April 22nd is Earth Day! As an environmentalist, I consider every day to be Earth Day, so I try to treat the Earth with respect daily! For me, being an environmentalist is more than just a job, it is the way that I choose to live my life. Though I am not perfect (I am admittedly obsessed with books and plant ingredients), I try my best to live as eco-friendly as possible, from the tiniest steps to the major changes in my life. I think that many people believe living ‘green’ is difficult, expensive, and also time consuming, but it doesn’t have to be! Even the smallest changes can make a huge impact!
Here are some more simple but effective ways you can start living green!
Use rechargeable batteries! Many electronics already use rechargeable batteries (such as cell phones, lab tops, digital cameras, etc) but for other electronics (like alarm clocks, some types of scales, etc) try using rechargeable batteries too. It may cost a little more initially (since you need to buy a charger first, and rechargeable batteries cost a little more than regular batteries) but over time they will save you money since you won’t have to keep buying so many disposable batteries. Plus less waste and toxins in the landfill! Many chargers come in a starter or value pack that includes a few free batteries (honestly, I haven’t even needed to buy more batteries beyond what I got in my charger’s starter pack). Sometimes companies may also have coupons if you buy both the charger and also some batteries.
Like most people, I use a lot of paper. I’ve cut down on my usage a lot by writing as much as I can without paper (such as this article!) but I still write down my crafting ideas and recipes on paper, and I still use a pen and paper when writing poetry and also sometimes when I write fiction (I write a lot of fiction ‘paperless’ too), etc. Instead of recycling used paper immediately, I keep a drawer full of ‘scrap paper’ (paper that I’ve used, paper from the mail, things I have printed out that I am not using anymore, etc; paper in which only one side was used). I just cross out the side I am not using, and then use the clean side when I need to jot down things like shopping lists or when brainstorming for crafting ideas etc. (And then I recycle it when I am done using both sides ). I started doing this as an undergrad in college (about 14 years ago or so), and I was amazed at how much ‘scrap paper’ I accumulated in a short amount of time (just a few weeks). By simply using both sides of a piece of paper, I’ve really reduced my paper wastage!
Here are two super simple shower tips that I’ve been using since I was a teen.
1) Take shorter showers (I only take 5 minutes to shower and wash my hair).
2) If your shower routine takes longer than a few minutes (sometimes when I am using a scrub, mask, or doing a deep conditioning hair treatment, I need longer than a few minutes) then shut the water off when applying your body products (like soap, shampoo, conditioners, scrubs, etc). I shut the water off in the middle of my shower for several reasons. Not only is it eco-friendly, it makes applying things like masks, scrubs etc, A LOT easier, especially since they aren’t washed off immediately after you apply them (a lot of natural treatment products like masks need to sit on the skin for several minutes to work properly). It also seems to make soap last longer since it is not constantly in the stream of water (real soap that is rich in glycerin can melt fast/dissolve faster than conventional ‘soaps’, which are not true soaps but syn-det bars). Plus your water bill will be a little less too!
Green Hotels I love to travel. I don’t get to travel as often as I’d like, but when I do, I try to stay in a more ‘green’ hotel. ‘Green’ hotels generally try to reduce water and food wastage and many also use more eco-friendly cleaning products (microfiber was one of the best kept secrets of hotels until fairly recently). When I can’t get a ‘green’ hotel, I just ask my room cleaner to do what most ‘green’ hotels usually do. If you are staying in a room for several days, you can ask them to not wash your bed sheets and to not give you new towels every day (they will still straighten up your room, and clean the counters and shower, etc, but they will just make your bed using the sheets you used the night before, and refold the towels from the day before). I prefer doing this, since the sheets and towels are still clean after just one use, and hotels usually give much more towels that are needed anyways (so most likely the majority of them weren’t used the first or even the second day). (note: green hotels clean and replace the sheets, blankets, towels etc after you leave, for the next customer). Also, since I use all natural skin and hair care, I just use my own and don’t use or take the hotel’s shampoo and soap (I just leave it untouched in the bathroom for the next person).
For more ideas, check out my other Eco Living articles, and also my Eco blog!
About The Author:
Li Wong has a B.A. in Environmental Studies (Biology) and a M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy. She has been crafting natural cosmetics and studying aromatherapy and herbalism since 2001, and is currently a student of Jeanne Rose’s Aromatherapy Studies Course. Environmental interests include conservation, botany, ethnobotany (uses of plants by indigenous peoples), mammals, organic standards in cosmetics, urban wildlife issues, environmental education and awareness, and public perception. She is the owner of Earth Alkemie, an all natural, vegetarian skin care and mineral makeup company.
For more information on environmental issues, Eco Living, natural cosmetics, aromatherapy, and herbalism check out: Solarkat’s Eco Blog. http://solarkateco.blogspot.com/
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