The climate crisis can be daunting to think about. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and give up on trying to save the planet altogether. However, while public policies and corporate actions play a large role in reducing humanity’s impact on Earth, individual actions matter too. The following are four lifestyle changes I’ve personally made to reduce my environmental impact.
- Invest in reusable utensils
Reusable utensils are an easy switch for their plastic counterparts. Neither plastic straws nor plastic utensils can be recycled, so switching to reusable reduces waste. These days, reusable utensils and straws come in different materials, sizes, and shapes to fit your needs. For example, I love drinking boba, so I have large boba straws as well as normal-sized straws. Most utensil or straw sets come with a convenient carrying pouch. I keep one set in my backpack and one set in my car so that I am always prepared.
- Switch to bar shampoo
Bar shampoo might sound strange, but it can be really effective! Regular shampoo may contain lots of water and harmful chemicals, and shampoo bottles can be difficult to recycle. Bar shampoo is made from concentrated natural materials and reduces your plastic consumption. It comes in many different formulas, so you can find the perfect bar for your hair type. Also, since bar shampoo is solid, you can bring it on an airplane, no problem!
- Understand your local recycling
Recycling can get confusing. My advice is to look up your local government’s policies on recycling; for example, find out what number of plastics they accept and if food waste is accepted in the green bin. Soft plastics like Amazon envelopes should be dropped off at a designated bin at the grocery store. Even better than recycling is reducing. Choose products that use less packaging and carry around your own bags. Finally, remember that it’s okay not to be perfect. It’s great that you’re making an effort.
- Eat less meat
I chose to go vegan in 2020 due to the environmental impact of the livestock industry, but I definitely understand that it’s not a lifestyle change everyone can make. However, everyone can choose to eat less meat. Try skipping meat one day per week, then two, and see how it feels. There are plenty of innovative and delicious meat alternatives out there, as well as tried-and-true plant-based protein sources such as tofu and beans. Have fun trying out new recipes while helping the planet.