Get inspired this St. Patrick's Day and start with one of these easy steps towards an eco-friendly lifestyle:
1. Shut off and unplug electronics when you are not using them. Don't be fooled - just because your computer is asleep and your coffee maker isn't brewing away, doesn't mean they aren't still sucking up energy! Not only is this habit good for the environment, it's also good for your energy bill!
2. Switch to Eco-friendly cleaning products in your home. Many household cleaners contain chemicals that are not only harmful to the environment, but to your health! Make your own cleaner using water and ingredients like tea tree oil, vinegar, or baking soda, or head to any local store to pick up trusted brands such as Mrs. Meyers, Method, or Seventh Generation.
*Lucky Tip* Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment, is a great resource for discovering consumer products that are safe for the environment and humans!
3. Speaking of cleaning, save paper and money by switching out your paper towels and magic erasers for re-usable, and/or biodegradable cleaning cloths. For example, bamboo cleaning towels are durable enough to handle tough scrubbing, and most can be washed and re-used up to 100 times! Made from sustainable and renewable sources, they leave minimal or no imprint on the earth at the end of the product life cycle.
4. Purchase a set of re-usable shopping bags, and keep a few in your car at all times. You can even get affordable insulated bags to keep your perishables safe on the drive home!
5. Take your own mug to the coffee shop — some shops will even give you a discount for bringing your own cup. Already doing this? Take your eco-friendly coffee game to the next level by finding out if your coffee is triple certified.
6. Ditch the plastic water bottles (yes even the re-usable ones) and opt for glass, stainless steel, or aluminum. Bonus - these bottles offer better insulation than plastic, keeping your beverage cool all day!
7. Support Green Businesses, you can trust their products, services, and industrial processes to be good for you and the environment. Visit GreenAmerica.org to find businesses near you!
8. Get the junk out of your trunk (literally!) — extra weight in your car decreases fuel efficiency.
9. Turn down (or off) the thermostat. Wear an extra sweater or use a blanket before you resort to turning on (or up) the heat, and turn your thermostat down (or off) at night and when you aren't home. The same goes for your A/C and fans in the summer!
10. Wash your laundry in cold water instead of hot and opt for eco-friendly laundry detergents. When possible, line dry your laundry or use a lower heat setting.
11. Always turn off the lights when you leave a room.
12. Donate to - and shop at - your local thrift store, or use neighborhood groups and smart phone apps to buy, sell, trade, and giveaway items that can be re-used. Many neighborhoods have "Buy Nothing" Facebook groups allowing neighbors to do just that!
13. Reduce your beef consumption (sorry corned beef, you're still delicious!). While there is ongoing debate over whether or not vegetarian diets are more eco-friendly, overwhelming scientific evidence shows that beef production has a negative environmental impact far outweighing that of any other animal product.
14. Remove your shoes when you enter your house. Your shoes can track in harmful amounts of pesticides, lead, cadmium and other chemicals.
15. Use eco-friendly, non-toxic beauty and personal hygiene products. Resources like Environmental Working Group can help you find safer alternatives. You can also download apps like Good Guide to help you make product decisions while you're at the store.
*BONUS* Go green for your St. Patrick's Day Celebration with these 5 easy bonus tips:
- Purchase biodegradable plates, cups, napkins, and silverware for your party guests and make sure beer cans, bottles, and other recyclables make it into the correct bin.
- Opt for a locally sourced [green] beer and snacks.
- If you're hitting the bars, use a ride-sharing service or public transportation.
- Just say no to plastic straws! (and avoid other single-use plastics if possible)
- Skip the glitter, toxic green hair sprays, and face paints and jazz up your look with re-usable necklaces, hats, and t-shirts to show your St. Patty's spirit.