Let's be honest. Many "tips" that are suggested by the seasoned environmental activist are just too foreign and drastic to the beginner. As someone just starting an eco-friendly journey, here are some practices I've already started putting into effect, that are low-effort, low cost and benefit other areas of your life.
1. Shut off lights when not in use: If you're not in a room, why keep the lights on? You don't need to compete with the house from "Home Alone" in who has the most unnecessary lights turned on!
2. Take advantage of natural light during the day: This, and the previous tip will also help reduce your electricity bill. Open your curtains and let the light in!
3. Conserve water: turn it off when brushing teeth or scrubbing dishes, if you wash by hand. You can also collect rain water and use it for backyard chores.
4. Use biodegradable single use items for large gatherings: Sometimes real dishes just aren't feasible, and there's no shame in that! I think if the demand grows for ecofriendly, low maintenance utensils, there will be less plastic products in stores. It's all about a gradual shift in the way we plan events.
5. Follow your area's garbage sorting guide: There are still many of us that don't want to adapt to new policies. Putting things where they belong will allow them to be stored, destroyed or recycled in the correct way. Gradually ease into abiding by waste disposal policies by separating food from paper items, then bottles and cans from glass.
6. Buy products that charge by USB cable, rather than single-use batteries: It might be a bigger investment up front, but you would probably spend the difference in replacing the batteries every time they die.
7. reuse plastic shopping bags in your home: We all have a "bag of bags" in our home, Put them to use as much as you can before throwing them out.
8. Switch to reusable shopping bags: My province has banned single-use plastic bags as of October 2020 so we're having to adapt our habits to bringing them into the store with us. I often find myself forgetting them so I have just as many reusable bags as I did plastic bags. They're just more expensive now!
9. Support small businesses that use green products: Not only will you be helping a family to make good choices while not breaking the bank, but you'll be part of a trend-setting scheme - if just one business makes a change with the support of the community, other businesses will follow.
10.Opt out of flyer delivery: I did so last week after the delivery person broke my door for the second time. I was just throwing it straight into the garbage anyway. If you absolutely must know the latest grocery deals, you can easily look it up online, or go to your local library to read the newspaper.
11. Check for water leaks and drafty areas: You'll save on your heating and water bill, and your home will be more comfortable!
12. Replace "end of life" items with green equivalents: There's no need to immediately throw out your plastic and go buy ecofriendly alternatives "just because." Get full use out of said item, then switch to the green alternative.
13. Go paperless - but not completely: If you're like me and still want to have something physical, you can mark bills + amounts in a notebook or calendar.
14. Switch to a bidet attachment: Your hygiene will thank you! I can't understand why North America has such a hate for clean bums. There are many types of bidets, from the hose to the technologically advanced toilet attachment. Just be sure to learn the pressure options so you don't accidentally set it to "pressure wash" !!
15.Make your own compost bucket: If you have a garden, making your own compost just makes sense.
16. Switch from disposable to electric razor: It's safer, has better storage options and often are more aesthetically pleasing.
17. Portion out your meals: Combine healthy eating with waste reduction.
18. Rideshare when going out with friends: If you're planning a night on the town, a camping adventure or just a trip to your favourite restaurant, taking turns driving each other will reduce the amount of cars on the road, and can also create a bonding experience - do car karaoke, people-watch as you drive, or act out your favourite driving scene monologue.
19. Create a bee-friendly garden: Yes, anything with stingers and wings are terrifying, but they are an important part of our ecosystem. Try to set aside your differences and bee kind!
20. Dispose of prescriptions properly: Many pharmacies have disposal programs in place. Don't flush medicines.
I think these tips are great starting points for someone new to the sustainability movement. They require just a little bit of extra thought and planning when it comes to changing a habit, but once you get into it, you won't notice a big difference. What simple tips do you have to offer?