19 Things You Can Do To Improve The Environment

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

Step 1: Turn it off
Energy conservation is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint. Leaving your electrics on standby needlessly uses up energy – hit the off switch and you could see huge improvements, most noticeably in your energy bills!

Step 2: Invest in eco-friendly technology
Want to go further than simply turning it off? Make sure that the technology or appliances you have are is as energy-efficient as possible. This way, you’re using much less energy for the time that the product is on, saving money, and reducing your energy output.

Step 3: Switch to renewables
Installing solar panels or changing your energy supplier to one that’s 100% renewable is a great eco-friendly tip for any home.

Step 4: Eat less meat
Being careful with what you’re consuming is at the heart of being more eco-friendly, and cutting down on the amount of meat you eat can have a huge impact on reducing your carbon footprint. For more information, read “The Ecological Hoofprint” by Tony Weiss

Step 5: Don’t waste food
More than half of all food produced in Canada is lost or wasted, report says. A whopping 58 per cent of all food produced in Canada – 35.5 million tonnes – is lost or wasted, according to a new report, and about a third of that wasted food could be “rescued” and sent to communities in need across the country.

Step 6: Compost
If you have let your food go that little bit too far past its ‘best by’ then you need to be sure to compost it rather than putting it in the garbage. Not only will this help create a natural fertilizer and keep your garden green, it’ll also reduce the amount of waste going to landfill - and as it won’t break down anaerobically, there will not be a build-up of methane gas.

Step 7: Recycle everything
Although our recycling markets are declining, continue to recycle in case new markets develop. The main thing is to recycle products that are truly recyclable and make sure it’s clean.

Step 8: Try to cut out plastic
Plastic seems to have found its way into every single aspect of our lives. However, giving it up isn’t as difficult as you might think – bring a canvas bag with you when you go shopping, buy your fruit and vegetables loose and don’t buy bottled water.

Step 9: Use LED light bulbs
Not only do LED light bulbs last longer than conventional bulbs, they’re far more efficient too! This means that you’ll be using less power and having to replace your light bulbs less frequently – everyone’s a winner. What's more, they're available in a range of brightness and designs so you can really tailor the lighting to your needs or to suit the room.

Step 10: Insulate your home
Homes that aren’t well insulated are much harder to keep warm when it's cold, and cool when the weather is hot. Insulating your home is one of the best, ecofriendly things you can do for your home. However, spray foam produces a lot of GHGs during installation so best to use other types of insulation. See https://www.buildinggreen.com/news-article/avoiding-global-warming-impact-insulation to learn more.

Step 11: Fix it, don’t throw it
Repairing or fixing something is more environmentally friendly than simply throwing things away, although the latter may seem easier and cheaper sometimes. The internet gives you access to the tools and information you need to fix practically anything, and if you still can’t fix it then why not try and turn it into something else? Sign up to participate in a REPAIR CAFÉ.

Step 12: Use eco-friendly cleaning products
A lot of cleaning products have a lot of harmful chemicals in them that aren’t environmentally friendly to create or dispose of. In fact, repeated exposure to these cleaning products can affect your health as well as the environment. Green cleaning products use more natural and organic methods of cleaning which are far less harmful.

Step 13: Drive Less
If you can make the journey by foot, bike or public transport, then do it. Driving isn’t very eco-friendly and can really add to your carbon footprint. When you do have to drive, make sure that you get the most out of your vehicle by keeping the speed down, ensuring tires are properly inflated and that the engine is running smoothly.

Step 14: Use your microwave
Honestly, you’d be surprised by how much more energy efficient microwaves are compared to conventional ovens. While you’re already surprised, you may as well continue to be shocked with some of the awesome things you can cook in a microwave (hint: it’s not just ready meals).

Step 15: Buy local
From clothes to food, the closer to home these products are made and bought, the less carbon is created with their transportation. Not only that, but you’ll be supporting the local economy which means that in time you’ll likely have even more local items to choose from.

Step 16: Don't fly
Flying is one of the most environmentally damaging things you can do. Why not stay a bit closer to home and explore some beautiful local nature? Camping, hiking and cycling are all great things to do and are extremely low carbon.

Step 17: Grow your own
Growing your own vegetables isn’t just a good way to save money, it’s also a great way to cut down your carbon footprint and be eco-friendly. Don’t have any outside space? Windowsill boxes are a great way to brighten up your view, filter the air coming into your home and offer plenty of space for herbs and small vegetable patches.

Step 18: Plant some trees
Ecological sustainability is very important when it comes to eco-friendly living. Without a stable ecosystem, things start to fall apart. Making sure that we’re planting more native trees to replace those that have been felled to make room for developments is something that more people and businesses need to do to protect the environment and improve air quality.

Step 19: Choose your personal care wisely
When it comes to personal hygiene there are some things you ca do for a truly eco-friendly lifestyle. Avoid chemicals and opt for natural cleaning products. You can also buy personal care products that have less packaging.

This article has been modified from The Ultimate 20 Step Guide to Eco-friendly Living