Green is so much more than a color – it’s so many of the things that we love. The grass and trees. The untamed wild. Getting outside, and getting dirty. Sitting around the campfire with the boys, drinking a few cold ones. Am I speaking your language yet? If so, hear me out cause these “green” experiences may not be forever.
I want to keep being able to love that untamed wild, to be able to disappear into the forests for the weekend, to hike to crystal clear mountain lakes, to swim in unpolluted waters. I want the beauty of this world to remain as it is. And the only way to do this is to make green thinking a priority; and changing the way we think often comes through doing.
So here are 5 simple ways to be green in everyday life, that won’t disrupt your current lifestyle (and can actually save you money).
How to be Green & Think Green
1. Ride a Bike
Queen knew what they were saying with the lyrics “I want to ride my bicycle!”
Bikes don’t produce any carbon emissions because the engine is your legs. If you’re in the city, it’s often the fastest way to get around because you can scoot around all the traffic. And it keeps you in shape! Even 20 min of biking a day does wonders to your metabolism, helping to ward off that pesky beer gut that keeps trying to move in. It’ll build those power quads, which may just make you the star of that Sunday pick-up football.
Oh and you’ll save tons of money on gas. Seriously, there’s very little downside (unless you’re going uphill, that is).
2. Getting Started with Composting
Contrary to popular belief, composting is super easy. If you’re not already doing it, there’s no time (or food scraps) to waste! So, what do I need to do to start composting?
1) If you’re in a big city and don’t have a back yard or an outdoor space, there’s a good chance that there are companies in your city who will help you out. Most of these companies give you a small, lidded bin to place in your kitchen, where you toss your food scraps and organic waste. Someone will come pick it up from you each week and leave you with a fresh bin. Zero effort on your part – easy, like I said.
2) If you live outside of a city and do have some backyard space, you can make your own compost bin. It doesn’t take much, and the upkeep is minimal. Also if you’re into gardening, compost is great for your soil.
Composting is easy, and it’ll feel good to start seeing your trash bin fill up more slowly- meaning you’re buying less trash bags and making your trek out on trash day easier.
3. Ditch the Chemicals & Use Natural Products
There are chemicals in almost everything, and more often than not, those chemicals are not your friends. They’re in health products, in mass-produced commercial soaps, shampoos, beard oils, and deodorant, aftershave. Even so much of our our food is laced with chemicals and preservatives.
These harsh, unnatural chemicals can ravage your skin, maul your hair, roast your innards and weaken your immune system. These chemicals continue to do harm even after you’re done using them – they run down your sink or shower and eventually end up in rivers, streams and fields, causing environmental harm as well.
So take an extra second to read the ingredients labels on the products you’re putting in your body and on your body. Buy from companies you trust and make the easy switch to washing with natural soap, shampoo and conditioner, with ingredients that naturally nourish your skin. The environment (and your body) will thank you.
4. Plastic Bag Recycling
Every plastic bag takes anywhere from 10-1000 years to decompose in a landfill, and they can’t just get tossed into the bin with other recyclables.
Even if you bring your own grocery bag to the store, chances are that you’re still using some single use plastic bags. So many things are packed in plastic —loaves of bread, bags of veggies and just about anything sold in bulk or bought online. So it’s unrealistic to avoid plastic altogether without drastically changing your lifestyle.
The good news is that there’s an easy way to avoid contributing to the problem.
Save your plastic bags and separate from the rest of your recyclables. Then go here and type in your zip code to find a place nearby that accepts them (likely the supermarket you regularly shop at). All you have to do is drop them off in the designated bin and voila— recycled.
Because of the packable nature of plastic bags, I usually only have to do the drop off 3 times a year. It takes so little effort on your part but makes such a big difference. Well done, homie!
5. Invest in Some Drinkware
While we’re talking about single use plastic, let’s talk about plastic water bottles. I recently heard someone say, ‘bottled water companies don’t produce water—they produce plastic bottles.’ And a single-use plastic bottle takes roughly 450 years to decompose in a landfill – you can have 15 generations of descendants before nature breaks that bottle down. That’s insane.
So just buy yourself a nice water bottle instead and fill it up throughout the day. It’ll keep your water nice and cold, has a smaller chance of leaking, and having it on-hand will make sure you stay hydrated. It’s a win all around.
Same thing goes for your coffee. Most disposable coffee cups you get at coffee shops have a thin film of polyethylene (to prevent leakage), which makes them non-recyclables— even if you throw it in the nearest blue bin. On top of that, if you didn’t fully drain your cup-o-joe before tossing it in the recycling, if the excess liquid lands on other items it makes them non-recyclable too.
The best bet? Get a mug. An added bonus: a lot of coffee shops offer discounts when you bring your own mug. Save money and the environment at the same time.
Squatch Pick: Our Shave Mug
Our favorite for obvious reasons. Yes, it’s a called a shave mug – but it’s also the perfect mug for a big cup of coffee in the morning. Seriously, it’s all we use at Dr. Squatch HQ.
It IS Easy Being Green
And that’s it! Not too bad, eh? Start employing these techniques and I guarantee you’ll start to see your thinking shift, little by little. And that, my green little friends, is what it’s all about.
I’m challenging you to take these steps on as best you can. Yes, I know that doing these steps isolation won’t improve our planet. But my hope is that by encouraging you to do these steps, you’ll start thinking a little greener than you did before. That, then, may help you find bigger, better ways to be eco friendly and to encourage those around you to think a little greener, too.