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5 Habits That Make You Less Eco Friendly

5 Habits That Make You Less Eco Friendly

We all have those habits we wish we could break. If you’re trying to be more eco friendly in your daily life, there are probably a number of things you would like to change, but just haven’t managed to yet. Here are some bad habits you may want to work on changing so you can be more eco friendly.

Bad Habit #1 – Forgetting Reusable Shopping Bags

For many of us, it’s easy to forget to put the reusable shopping bags in the car or where we’ll grab them before heading out to shop. If single use plastic shopping bags haven’t been banned in your area, that means you get more of those thin shopping bags that pile up so fast.

To get past this bad habit, come up with a way to remember to bring your reusable bags along for shopping. Get into the habit of putting them someplace easy to see when you’re going shopping.

Consider giving yourself a penalty when you forget your bags, such as having to drop a quarter into a jar for every non reusable bag you bring into the house, kind of like a swear jar.

Bad Habit #2 – Paper Towels

Paper towels are really convenient for cleaning up some messes, and they can be advertised as being more sanitary than cloth towels or sponges being used over and over again. Frankly, that depends on how often you change or clean your cloth towels and sponges, as there are ways to handle the germ issues in those. Paper towels, being single use items, are rarely the right choice.

Bad Habit #3 – Bottled Water

Don’t buy bottles of water when you’re on the go – bring your own in a reusable water bottle. Mine is stainless steel. It’s a few years old and still going strong. It’s easy to carry when I go somewhere – I chose an insulated bottle so that my drink stays cold even if I leave it in the car for a while.

Bad Habit #4 – Lights On During The Day

When you can, don’t turn the lights on in your home during the day. Open the blinds or curtains and get a little natural light in. Of course, if it’s too hot out, you may be better off with closed curtains so you don’t let the heat in and need to run the air conditioner.

Bad Habit #5 – Over Reliance On The Heater Or Air Conditioner

There’s no need to keep your home a steady temperature all year. Learn to enjoy a wider range of temperatures indoors and you can use your heater and air conditioner much less throughout the year. Wear warmer clothes indoors during the winter rather than heat the entire house, and use fans to keep cooler for less in summer.

Don’t forget to take advantage of your programmable thermostat if you have one. You don’t need to heat or cool your house so much when you aren’t home, and you may want cooler temperatures when you’re sleeping than when you’re awake – not to mention that, weather permitting, you may be able to open windows at night to cool things down after a hot day.

5 Habits of Eco Friendly Families

Raising an eco friendly family takes a lot of work, but much of it becomes habit in fairly short order. It even becomes fun.

1. Be more environmentally aware as a family.

Talk as a family about what’s going on in the world and how it effects the environment. Talk about how your individual habits and habits as a family effect the environment.

Talk about how your individual habits and habits as a family effect the environment.

Keep this simple when the kids are young.  You can explain to young children why they should do things like recycle paper, not litter, and pick up litter that others leave behind. You want to keep it a little on the fun side, and not bring up a lot of worries about what’s happening to the world when the kids are too young for such worries. There’s a balance there.

As everyone gets older, get into more details and encourage everyone to work harder on doing their part for the environment. Try volunteering as the kids get old enough.

Make sure you always pick reliable sources. The usual news media is great for presenting the worst of the big stuff while ignoring the overall impact of other things. They over simplify things like climate change so much that people don’t think it’s likely.

You can find great, age appropriate books by searching online, and don’t forget to check your local libraries. Many websites work hard at providing good information too; just be sure that they’re using good sources, as others are little more than online tabloids or are actively against the environmental movement. Nothing wrong with reading both sides, but make sure you get into how these differences come about.

Suggested Websites

Environmental News Network
World Resources Institute
The Earth Charter Initiative

Suggested Books

Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things
Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution
The Story of Stuff: How Our Obsession with Stuff Is Trashing the Planet, Our Communities, and Our Health-and a Vision for Change

2. Reduce, reuse, recycle

Practice these as a family, and remember that they’re in order.

Reduce is the most important. The less you use, the less of an environmental impact you have on the world.

The less you use, the less of an environmental impact you have on the world.

Next comes reuse. This can include buying from thrift shops, resale shops, garage sales, consignment stores and more. Don’t forget Freecycle and handmedowns from family and friends.

It also includes thinking of ways to reuse things that you’re otherwise done with. Think of ways you can reuse paper for crafts for the kids. Think about how to reuse glass jars when you get them.

Recycling comes last. It’s a big help, but only recycle when you know you’re done with something. Find out what is collected for recycling in your community and make sure you recycle it. This won’t be easy in all areas, but do your best.

If you don’t have curbside recycling, find out if there is any place you can drop off recycling and figure out if you can store items until you have enough to make a trip worthwhile. It won’t always happen that way, so just try.

Suggested Websites

Earth 911
EPA Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

3. Have a sustainable, organic garden

How much you can garden depends on where you live. It’s harder to garden in an apartment than in a house with a big backyard… but not quite impossible.

Gardening combines well with having a compost pile. You get organic fertilizer for your garden while disposing of kitchen waste and yard waste in the best way possible.

Gardening combines well with having a compost pile.

The best part about gardening for families is getting the kids used to fresh fruits and vegetables. It often encourages picky eaters to try new foods. Garden fresh produce tastes much superior to what you can buy at the grocery store.

There are many ways to make the most of the garden space you have.  You can garden in containers if all you have is a patio, balcony or even just a window shelf. You can do square foot gardening and make the most of the yard space you commit to your garden.

Suggested Books

Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants, Updated and Expanded
All New Square Foot Gardening – Grow More In Less Space

4. Help your local environment.

Pay attention to what your local environment needs. Some of your living habits should be determined by the particular needs of your area.

Water use, for example. Many areas are either facing water shortages or are likely to do so within the next few years. If your state allows, look into installing water barrels on your property to catch rainfall. Look into alternatives to growing a lawn.

Many areas are facing water shortages

Many communities have groups that help care for the local environment. You may be able to help clean local parks, trails and/or beaches. You may be able to get involved in wildlife rescue – after the proper training, of course. You may be able to help campaign for stricter environmental regulations in your area. You may be able to talk to local businesses about how they can be more eco friendly.

5. Tell Others

Don’t limit your activities to your family. Tell friends about what they can do. Don’t be judgmental; do your best to be helpful. Many people will be surprised that being more eco friendly can be cheap, not expensive.