While we strive to be eco-conscious every day, sometimes it takes a big event like Earth Day to really jump-start our motivation to live more green. So now that our weekend of binge-watching eco-documentaries on Netflix and splurging on Earth-friendly online shopping is officially over, we’ve decided to try out a few easy hacks that can help us live a greener life *beyond* Earth Day.
1. Choose organic and locally sourced ingredients in the kitchen. Instead of opting for the cheapest veggies and fruits you can find, Valentina Schade, Projects Coordinator at Ten Thousand Villages, encourages us to seek out ones that are grown organically and as close to home as possible. “By choosing organic, locally sourced ingredients in the kitchen whenever possible, you can make a serious impact on the environment,” she encourages.
2. Grow a low-key indoor garden. That’s right, folks: This is the year we’re *actually* going to start gardening. (Plus, now that we can buy succulents on Amazon, there’s really no excuse not to.) “Place plants around your home to not only improve the air quality but also save energy on cooling and heating,” advises TaskRabbit tasker Denis B. And if you’re looking for a cute accessory to really jazz up your #plantshelfie, check out our super-easy Make a Macrame Planter Kit ($20) at Target.
3. Donate and swap your old clothes online. Spring cleaning is upon us, and our closets definitely deserve some TLC. If you can’t afford to splurge on a completely new sustainable wardrobe, a great way to make your closet eco-friendly is to reduce your wardrobe down to the items you *actually* wear, suggests Jennifer Bluemling, co-founder and co-CEO of Borrowed by Design. Once you’ve decluttered, donate your extra goods or sell them online to extend the life of your gently loved items.
4. Get your iPhone fixed instead of splurging on a newer model. Even though the new red iPhone looks *super* cool, consider cashing in your Apple Care before splurging on something brand-new. It’ll keep your current phone out of the landfill AND probably save you some money too. Win-win!
5. Become a more ethical beauty consumer. Makeup and beauty products are a big part of our lives… but how often do we really think about how the industry is affecting the environment? Love Goodly co-founders and eco-wellness experts Katie Bogue Miller and Justine Lassoff suggest a few simple steps to keep us accountable. First, verify that none of the beauty brands you use test their products on animals, using either Leaping Bunny or PETA. Then, check that your favorite brands aren’t packed with toxic chemicals. Update your collection with eco-fan faves like Blissoma or Hurraw! Lip Balm, and don’t be afraid to do your research when you’re tempted by that next spontaneous makeup purchase.
6. Give your bestie a fair-trade birthday present. Instead of splurging on the cute trinket you found at the mall, spoil your bestie with a fair-trade gift for their bday. “Not only will you positively impact a life and a community with your purchase, but you are also making a more sustainable choice,” Schade points out. “Because they are often handmade, small batch, and made from recycled or renewable materials, fair trade products are usually the more eco-friendly option to their mass-produced counterparts.”
7. Choose eco-conscious restaurants. “Going out to eat is a large part of our social life,” observes CEO of renewable-energy company Arcadia Power Kiran Bhatraju. “Unfortunately, depending on where you choose to go, you may end up throwing out over 50 percent of the food you order.” Instead, choose restaurants with smaller portions, share a meal, or opt for a restaurant that brands itself as zero-waste.
8. Recycle or DIY your beauty empties. Along with recycling your cans and bottles, you should also make it a point to recycle your beauty products. Beauty and personal-care empties make up a significant amount of landfill waste, because nearly half of Americans don’t know how to properly dispose of these items, according to Garnier. Luckily, the company created the Rinse, Recycle, Repeat campaign to help people get more informed about how to recycle their beauty empties (plus, you could win a $5,000 scholarship!).
9. Opt for e-receipts instead of paper copies. A ton of companies like CVS have started offering their customers e-receipts instead of wasteful (and easily lost) paper copies. It’s usually super-simple to sign up for, and it actually ends up saving a lot of trees!
10. Invest in eco-friendly pet supplies. Because millennials are more likely to own a pet than any other demographic, one way to immediately live greener is to purchase planet-friendly pet products, like toys from Planet Dog. Share the ruv, guys.
11. Stop using straws at Starbucks. “Single-use straws take around 200 years to break down, and when they do, they become tiny toxic pieces,” notes Zoe Meeken, who handles community outreach for Reviews.org. Simply skipping that iconic green straw with your Starbucks drink can easily become an eco-conscious habit in your everyday routine.
12. BYOC (Bring Your Own Cup). The next time you’re at a bar, ask your server if you can reuse your original cup, advises Bhatraju. Similarly, drink your coffee in-house and opt for a ceramic mug — or use your own travel mug when taking your java to-go.
Are you implementing any swaps in your daily routine after Earth Day? Tweet us ideas @BritandCo!
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