Small Steps to Live A More Eco-Friendly Life

What if I challenged you to think about adding one more item to your fall schedule? Maybe one that benefits us all, and our planet.

Many of us utilize autumn as a starting point, especially for new or revamped routines: a consistent workout regimen, meal prepping, spending budgets, a reboot of our skin care. Habits are good for maintaining clarity, for both our bodies’ and our minds’ sakes.

But what if I challenged you to incorporate a new habit? One that benefits ALL of us?

Determining just what that looks like can be daunting, but remember that even what may seem like an insignificant contribution, when coupled with everyone else’s, can make a major difference. Read on for a few very simple, yet impactful ways to be kinder to our environment. Please comment to add your own — sharing ideas is the best way for us to learn!

RECYCLE YOUR CLOTHES

Nothing like a thorough fall cleaning to finally let go of all of those clothes we think we’re going to wear but won’t.

Make a pile for donations — any Goodwill or Salvation Army location will gladly take them off your hands — and give your items a second life with someone else.

Make a second pile for anything that can be revamped or revitalized — why buy more when all you need is a good tailor to make those pants finally fit? Don’t know how to sew? It is never too late to learn. Start by reattaching a button to that blouse. With some TLC, you’ll be surprised how many of your old pieces will become your new favorites! 

Have a clothes swap with your friends. You may no longer want some of the things in your closet, but your friends will!! Make it a party, and tell everyone to bring a few gently used items, then have fun swapping them and trying them on. Voila! 

BE MINDFUL WHEN SHOPPING

Whether you are food shopping for the week or on the prowl for a new maxi dress, be sure to bring your own bag! Lots of retailers will donate to a charity (hi, FP!) when you use your bag in lieu of theirs. And say no to tissue paper! Your outfit will actually look a lot cooler without it.

Shop local as much as possible. Support your local farmers by buying produce and other perishables at your closest farmer’s market. 

When shopping for clothing, invest in timeless pieces you can wear again and again, rather than super-trendy ones that you might otherwise replace in a year. 

DECREASE YOUR FOOD WASTE

Plan your meals ahead of time and make strategic trips to the grocery store to avoid over-buying. Sure, sometimes food gets overripe anyway. Have your bananas become so brown you cant imagine eating them? Turn them into banana bread! Get creative with leftover food.

Food prep as soon as you get home from your big grocery haul! Clean all your veggie and fruit snacks, and separate them in small containers so they are ready to go next time you head out the door. Putting it off may only lead to them spoiling. 

Start composting! It’s not as hard as you think, and most cities make these services very easy to join. If you are in Philly, check out Bennett Compost; if you live elsewhere, a quick Google search will point you in the right direction. 

Do you have an outdoor space? Exercise your green thumb and plant veggies or some fresh herbs!

MAKE A NEW BEST FRIEND: THE CUP

Did you know that, in the US alone, 12 billion pads and 7 million tampons pollute landfills annually? That’s a whole lot of trash — as well as money — being flushed away! Challenge yourself to try a menstrual cup. A reusable silicone insert that stays in for up to 12 hours is friendly to the Earth and your wallet! 

DAILY LIFE

Keep reusable utensils at work so you never have to reach for plastic ones.

Invest in a reusable straw.

Get yourself a travel cup and ask your favorite coffee shop to fill it instead of their one-use paper cups and lids. 

Carpool with coworkers if you can, or consider taking public transportation to decrease your carbon footprint.

For an extra daily workout, why not bike to the office? Even if you don’t own your own, a lot of cities offer quick and easy bike rentals. 

Keep cute hand towels in the kitchen so you don’t have to use paper towels every time you wet your hands. 

Invest in a water filter both at home and at work to avoid buying bottles at the grocery store.

A nod to the Italian way of life: hang your clothes to dry to minimize the use of your dryer, and make sure you have a full load before starting the washer. 

Stay tuned for more Care FP initiatives!

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Thanks for the tips! I’m trying to make small changes in my routine this year. These are great ideas!

Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
http://charmainenyw.com

Nice post! The menstrual cup is my favorite. Can’t recommend it enough. Saves you a lot of money and it’s great for the environment.

I am very amazed by the little habits that we can change in order to live an sustainable life. Reusable utensils are obviously the great start. Keep your own water bottles when go for shopping or city tour or even to your small walk to the park. I’ve even made some shopping bags out of my used clothes so that I won’t carry a plastic bag anymore. But what concerns me the most is the daily kitchen waste. However,I’ve already started using coffee pods but do you have any more ideas how we can reduce it?