5 Ways To Help The World Without Making Drastic Changes To Your Daily Life

It's important to live every day like it's Earth Day.

On Earth Day April 22, my local Disney Store announced it would soon be eliminating all plastic bags. Everyone who made a purchase that day received a reusable tote, instead, in an effort to raise awareness about our compromised environment and the threats posed by climate change. Yet, while people are increasingly aware of our planet's fragile state, many fail to alter their daily habits, as they don't believe their sole efforts have the capacity to change the world. 

But what if everybody around the globe made small changes to their everyday routines? What if we all made strides to reduce our personal waste each day, and acted like every day was Earth Day? Well, perhaps the Earth could bounce back from the brink of destruction. 

Here are five simple ways to reduce waste without having to make drastic changes to your lifestyle.

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1. Eliminate unnecessary plastics and disposable products from your daily life.

From plastic utensils to paper plates, we use an obscene amount of disposable goods. (On average, one American wastes about one million pounds of materials each year.) But we can easily erase our share by trading our disposables for reusables. Investing in glass water bottles and cloth tote bags allows conscientious citizens to create maximum impact with minimal effort.

2. Cancel print subscriptions and opt-out of unsolicited junk mail.

Despite the fact that much correspondence has transitioned to digital, our mailboxes remain jammed full of unsolicited credit card offers and unwanted fashion magazines. To reduce the amount of wasted paper delivered to your doorstep each day, spend some time removing your name from mailing lists and canceling your magazine subscriptions. You'll ultimately save "green" as you work to save the greenery, which means it's a win-win for everyone.

3. Choose to repair, not replace, items that are banged up or broken around the house.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Yet, when things do break down around the house, our first instinct tells us to head to the store and buy something new. In fact, today's over-consumption economy encourages us to buy items we truly don't need because they're "bigger" or "better" than what we already have. Instead, it's best to invest in high-quality goods and repair each piece as necessary. If you do require a replacement, find a sustainable way to dispose of your old goods when the time comes.

4. Shop consignment stores for used goods to make use of what already exists.

Consignment stores offer countless benefits. While it's obvious that buying used items reduces textile waste and the pollution created during the production process, such stores buy and sell like-new items for well under retail price, thereby saving you money once again. Such benefits also trickle down to the rest of your community, as those who can't normally afford full-price goods now have the opportunity to give your unwanted items the second life they deserve.

5. Make your own household cleaners to reduce harsh chemicals and containers.

Have you ever skimmed the ingredients that constitute your favorite household cleaners? Oftentimes, it's as if those labels are written in an alien language. Thus, if you can't pronounce it, why are you using it? DIY cleaning recipes, however, enable you to use create household cleaners that do the trick while using ingredients you already have stashed away in your kitchen cabinets. Plus, making your own cleaners means using your own containers, thereby reducing even more plastic waste.

Cover image via Porapak Apichodilok / Pexels

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