It's the Little Things: These 6 Eco-Friendly Habits Are Unexpectedly Satisfying
You may not get a gold star every time you do something good for the environment, but many eco-friendly habits come with their own reward: an intense sense of personal satisfaction. There's joy to be had in finding the perfect reusable dish cloth or finally finding a use for leftover kitchen scraps, if you know where to look for it. Just try these six environmentally friendly practices that can be surprisingly cathartic to do yourself.
Properly Sorting Your Recycling
Dumping anything you think might be recyclable in the blue bin and hoping for the best doesn't quite cut it. According to the National Waste and Recycling Association, as much as 25 percent of what ends up in each recycling bin is contaminated and can't be recycled. Know which materials — like single-use plastic bags, foods, and textiles — can't be recycled, and spend time sorting your recyclables according to your community's guidelines. Feeling certain that your plastic bottles, tin cans, and cardboard boxes will actually be recycled is a wonderful thing.
Making Vegetable Stock Out of Scraps
Overwhelmed by the idea of composting? Make use of your leftover vegetable scraps another way — in homemade vegetable stock. Every time you chop the ends off a carrot, peel the papery skin off an onion, or have any other leftover vegetable bits, toss them into a reusable container in the freezer. Once you have three or four cups of veggie trimmings, cover them with water and simmer for 45 minutes. Strain out the scraps, and you've got a tasty and incredibly useful vegetable stock!
Giving Up Bottled Water For Good
Resist the temptation to buy a bottle of water whenever you feel thirsty; there are much more sustainable ways to stay hydrated. Invest in a Brita Filter Pitcher ($25) and Brita Filtering Water Bottle ($17) so you always have filtered water on hand, whether you're at home or on the go. It makes a real impact: switching to a Brita pitcher can save up to 1,800 bottles a year from ending up in the trash*.
*No bottles to throw away. Refers to standard 16.9-ounce single-use bottles.
Supporting Local Farms
Whenever you can, try shopping for fresh produce at a local farmers market or farm stand. Not only does it reduce the need for groceries to be shipped in from another region, but it also feels good to buy your eggs or fresh vegetables from someone in your community.
Thrifting and Reselling Clothes
The more use you get out of any jacket or pair of jeans, the more your carbon footprint shrinks. Instead of buying brand-new fast fashion whenever you get the urge to refresh your wardrobe, shop for secondhand pieces that still have plenty of wear left in them. Then, when you're ready to get rid of something, you can donate or resell it, extending the life cycle of your unwanted clothes.
Investing in Reusable Everything
It's tough to green your daily routine if you don't have the right supplies. Take time to shop for eco-friendly products that you'll use for years to come. Stocking up on cloth dish towels and beeswax wrap will reduce your dependency on single-use paper towels and plastic wrap in the kitchen, while washable makeup wipes and eco-friendly hot tools will make your beauty routine a bit more sustainable.