As much as we hate to hear it, many of our everyday choices affect the health of our environment. Small things we do cause air, land, and water pollution. Marine life especially suffers from trash that won’t compost for thousands of years, poisoning their water and bodies. So many things impact the environment, many we don’t even think about because they are cultural norms. There are small changes you can make in your behaviors however, that can help us respect the earth. The zero-waste movement challenges people to create no waste or trash, by recycling, not using things that won’t compost, and using more reusable products. While this movement is a bit extreme and not 100% feasible for every person, there are small things we can imitate from it that will still make a difference. Below are several ways you can help the planet.

Stop Using Single Use Plastic

            If you take nothing else from this post, remember this: we use way too much plastic that is only used once. Most of these plastic products are not recycled and end up in landfills or the ocean where they pollute the earth and harm animals. You can lessen the harm plastic has by using reusable grocery bags rather than plastic bags, using a reusable water bottle, and stopping or limiting your use of plastic straws, sandwich bags, and products that come in unnecessary plastic. You can still store and eat the same foods by using Tupperware and buying things in bulk. This is a very simple thing we typically do not think about but makes a big difference on the environment.

Buy Second-Hand and Buy Less

            We don’t need to buy the clothes that fit every passing trend. It is better to buy better quality stuff that will last you a long time and require you to shop less often. Additionally, buying things second-hand, such as clothes, books, toys, and furniture, are cheaper and prevent companies from needing to produce more products from our resources. In general, stop buying stuff you don’t need. You can be happy with a more minimalistic lifestyle.

Cut Back on Energy in the Home

            You can save a lot of energy and money by being more conscious about your energy use at home. Turn off the lights when you are not in the room. Better yet, use natural lighting by opening the blinds on the windows.  Some other things you could do are take shorter showers or wash your dishes by hand to save on water.

Recycle Cardboard and Paper

            Most households go through a lot of paper and cardboard (think about all your junk mail and groceries…most of your groceries come in a cardboard box!), probably more then you realize. Start recycling these two items—soon you will find how much cardboard you actually do use and how much can be reused. It is a great feeling to not throw away so much trash!