Here are fifty ideas for 'doing your bit' to reduce your impact on the environment....
Your recycling bin is not for decoration - use it (for recyclables, not rubbish!)
Compost organic waste. (Even a small garden allows for this. If you live in an apartment... harder!)
Plant a garden, or pot plants. Do your bit for cleaner air.
Never use weedkiller.
Reduce or omit meat.
Cut out eggs or at the very least use free range and organic.
Buy as much organically produced food as you can afford. (Organic production is kinder to the environment, and your body)
Swap diary milk for a plant based alternative. There are so many options. Even if you like none of them choose the lease offensive and try it for a week. It will take this long to adjust. I hated soy milk coffee for 7 days running. Next three days were bearable and by day 10 I was hooked. No going back!!
Buy a vegan cookbook and go mad in the kitchen. Vegan food can be delicious and hearty and healthy and inspiring and challenging... and so much more besides.
Check the food in your fridge regularly and use the dodgiest looking stuff first. The amount of food wasted in most households is appalling. No need for it.
Buy (or make your own) 'earth friendly' cleaning products
Take re-usable shopping bags with you to the supermarket. Keep some in the car as back up.
Purchase reusable produce bags also for loose fruit and veg. (I have some that look like delicate laundry bags - washable. Alternatively reuse other plastic bags that inevitable accumulate)
Off to the mall? Take a reusable shopping bag or two with you.
Keep a light, fold-up shopping bag in your handbag/manbag for incidental daily shopping.
Buy loose fruit and veg over packaged items
Does that banana really need to be put in a produce bag then put in a plastic carry bag? Really? (Yes I have seen this. Catch a grip - bananas come wrapped!)
Cans and glass jars are relatively cost-effective and energy efficient to recycle. Plastic not so much - so reduce the amount purchased. Plastic containers and bottles generally go in the recycling bin - some supermarkets recycle plastic bags - including pasta bags, bread bags, biscuit wrapper etc.
Don't purchase individually packed meals for one. Pot noodles? You gotta be kidding. Apart from being empty calories the packaging is outrageous for one meal. If quick and easy is the goal make noodles at home - enough for a few meals. Eat one right away and put the rest in containers. Refrigerate or freeze and use as required. You can easily make a noodle dish in 10 or 15 minutes. Divide this over several meals and bang - there are your two minute noodles with added nutrition and minus the wasteful packaging.
Buy recycled kitchen roll
Buy recycled toilet roll
Buy recycled copy paper for your printer. (And use mis-prints and old school notices etc as note paper)
Be a label basher. Ever read food labels? You really should. If there are 300 ingredients in the muffins you buy for the kids they probably are not the most nutritional choice. Scour labels for something better or trump this by making your own. Freeze them and add one to their lunchbox daily - it will have defrosted perfectly by lunchtime.
Buy ice-creams (or sorbet for the vegans) from your local gelataria in a cone. You are supporting a local business and reducing the waste of the waxed-paper (non-recyclable) cup. (And of plastic wrapped store bought ice-creams)
Get the kids the kind of lunch-box that negate the need for clingfilm. Sandwiches, fruit and oat-bars, unpackaged, straight into their own little compartments! No waste!
In fact - don't even buy clingfilm. Not needed. Never bought it in my life. Just ensure you have containers with lids for leftovers - or place a plate on a bowl full of leftovers and refrigerate. I have found Tupperware style containers at the op-shop - even better!
If you have kids, keep a dozen facecloths in the kitchen for wipes, spills and grubby hands. Packaged wet wipes needn't be used in the home.
Keep a damp facecloth in a ziplock bag or small closable container for face wiping when out and about. Our parents 'survived' without packaged wet wipes!
Social animal? No need to buy a wheelbarrow full of disposable plates and cutlery every time you host an event. Use everything you have - dig out the camping gear and the picnic basket. If you are still short ask some guests to bring some of theirs. Ten minutes will hand-wash a heap of plates and forks. Seriously not hard. Grab a glass of wine and rope in some guests.
Learn to enjoy subtle lighting. Do you really need 6 overhead lights on to watch the telly? One little side lamp is much cosier and perfectly adequate.
Replace all bulbs for eco low-wattage bulbs. Replace as they blow to reduce unnecessary waste.
Eat a candle lit dinner.
Bit nippy? First a jumper. Still nippy, low heating. Whamming the heat up to 24C should not be the first action!
Get some groovy blankets for winter nights, reach for them before turning the heating up.
Remember to draw the curtains. Most household heat is lost through the windows.
Allow kids to spend their pocket money at the local charity store. This reduces demand for cheap plastic rubbish, gives to charity and recycles!
Support your local independent shops
Buy books or book vouchers as gifts for kids parties (trust me they don't need a thirteenth Barbie)
Family day out? Swap a trip to the mall for a day outdoors. Experiences not possessions!
Family day out? Pack everyone a reusable bottle of water. No need for buying bottled water. Wasteful and expensive.
Heading out? Do you need the car? Would walking, cycling or taking the bus work this time?
Keep a KeepCup in your handbag/manbag for a coffee on the run. If you forgot it, take 10 minutes to sit and enjoy your coffee in in the cafe (in ceramic!)
Do you really need to take that sushi away? Ask for 'eat in on a plate' to reduce wasteful packaging.
Addicted to fashion shopping? I know, I know, all those cute items that are just going to 'make' your wardrobe. Those who use shopping as a form of entertainment, (and I get that it is entertaining) tend to be those who have a, 80/20 wardrobe - wearing 20 percent of the clothing 80 per cent of the time. Shift your addiction to building a capsule wardrobe. Have a jolly good sift through everything. Keep only what you love and give the rest to friends and or charity. Sell the best of it on ebay. Use ebay profits to invest in the pieces you are missing. Look for these first at op shops. Start a Pinterest board of inspiring ways to use your capsule wardrobe. Ensure you have the 'classics' as a foundation (white shirt, perfect jeans, Little back dress etc). These items you will use time and time again - pad out from there. Every item should go with several others. This is all very involved and time consuming. But that is the idea! Make USING your wardrobe an obsession rather than constantly buying stuff you will never even wear!
Don't throw out unwanted clothing and homewares - give them to local charity stores (unless they really are at the end of their life)
Mend! Every six months tend to that pile of clothing with missing buttons and a half loose hem. I know this is something that tends to be put off - but it is most satisfying when you do finally get to it! It takes a whole lot of resources (and human labor) to produce even cheap stuff. Allow it to last as long as possible - with just a little care.
At the end of each day asses your outer wear. Does it need to be washed? Items like jeans will get several wears before needing to be washed. Spot clean if it will do.
Don't laugh but - darn you socks. I have had sock get holes after a few wears. Get out that needle and thread and darn your heart out!
Keen on adding a pet to the family? Visit the animal shelter and home the homeless.
Tell your kids they are awesome. Not beautiful or clever or anything else conditional. Just awesome for being them. (Yeah ok I tell my kids they are beautiful and clever all the time, but I also tell them they're cool groovy and awesome, just coz they are) (Kids who know they are awesome will go out in the world and do awesome things... that's my thinking!)