooked. The best way to help save the planet is to stop buying "stuff" that will eventually be thrown away anyway. Do you need that new shirt? Does your baby need that bouncer and swing and bassinet? Most of the time, the answer to this is no. But if its yes...
·Borrow instead of buy. If you can borrow clothes, toys, and anything else under the sun, do it. If you can't borrow, buy used before buying new. It will save you a few dollars and it helps keep junk out of landfills.
·Carpool. Whether its to a girl's night or halfway across town to your favorite store, carpooling reduces emissions. Plus everyone saves on gas money and you can ride in the carpool lane. 
·Buy organically grown produce and humanely raised organic animal products. Money talks. Let yours support the farmers who treat their animals and crops with kindness, care, and empathy. Pesticide, antibiotic, chemical free products are healthier for you and the environment. Give your powerful dollars to the people who are trying to keep this world beautiful and healthy for everyone.

·Purchase cruelty free beauty products. Stop the animal testing! Research your beauty products to make sure that no animals were used to make or test them. Using products you can stand behind is a 2-for-1 deal: not only do they make you feel pretty, but you can feel good about using them too. 
·Switch to reusable drinking straws. For the love of all that is holy, invest in straws made from stainless steel or other reusable materials. Keeping plastic straws out of the trash keeps them from harming and killing wildlife. If you absolutely must have them for a party or picnic consider paper or bamboo alternatives. On that note,
·Use a glass reusable water bottle. With so many cute options available, it really is a shame to walk around with an ugly plastic disposable bottle. Pick one you love and it will last you a lifetime.

The best thing about these ideas is that they are easy and completely low-key. All it takes is being mindful when making purchasing or lifestyle choices. Most of them save money too! Adopting a more eco-friendly lifestyle is so much fun. I love to challenge myself to see what changes I can make to reduce my carbon footprint. It can be kind of addicting. But don't take my word for it - just choose one idea and make the change. The impact will be huge, both on the environment around and in you.

*Originally published August 2015 as "20 Ways to Love the Earth". Edited and updated April 2018 in honor of Earth Day*
© Channing B. Parker. Design by FCD.