We all know the 3 r's of helping the environment: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. But there are a lot of things that help our planet that need a little more explaining. Some of the things people do, thinking they are good, are actually things that are bad for the environment.
1. Stop racking leaves into plastic bags.
Leaves actually make the perfect insulation for plants, so leaving them alone will protect your plants from the cold, then they will just blow away on their own.
If you MUST rack up your leaves, just rack them up and throw them in a field or into a woods. They will biodegrade on their own and make great fertilizer for plants. Throwing them away in plastic bags is just bad for the environment and a waste of time and plastic.
2. Take the cap off your water bottle before pitching it.
First off, you should never throw a water bottle away! RECYCLE IT.
But if you must throw it away, take the cap off before you do. There is only so much water on the planet, so if that water gets trapped in plastic it is gone forever and can't evaporate, continuing The Water Cycle.
If you live in the country and are still throwing away your leftover food in the trash, we have a problem. You should start a compost bucket and toss all your food into a woods or some area similar. Then it will be able to go back into the earth. Just don't compost anything that would hurt a wild animal if they happened to come across it such as candy, chocolate, medication, spicy food, etc.
It also cures your trash from smelling bad, since food is what causes that.
4. Use green bags.
Not only are green bags good for the environment, but they are sturdier than plastic bags. You can buy all different designs and you don't have to worry about the bag breaking before you get your groceries home.
5. Go thrift shopping.
There are so many things out there already. There is no need to continue to buy brand new items all the time. Shopping at antique malls, thrift shops, Salvation Army and Goodwill will deduce the need for factories to make more products which will reduce our carbon footprint.
On the flip side, it is good to donate to these places instead of throwing things away and adding to landfills.
6. Sign as many petitions as you can towards positive change.
I never thought signing petitions did anything, but I still signed a few every once in a while. But to my surprise, I saw that a law was passed from one of the petitions I signed. It was crazy to think that I helped make a positive change.
So take a minute and sign positive petitions because you could change the world for the better. Sign up for online petitions and have them sent to your email.
7. Refill jugs of water.
Stop buying a pack of 24 plastic water bottles. This is so wasteful. Buy 2 or 3 jugs of water and fill your reusable water bottle. Once they are empty, take them to Walmart, Payless, Meijer, etc. and fill them up for about 25 cents. This is so much better for the environment and it's a lot cheaper than buying case after case of water.
Or just buy a water filter, like Brita to keep in the fridge.
8. Don't put vegetables or fruit in plastic bags at the store.
You see the plastic bags you can put your unwrapped produce in at the grocery store? They are completely unnecessary and are just adding to the plastic build up. Either put your produce in a green bag or just have them lose until you get home.
You should wash your produce anyways before you eat it, so the plastic bag is a huge waste.
9. Buy locally.
Shopping at farmers markets and local farms is good because there is less of a carbon footprint without all of the transporting and manufacturing needed for other products and produce. You are also supporting local businesses and items found at these places have a higher chance of being organic.
A lot of people don't know you can buy straight from farms. If you're not sure, call and ask!
10. Buy less "single use" items.
Instead of buying sponges, paper towel, plastic straws and silverware, invest in things that you can wash and use again. Use a scrubber that you can rewash for cleaning dishes. Use a hand towel to clean up messes and get a metal straw to bring with you wherever you go.
This is good for your wallet as well!
11. Go out of your way to recycle.
If your residence doesn't have an option for recycling, don't just shrug and move on. Fix the problem! My apartment that I have lived at for the past two years doesn't offer recycling, so I drive my recycling to a place that will recycle it for me.
Put some effort in and let's save the world.