In more recent years, the topic of green living or eco-friendly has become popular, and for good reason! Now more than ever, we are being held accountable for the waste we produce. That can include the water and electricity we use, and harmful actions against the environment.
With so much information out there, so many suggestions for going “green”, where do you possibly start? The answer is: start small. Like any other lifestyle change, being more environmentally friendly requires commitment. You may not see instant results from your efforts. But by building environmentally friendly habits and being more green in daily life you are doing your part for our planet.
Reduce and Reuse
Things like glass jars and reusable water bottles are great for reducing the amount of single-use plastic waste. The same goes for things like dishtowels and washcloths. Reaching for them instead of paper towels is environmentally friendly, and have many purposes. You can be use them for cleaning, personal care, drying dishes, and whatever else you may need it for. When the cloths get dirty, all you have to do is throw them in the wash and use them again. Here are some more reusable items that can be helpful and sustainable:
- Beeswax wrappers for reusable, eco-friendly food storage
- Wool dryer balls – ditch single-use dryer sheets and fabric softener while increasing your laundry’s drying time 40%.
- Shampoo bars – outlasts multiple bottles of shampoo without the plastic.
- Reusable bamboo cotton rounds – perfect for replacing single-use makeup remover wipes.
If you’re not able to get your hands on a reusable version of an item, you can look for a biodegradable or compostable replacement. Here are some examples: bamboo toothbrushes or plant cellulose sponges.
We must give recycling its own spotlight for obvious reasons. If you do nothing else, recycle! Although many areas no longer provide curbside recycling services, you can typically still find facilities that will accept your recycling. Just be sure to check your local program’s requirements and guidelines.
Lakeshore by Simple Life is located in Oxford, Florida, and this area no longer provide recycling pick-up. However, DO still save your recycling! Sumter County Solid Waste provides a Citizen’s Drop-Off Area (CDA) 25 minutes from our community.
If you’re interested in other eco-friendly practices, we’ve got even more tips in store for you.
Be conscious of your purchases
Considering the amount of waste you’ll be creating before making a purchase is a good way to practice more eco-friendly thinking. Making it a personal goal to buy products with as little plastic as possible will not only make you more aware of your buying choices as a consumer, but will encourage you to gravitate towards brands who have a similar passion for keeping our planet healthy. You’ll also notice that the foods that produce the least amount of plastic are fresh produce. Don’t forget your reusable market bags!
Donating and purchasing items from thrift stores and consignment shops extends the life of the object and prevents it from going into a landfill, making this an important eco-friendly practice. Of course, you can’t completely avoid buying brand new things. But things like clothing, furniture, home décor, and general home goods can be great thrifted. You might even find some unique, one-of-a-kind items for your home or wardrobe this way! Some secondhand shopping sites to consider purchasing from are eBay, Depop, and thredUP. Donating is also a great way to help declutter your home.
Of all our suggestions thus far, this is the most intensive, but also the most fun! Ecobricks are plastic bricks composed of clean and dry single-use plastic. It starts with a clean and empty bottle, and after washing and drying your single-use plastic, you’ll put it inside the bottle and push it down with a stick or other solid object. You’ll do this for as long as it takes to completely fill the bottle, sequestering your plastic into a compact space.
This concept was created by the Global Ecobrick Alliance, an organization who determines and maintains the standards of Ecobricks for consumers to create them properly and use them effectively.
We highly recommend browsing through their website for more information and how to start making your own ecobricks. By securing the single-use plastic you use in single container, you’re preventing it from getting into the environment and releasing toxins and microplastics over time. The most interesting part about ecobricks is that they are used as actual building materials, turning your plastic waste into something practical. For other ways to create ecobricks, take a look at how to make ocean ecobricks and cigbricks. These are fantastic options for those living in our Lakeshore community since there is no pick-up recycling services in Sumter County.
Advocate for Change
The reality is this: there is only so much you can do as an individual to decrease your environmental impact. It’s a great start to be aware of your carbon footprint and aim to decrease it, but systematic change is non-negotiable for slowing and even reversing some damage done to the planet. Commercial transportation, manufacturing facilities, coal-fired power plants, and inefficient electric wiring systems for HVAC units in both residential and commercial spaces are massive contributors to greenhouse gas emissions and energy wasting. Doing your own research and advocating for change is one of the most important ways you can be more green.