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Five Cheap and Easy Ways to Reduce Your Impact on the Planet

Five Cheap and Easy Ways to Reduce Your Impact on the Planet
MBL Editors

Five Cheap and Easy Ways to Reduce Your Impact on the Planet

By Erica Anderson

Electric cars, updated appliances, and solar panels are just a few of the ways that people can keepthe environment clean, but those options aren’t always on the budget when money is tight. However, there are many inexpensive and easy ways to reduce your impact on the planet even if you’re not able to hand over $100,000 for a new Tesla Model S.

1. Don’t waste food

It might seem like common sense, but wasting food is a big problem, particularly in the United States and other developed nations. The United Nations Environmental Programme suggests that one third of food meant for human use is thrown away in the garbage. That’s 1.3 billion tons every year.

If your lifestyle and location allow, try to buy food daily, or at least a few times a week, rather than trying to stock up on tons of vegetables and meat that could go bad. If you can’t shop frequently, purchase frozen vegetables. They’re just as healthy as the fresh variety and won’t go bad.

2. Look at the packaging

Have you ever purchased an item from the grocery store and marveled at how much packaging was used to secure it? Products in the grocery store often come with an inner liner, a cardboard box, and plastic wrap and are incredibly wasteful. Choose products in the store that don’t use excessive packaging and which also feature recyclable materials.

Also, don’t put your fruit in different plastic bags when you shop for produce. Instead, load everything in reusable bags. Remember to use clear or transparent bags so that the grocery checker can tell what’s inside during checkout.

3. Reduce physical mail volume

Flipping through a catalogue might be a fun activity, but why waste the paper when the company probably has a graphic-rich website online? Switch magazine and catalogue subscriptions to online or tablet-based delivery.

Get electronic delivery of credit card statements, various bills, and monthly updates. Make sure to recycle any paper mail you get that isn’t otherwise available in an electronic format. You can recycle paper even if it’s been shredded or modified to prevent identity theft.

4. Use homemade and natural cleaners

Take a look at the list of ingredients on your average household cleanser and you’ll probably want to wear a hazmat suit. You can keep just about every surface in your home sparkling, clean, and safe with less than a dozen simple items that you probably already have in the home.

For example, you can unclog drains by using nothing more than baking soda, salt, and vinegar.

Cleaning floors requires a simple combination of lemon juice, liquid castile soap, and water. Using simple household items is safer for the environment and is also easier on your wallet.

5. Unplug anything that’s not in use

Just about anything that requires electricity and has a plug may consume power even when the device isn’t in use. A laptop that remains plugged in at night will leech electricity and increase power bills. Conservationists call these devices “vampire electronics,” but all it takes is unplugging the device to save up to a hundred dollars a year.

If you’re going to be gone for more than a few days, you can unplug just about everything but the refrigerator. Unplug devices like the television, DVD player, computers, and clocks if you’re going on vacation. An empty home doesn’t need to know the time.

These five suggestions will get you on your way to reducing your carbon footprint, but don’t stop here. Use every day to find out how you can reduce, reuse, and recycle your way to a greener, cleaner lifestyle.

Erica Anderson is a veterinary technician and writer from Tucson, Arizona. Her hobbies include gardening, road trips, and making recycled furniture.