With 2018 upon us, we’re all reflecting on the past year and thinking how we could make the this new year a better one. In this time of reflection, it’s important for everyone to think outside the box and beyond just personal goals and wishes. We think about those in need and what we can do, and in this category are not just impoverished people – our very planet is in dire need of our help. By taking cautious, yet simple steps day by day and taking advantage of all the new technology, we can step up in our efforts to help protect the environment. On a more personal level, living eco-consciously brings satisfaction and harmony to your life and ensures you lead a healthy lifestyle. Here are some simple things you can commit to in 2018 that will have a positive impact on the environment and in return, to your well-being as well.
Save energy – or even produce it!
Of all the efforts to be more eco-responsible, the measures you take to save energy in your home are the most effective, and it saves you money in the long run as well. One of the smartest and easiest things to do is installing a programmable thermostat, which will help monitor your energy usage and prevent overheating or overcooling your home, something that actually happens too often in most households.
Installing LED lighting has also proven to be a very energy-efficient choice, as light-emitting diodes use 90% of energy for lighting, unlike regular incandescent lights, which use only 10% for emitting light and the rest for emitting heat. By doing this you can cut down your annual electricity bill by as much as 50%.
For more complicated interventions, such as insulating your home, it’s best to schedule a home energy audit and discuss the most energy-efficient options with a certified professional. That would also be a good time to discuss going solar, the pinnacle (and future) of sustainable living.
Recycle (and how to do it right)
Recycling technology has improved quite a lot, thankfully, and the list of recyclables is gradually growing. With that comes a bit of confusion in terms of how to recycle, as we know the process is not quite simple and the technology seems to be continuously changing. The most common mistake people make is putting their recyclables in plastic grocery bags, whose structure leads to problems during the recycling process, such as getting wrapped around the equipment and jamming it. Find out if there are any special bins designated for recycling only plastic bags in your area, or see if you can return them to stores. For the rest, refer to the basic guidelines on recycling properly and try to find detailed information about the recycling options in your city – you might be surprised.
Think green on all levels
Recycling is great, but it takes a lot of energy and resources, so whenever possible it’s better to opt for materials that can be reused numerous times. For example, the most common misconception about recycling is the one about cardboard boxes. Yes, they are recyclable but it takes a lot of energy and since most of them get damaged easily, a large part has to be burned or simply discarded. Boomerangbox suggests renting eco-friendly containers for the purposes of moving instead of using cardboard boxes, as that way a lot of time, energy and resources are saved. Renting or borrowing is a great solution in many situations, so think in that direction!
It’s important to support ecotourism and eco-friendly destinations, because your choice will have an impact on a much wider scale. If we would all opt for this way of traveling, it would eventually completely shift all forms of tourism to a more eco-responsible path. And there are so many beautiful things to see! Countries like Costa Rica, Kenya, Vietnam, Norway and Iceland are known to be some of the top destinations for ecologically responsible travelers. Vietnam even has a special sustainable tourism development plan that focuses on nature and community-based tourism, so in the last decade or so it’s easier than ever to find accommodation in rural areas, away from big cities and closer to nature itself.
Wherever you go, don’t take a hiatus from your good habits. Support local trade (and don’t use plastic bags at the local markets!) and take public transport, walk, or rent a bicycle whenever possible. Also, remember to behave in the hotel as you would at home, not taking new towels unless necessary and turning off all electronics when you leave the room.
Be a tough shopper
Luckily, we seem to have grown much more aware and suspicious as consumers in the past few years, questioning the credibility and ethics of companies. This is great and much needed if we plan to ever bring change, so continue down that path rigorously in 2018.
When it comes to beauty products, make sure to read labels carefully to choose only the ones that are cruelty-free and don’t contain toxins such as paraffin, mineral oil, petroleum, formaldehyde, mercury, synthetic fragrances, etc.
Also, watch out for some everyday products that are unsafe but still not banned, and when it comes to fashion, don’t follow the common misconception that eco-friendly apparel is reserved only for the upper class. The list of affordable yet socially and ecologically responsible brands that are completely transparent about their manufacturing is only growing (Amour Vert, PACT, Everlane, People Tree – just to name a few). Next time you want to add something to your wardrobe, do some research to find which responsible brands suit your style best. And of course, there are always second-hand stores, whose popularity has greatly increased over the past few years.
Hopefully, with our collective efforts, we can someday expect to thrive as a healthy society on a healthy Earth. Until then, there’s a lot to do and a lot of steps for each one of us to consciously take throughout each day – starting right now.
Are you living eco-responsibly or do have any suggestions that might help us to live greener?
I would greatly appreciate if you would take a moment to like my new FB page —https://www.facebook.com/organic4greenliving/
Leave you thoughts and suggestion in the comment section and please share this article!