Over the years, concern for the environment has grown. Many businesses and corporations have implemented programs and strategies to become more environmentally friendly, and individuals are becoming more concerned with their own impact as well. The following are some simple things that you can do to go green at home.

1. Recycle When You Can

Several states have created recycling laws that make the action mandatory. If you live in one of these states and do not follow the guidelines, you could be required to pay a fine. While this can be a good motivator, it is important to recycle even if you don’t necessarily have to. Plastics and other materials that take a long time to decompose can be hazardous to wildlife in many areas, and recycling can reduce their production.

2. Reduce Your Energy Consumption

When you limit the energy you use, you are helping to reduce carbon emissions that affect the atmosphere and can contribute to global climate change. Luckily, using less electricity is easily done by unplugging your chargers when you’re not using them and turning off lights when you leave a room. You can also purchase devices and appliances that are made to use less power. Energy Star certified products work more efficiently to provide the performance you need while using less energy.

3. Go Paperless

All of the bills you get in the mail add up not only in monthly payments but also in wasted paper. In an effort to reduce waste, many companies now offer an option to go paperless. You can choose to receive your statements through email or on their website and can make payments online. These can often be automated, which can also save you some time. Along with your bills, you can go one step further and start reading magazines, newspapers, and books on a digital device as well.

4. Use Less Water

Water is essential to all life on the planet and is, therefore, one of the earth’s most precious resources. Programs such as the Cadiz Water Project work to provide clean water in certain areas, and you can do your part at home by reducing your water usage. Taking a shower instead of a bath can save several gallons of water, as long as you are careful about the time you spend washing. You should also be mindful of letting the water run while you do certain activities, such as brushing your teeth.

5. Invest In Reusable Items

It is generally recommended that you should drink at least eight glasses of water a day. If you are using bottled water, this is four standard bottles. Over an extended period of time, this can add up quite a lot. A great option for getting in your daily water is to invest in a reusable bottle. There are many varieties for you to choose from, from glass to stainless steel to BPA-free plastic that offer a variety of benefits. You can also choose to stop using plastic bags when you do your grocery shopping. Many companies offer cloth bags that you can use instead.

6. Consume Less Meat

You may not think much about how much meat you eat or its impact on the environment, but the raising of livestock can contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. Many people choose to become vegan and vegetarian for this reason. You may not want to change your diet or lifestyle so drastically, but even small changes can reduce your impact on the planet. Participating in something like Meatless Monday can not only help the environment, but it can benefit your own personal health as well.

7. Save Your Food Containers

While they may not be as pretty or match as well as a new set of food storage containers, many food items you purchase at the grocery store come in packaging that can be used again. Glass jars can be used to store leftovers and dry foods or can even be used as drinking glasses. Some brands even design their packaging for this purpose. If you buy prepackaged sliced meats for sandwiches, you may be surprised to discover that the plastic containers they come in are often safe for use in both the freezer and the microwave.

8. Buy From Eco-Friendly Brands

Another way that you can help the environment is to support brands that are actively trying to make a difference. Many brands are working to reduce their environmental footprint by using less wasteful packaging, reducing plastic usage and adopting more sustainable production methods. For example, coffee company Starbucks plans to stop using plastic straws by 2020, and Swedish furniture maker Ikea sources sustainable materials for its products.

You may sometimes think that the small choices you make won’t have much of an impact when it comes to helping the environment. However, it is important to do what you can. If individuals work to adopt more eco-friendly habits, the overall effect can be huge. Using these methods won’t take much effort but will have many benefits to the planet.

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