Many Americans are so dependent on plastic materials that they often don’t realize how much waste they produce each year. According to National Geographic, the amount of plastic ever produced amounts to 8.3 billion metric tons. Of that amount, 6.3 billion metric tons have become plastic waste. The vast majority—79 percent—are ending up in landfills and taking over natural environments. The prediction is that by 2050, oceans and seas will contain just as much plastic as they do fish.
This is obviously a major problem for our planet, and although individually we seem to play a small part in this crisis, even the smallest changes in our daily lives can make a huge impact in the long run.
Below are 20 easy ways to go green in your home. If completely going green seems intimidating and expensive, try to make one change per week, and you’ll be living an environment-friendly lifestyle in no time!
Use reusable bags when grocery shopping.
Car pool whenever possible.
Buy rechargeable batteries. If you do use disposable batteries, they should never be thrown in the trash, because they contain many toxic chemicals that could pollute our drinking water if they are left to deteriorate in a landfill. Visit cityofmadison.com for information on local drop-off sites.
Support green businesses.
Give away your old magazines to places with waiting rooms like hospitals and dental offices.
File your taxes electronically to cut back on paper.
Donate old newspapers to local animal shelters and bring plastic bags back to stores.
Shop eco-friendly whenever possible (ie: beauty products, home décor, etc.)
Buy reusable, reliable coffee mugs and water bottles. Use reusable coffee filters as well!
Cut out plastic straws. Make it a point to mention that you will not be needing a straw at restaurants and bars.
Only run the washer, dryer, and dishwasher with full loads and repair any leaky faucets.
Ride your bike or walk whenever possible.
Buy e-tickets through apps when going to the movies, concerts, or traveling.
Run errands back-to-back to reduce gas usage.
Buy an air-purifying plant for your home.
Remove unnecessary items from your car—the more weight, the more gas your car uses.
Give away your old possessions to thrift stores or hold a yard sale.
Switch to chemical-free cleaning products.
Take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible.
RECYCLE. This is the most important one. See the list below for guidelines on what can be recycled and what cannot.
Tin, steel and bi-metal cans
Aerosol cans—empty and without pressure
Metal lids from jars, cans and bottles
Metal food trays
Plastic bottles (must remove caps, pumps, sprayers and lids)
Milk containers (remove lid)
Cleaning product and bleach bottles
Shampoo and bubble bath Bottles
Newspaper and inserts
Telephone books and catalogs
Carton-board such as cereal boxes and 6-pack cartons
brown paper bags
Egg cartons (paper-board only)
Frozen food packaging
Soft cover books
Glass food and beverage Containers
Clear, green or amber in color glass jars
Glass food/beverage containers
DO NOT RECYCLE:
Foil juice bags
Plastic bottle tops
Motor oil or pool chemical containers
Clear food containers
Plastic egg boxes
Large plastic items
Pesticides and herbicides
Garden plastics and flower pots
Food storage and Microwave containers
solvent, paint and adhesive containers
Yogurt and margarine tubs
Waxy cardboard or paper Ice cream containers
Towel or tissue rolls
Plastic wrap from newspapers
Remove plastic and foil from cereal boxes
Blue print paper
Cardboard saturated with poultry or meat juices
Bar soap or detergent bottles
Dishware or ceramics
We hope you find these tips helpful, and may they guide you toward a cleaner, greener life!