10 Life-Hacks For Every Self-Proclaimed Environmentalist
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10 Life-Hacks For Every Self-Proclaimed Environmentalist

Let me just be blunt for a minute; humans are destroying the Earth.

10 Life-Hacks For Every Self-Proclaimed Environmentalist

Let me just be blunt for a minute; humans are destroying the earth. The very vessel that houses us is being taken advantage of, almost irrecoverably, by pollution, the textile industry, and our own greedy "must. have. more." agendas. Now, if you're like me, you probably initiate constant dialogue focusing on why big changes need to occur within our society to help dear ole Mother Earth thrive. Don't get me wrong, those conversations are incredibly necessary in order to cultivate a deep, fundamental change in the way we, as humans, treat this planet during our time of occupation. But this change doesn't need to start off as an all-or-nothing movement. There are plenty of itty-bitty adaptations we can make to increase sustainability and Earth-love. Here are 10 eco-friendly, Earth happy life-hacks if you are a self-proclaimed environmentalist:

1. Use biodegradable planters.

We all know that gardening is a small way to give back to the environment. Many times, however, plastic tools, tarps and non-biodegradable planters are used in an effort to make the hobby more user-friendly. What if I told you there was a way to replace your ceramic, terra cotta and plastic planters with a few things that people of every age keep in their house?

If you have children or love a good scoop of mint chip in the summer, you're probably familiar with my good friend the ice cream cone.

Completely biodegradable, these little dudes can house your sprouts while they are small, then be buried right into your garden once your plants are ready to be transferred. Using foods that can be decomposed not only saves plastic from being used in gardening, but nourishes the soil.

2. Find the perfect lighting.

This one is super simple. Quite frankly, if you leave the lights on when you're not in a room, I just might question your claim to be an environmentalist. But there is more to this than simply turning your switch off when you head off to work. Studies suggest that by using energy-star bulbs instead of traditional incandescent, you can save a heck of a lot of energy (70-90 percent to be exact).

3. Up-cycle your favorite old clothing.

Shout out to all the creative people out there - this one is for you. Up-cycling is a pretty recent trend that has taken the internet by storm the last few years. And I won't lie, the textile industry hates it. By cutting, sewing and gluing, millions of people have been saving old blue jeans, sweaters and graphic tees. By doing this, we can reduce the demand for new textiles in the fashion industry, the second-most polluting industry in the world.

4. Ditch your expensive chemical cleaners.

You've probably heard your grandparents say something along the lines of "Back in my day, all we needed was baking soda and vinegar."

They aren't far off.

Most home products now use dangerous chemicals to kill bacteria while giving off the wonderfully suffocating scents of lavender, citrus and the ever-present pumpkin spice, to name a few. But, you don't need to pollute to keep a clean home. Every day people are creating home recipes that just might give Lysol a run for its money. So get googling (after you finish this article, obviously) and find an easy, all-natural recipe to replace the pollutants hiding in your medicine cabinet.

5. Use a dry towel to save energy in your laundry room.

If you're feeling too lazy to hang your clothes out to dry, there is a way to use the dryer and lose some of the guilt that comes with turning on such an energy hog of a machine. You can save tons of energy by placing a dry bath towel in with your wet clothing. The towel will absorb some of the moisture, decreasing the amount of time you need to keep your dryer on for.

P.S.- If you are drying whites, it might not be a great idea to stick a colored towel in there. Take it from the unfortunate soul who tried it.

6. Use reusable totes and grocery bags.

"Paper or plastic?" has no place in the "Go Green" movement. There is, like in most situations, a third option. Spending a few bucks on reusable grocery bags and totes could make quite the dent in the 100 billion annual accumulation of plastic bags in U.S. landfills. Buying reusable bags is easy and affordable; you can generally buy them right at your grocery or retail store checkout. But if you're feeling fancy, there are lots of trendy eco-friendly bags online as well as in stores.

7. Airplane mode is your best friend.

I know it may be hard for you to stay off social media for more than 5 minutes, but if you try out this hack, your phone battery (and our beautiful planet) will thank you. Turning on your phone's airplane mode while it is plugged in to a charger will greatly decrease the amount of charging time, and as a result will save a little bit of energy here and there.

8. Drink tap water whenever possible.

Plastic bottles are bad for the environment and for our bodies. We know this. So why do we still religiously buy disposable plastic bottles that inevitably end up in land fills and oceans? Pro-tip: don't. Buy a nice reusable water bottle and fill it with tap water whenever possible. If your tap water isn't ideal for drinking, invest in a small water purifier! This saves the environment, wildlife, and it helps decrease the amount of chemicals that transfer from the plastic bottles to your own body.

9. Wine and soda are a *good* thing.

I'm going to contradict myself right now, but trust me, there is a method to all this madness. Plastic two-liter bottles make fantastic vessels to house herbs. There, I said it. We all love a good glass of Dr. Pepper every now and then, and by cutting along the side of a plastic bottle, then poking small holes on the opposite side, you can create a trough-like planter that will grow small plants like herbs and flowers. The trick here is to not plant the bottle in or near the ground. These little plant-boats can be floated in water for a more hydroponic approach, or attached to a fence for a magical little vertical garden.

For the responsible adults in the audience, the same approach can be taken using left-over corks. Carve a hole in the top and small holes in the bottom to allow for water flow. They make adorable homes for succulents and single seed plants. By placing a small magnet on the back, these cute planters can even become a part of your kitchen decor.

10. Keep a trash bag in your glove box at all times.

The biggest thing you can do to make the earth a better place is to pick up litter. By keeping a trash bag and gloves in your glove box, you can easily pick up trash while walking your dog, going down the block to meet a friend or enjoying a day on the beach. However, the important thing to remember is to never put yourself in harm's way when picking up litter. Always wear gloves to protect your hands, and never pick up used needles or razors.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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