5 Quick Ways to Start Saving the Planet
This one might seem a bit daunting to you. Keeping your smelly leftovers under the kitchen sink, letting them pile up then having to wash out the container of all the sludge and slime every few days when it starts to overflow. BUT I assure you it’s not as awful as it sounds! There are lots of benefits to composting such as reduction in household waste going to landfill (including the fuel and energy to get them there) and a healthier happier garden due to the compost balancing the PH levels, retaining water and increasing nutrients! What’s not to love? There are lots of easy guides and websites out there to tell you what to compost and what not to and methods can vary from the quite simple to the more complex. Basically, when we started, I had many of the concerns that I listed above but once I got into the routine, it was actually quite satisfying and the kids loved getting their hands dirty as the compost changed from waste to healthy dirt! There are also lots of products out there now that allow you to keep your bin from getting smelly such as biodegradable liners, fully compostable containers and bins with charcoal and other methods for absorbing smells. Just put one under your sink, try your best to remember to use it and I promise you will get a sense of well-being from seeing the compost pile grow into something you can use to make your garden blossom and thrive.
2. Junk the Junk
This refers to the mountains of junk mail that we each receive daily. I know that I fill at least quarter of my recycling bin with leaflets, brochures and catalogs on a weekly basis. Many of these I don’t even look at! I just google what I need to find. There are a couple of easy ways I’ve come across to at least take control of some of this mail quite quickly and effectively. A site to stop offers of credit and insurance is optoutprescreen.com and one to tackle the catalogs and brochures is dmachoice.org and catalogchoice.org. It may take a few minutes to sign up to each of these but I guarantee 10 minutes doing this instead of looking at cats doing funny things on YouTube will be a far better use of your time! I recouped this 10 minutes in just a few days by not having to sort through the mountain of mail each morning!
3. Bag It
I grew up in Ireland and when I was younger they brought in the ban on free plastic bags at the store. It was something we all took for granted and we were quite devastated to hear we would have to bring our own or worse still pay for bags (gasp!). The frugal ones got on board quickly and oddly enough everyone else was quick to follow. It became the norm rather quickly and now when I go somewhere where you get free bags a bit of the self-righteousness in me casts a condescending look at the lady in the store carrying out an unnncessarily large quantity of bags for her purchases. Yes, it does take a change in mindset but it’s SO incredibly easy to do. Buy a few good quality preferably eco-friendly reusable bags and bring them in with you. Every other step is the same as regular shopping. They won’t unpack themselves when you get home but they also won’t tear and spill your groceries all over the floor nor will they take up space in your trash can. As soon as you have unpacked the groceries, have the discipline to send your other half out to put them back in the car for the next day!
4. Stop the flow
Easy peasy, turn off the faucet when you don’t need it. Don’t leave it running when brushing your teeth. Put some water in the sink to wash your face instead of just letting it run. Only fill the kettle with as much water as you need, not to the max line each time. And if you do find you have water in a pot/pan/glass that you don’t need, don’t dump it down the sinkhole, put it on your plants, your garden or your newly created compost pile :)
6. Water Bottles
Water is big business and getting bigger. I’m sure if you’d told someone 50 years ago that we be spending billions buying water in bottles they would have laughed. But we do. And with that water comes lots of plastic and glass waste, a large proportion of which goes to landfill. Grab a reusable water bottle and keep it in your car or on your desk at work. I’ve made it part of my routine now as I leave the house- phone, keys, wallet and water. I’m never stuck for a drink, I feel healthier drinking all that water and it stops me stopping in the store for a sneaky bar of chocolate! Be sure to clean it regularly, a small bit of extra work but a lot of saving the planet and your pocket!