If you want to lead a greener life, here are some easy tips to get you started...
1. Buy Recycled
Help create demand for products with recycled content by choosing products made from (or packaged in) recycled materials. This sends a message to manufacturers. Recycling them when done helps to close the loop.
2. Choose Sustainable Ingredients and Materials
Support local farmers. Try buying organic and Fair Trade produce. Choose recyclable yoga mats, organic cotton, hemp, bamboo and fleece clothing. Not only will you help promote sustainable farming practices, you'll also help prevent rainforests from being further decimated.
3. Detoxify Your Life
Buy non-toxic paints for your house and use non-toxic natural cleaners like baking soda and vinegar. They're cheap and safe for kids and pets.
4. BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag)
Look for products you can take home unwrapped. Don't bag produce; it stays just as fresh in your fridge naked as in a plastic bag. Travel with a bag to hand - one person using one reusable bag can save hundreds of plastic bags from landfill and oceans every year.
5. BYOM (Bring Your Own Mug)
Bring your own mug with you wherever you go. Get a really good travel mug and it'll keep your coffee or tea hot for hours and you won't be throwing away paper cups or plastic mugs.
6. Compost: It's Easier Than You Think
Put a compost bin in your apartment or backyard. It's easy, cheap and clean. Use your homemade compost to feed your garden and house plants or donate it to your local community garden.
7. Reduce Paper Consumption
Buying 100% post-consumer recycled paper, envelopes, file folders etc reduces the number of trees being chopped down - as does printing only what you need. Switch to e-billing for utility bills and bank statements.
8. Reduce Energy Consumption
Switch to energy-saving lightbulbs and try to get into the habit of turning off lights when you leave a room. Apply the same principle to appliances like chargers, laptops, toasters, coffee pots, kettles and microwaves - all consume electricity unless they are unplugged. Boil only as much water as you need. Try solar lights for your garden or outdoor walkways. Use cold water for washing clothes and hang them out to dry. Turn down/off heating when sleeping and when leaving the house.
9. Reduce Water Use
Try turning the tap off when you're brushing your teeth. When washing dishes by hand, reuse your rinse water for plants or the garden.
10. Reduce Fuel Consumption and Your Carbon Footprint
Walk, ride, car-share or use public transport. You can reduce your carbon footprint by cycling to work and taking the bus home or vice versa. Baby steps can still add up to a big difference!