Here are this month’s five steps you can take to modify your lifestyle and practice more environmentally-conscious choices. To date a total of 15 tips have been provided and hopefully you have been able to incorporate most of those into your lifestyle already.
With each resolution you incorporate into your daily routine, you will find practicing these environmentally-friendly lifestyle tips easier and you will soon notice a difference in how you go about your life on this fragile planet, not to mention the financial benefits of living eco-friendly.
Use only 100% Post-Consumer Recycled Paper
Your toilet tissue and computer paper might say they are from recycled sources, but were they derived from 100% post-consumer recycled paper? If not, you might be surprised to know that trees were still used to produce your products. Post-consumer content is paper that has been collected back from consumers and then remade into a new product. When a product just states it is made with “recycled” materials and does not include a high level of post-consumer content, this simply means that the leftover tree products at the mill were reused during production. Therefore, recycled paper does not mean that it has helped to reduce landfills or conserve forests. By buying only 100% post-consumer recycled content ensures that no virgin fibre was used.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
We have been hearing about the three “Rs” for years, but don’t underestimate the importance of this simple slogan. Take a mental inventory of your home and the things that you can do to minimize your environmental impact. Go from room to room to conduct your mental inventory and think of items you can reduce your use of and overall consumption. Are there any items you could be recycling that for one reason or another you have not yet been doing? What items in your house can be reused instead of discarding or recycling immediately after using? Remember that recycling still takes energy and resources so the more you can reuse an item before recycling, the better.
Avoid Harmful Chemicals
Going back years ago when reduce, reuse and recycle first became popular, there was plenty of talk about the damage caused by aerosols and the Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) contained within them. While the production of CFCs has basically been banned in much of the world, this is not to say that there are not plenty of other regularly household items that may have harmful amounts of chemicals and toxins. One way to avoid harmful chemicals is to only buy natural cleaning products and toiletry products, which are formulated only from naturally-occurring elements. If a cleaner is corrosive to human skin, one can only imagine the damage those same chemicals must do to the soil. With young children or any pets in the house, there are a plethora of reasons to ditch the chemical cleaners and other products and opt for a more natural alternative.
This has become the latest catch phrase in the environmental movement and everyone is talking about “eating local.” There is a simple logic behind it: eating local means eating products that were grown in the vicinity of your city or town and was not shipped or transported by truck from around the country or world. This is a better environmental choice because eating locally uses fewer resources, energy and helps to support a sustainable farming economy in your region without relying on other jurisdictions to provide food items.
Switch your Light Bulbs
If you haven’t already made the transition from incandescent light bulbs to Compact Florescent Light (CFL) bulbs, you have a lot of catching up to do. Despite the small amount of mercury contained in CFL bulbs (which means that these bulbs must be properly disposed of at the facilities provided by your municipality to handle dangerous waste), these bulbs have emerged as the best choice for the environment and for your energy bill savings. They are available in a variety of sizes now and have a drastically longer life than regular light bulbs, while consuming just a fraction of the energy of incandescent bulbs.