Even though it’s the day after Earth Day, I figured a post on how to be a little more sustainable in your day to day life was still relevant! Don’t get me wrong, I’m nowhere near implementing a compost container on my kitchen counter a la my parents (every time I go home I’m always caught wondering whether the orange peels go in there or in the trash can!), but in thinking about my habits, I was realizing that I’m actually doing an ok job being environmentally friendly for the most part (although I don’t think I’ll be able to give up my beloved flavored k-cups). Here are two of my favorite ways to be a little kinder to the environment–no drastic life overhaul needed!
–Take public transportation, bike, or ride share (or walk! It’s the best.). I may spend way too much money and time on Uber Pool, but carpooling is obviously a much more envrionmentally-friendly solution than getting (or driving) your own car. I rarely ever take my own Uber unless I’m running super late or have to transport something big (#Craigslistproblems). A lot of my friends who don’t Uber Pool do it because they don’t like talking to other people in the car, but honestly neither do I…you can just put headphones in or be quiet, promise! I also LOVE the fact that UberPool can cost $2-$3 if you’re going somewhere super nearby (it’s perfect for the days I’m carrying a bunch of extra bags into the office, for example), so it really can be comparable to the bus or metro.
–Shop secondhand and sell/donate old items. Even if you’re turned off by thrift stores (but I promise they can be amazing!) eBay, Poshmark, Chairish, etc, are all great ways to score items for less AND save the planet at the same time. Whether you’re making a big purchase (sites like Chairish aren’t cheap!) or a small purchase, it’s worth poking around a few places to see what is being sold secondhand. You can often snag either like-new products or cool vintage items on these sites while also taking them off someone else’s hands. Such a win-win! And of course, you can also sell your own stuff on these sites rather than dumping it in the trash. If you really are pressed for time and need to get rid of something fast, even leaving something on the side of the road is a better option than dumping it in a trash can, especially if you’re in a big city. I’ve done this a couple of times with furniture in DC, and trust me, it gets snagged right away, whether or not it’s in perfect working condition. If you live in an area with less foot traffic and worried nobody will stop by, you can even post a “curb alert” on Craigslist, and it’s likely that someone will come and pick it up. The Salvation Army also does at-home pickups in DC, and you can schedule them a few days in advance, which is a huge time-saver if you know your items have more life left in them but don’t have a car or live far away from a donation spot.
Other things you can do? Recycle–it’s so easy! Carry reusable shopping bags + reuse the ones you do get at the store (I often save a few and use them to line and empty my bathroom trash can). Adopt or foster a pet. Order produce from a service like Hungry Harvest. Turn your lights off before you leave the house (still working on that one…I’m guilty of leaving a lamp on upstairs before I go out at night, otherwise I’d totally trip while walking back up!). Use old t-shirts as rags. Wash the plastic containers that your lunch meat or takeout food comes in and use them as Tupperware. Unplug things like your hairdryer during the day (but seriously do this…it’s a fire hazard!). Check out books from the library instead of ordering them online (another one I’m working on at the moment…). Carry a reusable water bottle and coffee mug.
…what else would you add? I’m seriously no pro, but thinking of these things made me realize that making small steps toward being more sustainable is entirely possible for all of us!