The small changes I’ve made to do my part.
While I admire the people who go out of their way to reduce their carbon footprint, it’s something I struggle with. And sometimes, I feel like I’m not doing enough if I can’t go live in a cabin in the woods and live off the grid.
But there are things you can do, even if you’re living the city life. These are things that you don’t even have to think about, they’re so easy. So while it’s still sometimes difficult to keep the environment in mind in your daily life, I would give these items a shot.
Don’t get the receipt at the gas station
I stopped getting my receipt at the gas station once I realized I can track everything in one place with a Google Sheet or an app. I don’t know even know why I was getting one in the first place to be honest. I don’t have a job where I can expense my gas and I don’t store the receipts in a special place in my house. I generally leave them in my wallet until it’s too full and throw them all away anyway. It was something I was just collecting without putting any thought into it.
It may seem like a small change but it adds up. If everyone stopped getting their receipts, it’d be a lot less paper wasted. While most grocery stores print out your receipt whether you want it or not, this is a chance to reduce the amount of paper you interact with.
I try not to get a receipt anywhere I go but this is the only time I’ve been able to always refuse the receipt before it even prints.
Buy items like flour or rice in reusable packaging in the bulk section
If you grocery store allows you to have your own reusable bags for bulk items like rice, quinoa, and flour, that’s a great way to reduce. You won’t have any paper or plastic packaging to get rid of and when you get home, you can always put it in cute containers. This is something I’ve just started getting into so I don’t have adorable containers for everything but I’m getting there.
It seems like it’s every single time I buy a bag of flour that as I keep using it, the paper packaging it comes in starts to break down from me handling it. Then, I’m struggling to keep it closed and eventually I move it to a sealed container.
Just skip the middleman of paper packaging and buy it in bulk. It’s a win-win situation because you’re reducing the packaging you’re using and you’re controlling how much of that item you’re getting instead of being limited by your choices. Sometimes I don’t want 2 pounds of almond flour.
If you’re interested in where you can buy bulk items with your own packaging, litterless.com has a handy guide on where you can do that.
Take a shorter shower
One of the easiest ways to reduce your impact is to take a shorter shower. This one is an obvious decision and one that’s probably on most people’s lists of ways to reduce their carbon footprint but I still wanted to mention it.
We use a lot of water per day on things we don’t even think about so being able to reduce there is helpful. I’m someone that loves a hot shower and it’s where I spend a lot of time decompressing after a hard day of work or weight lifting but I’ve been incrementally spending less time in the shower.
I turned it into a game to see how much time I can shave off while still being able to do everything like shave my legs, wash and condition my hair, etc. Writing has taken place of the decompression that I used to do in the shower and I’ve been thinking of doing yoga as well.
Have a meatless Monday
I recently did a month of eating no meat besides fish for a work competition. Having a diet that consisted only of meat was a pretty hard transition to not have bacon or steaks anymore. But I made it the whole month and even learned a lot more about myself including the vegetables that I like.
With this one, meatless Monday is part of our culture in America at least and it’s a good one. Most people won’t stop eating meat because it’s so large of a change in their diets but if you’re only exploring it on one day, that’s still one less day of eating meat.
You can always start small on this one and just have one meal per week be meat free and then move on to a whole day or even multiple days if you like it.
But as much as we are omnivorous, we can give the environment a break by eating less of the animals that are generally mistreated and whose living arrangements can cause issues to our earth.
Get reusable bags for produce
This last one is like the bulk item purchasing but I wanted it to be its own point because of the type of bag that’s used for produce. It’s a flimsy plastic bag that easily tears so sometimes you have to use more than one bag to really hold the produce.
I noticed that when I put produce in bags like these, I would have them everywhere in my house and you can’t reuse them for anything because of how fragile they are. Produce also would go bad as I wouldn’t notice some fruits and vegetables because they were in a sea of plastic bags in my fridge.
I got drawstring reusable bags from Amazon and now I use them whenever I buy any produce. When I get home, I take them out of the bags and organize them in either my fridge or produce basket on the island counter. Because of this, produce is always at the front of my mind and I use a lot more vegetables in my cooking.
It doesn’t have to be a big change for you to do your part in keeping our earth going for our future generations. Even if you feel like you’re not doing enough, anything helps and it’s better than if you weren’t doing anything.
I’ve noticed I have significantly less waste now that I’ve been doing things this way and the more I learn, the more I can start to add additional habits into my lifestyle. I wanted to share the small changes I made in my life because when I first started to read into everything, it was hard to know where to even start.