Couple taking out the recycling

Source: Artiga Photo / Getty

Today is World Environment Day (June 5). While a simple #WorldEnvironmentDay post may make it seem like you’re woke on a whole other level, actions really speak louder than hashtags.

Creating long-lasting change is a marathon and requires folks making permanent modifications to the way they move in the world. Big picture, most Americans are taught to indulge in comfort with little regard to how it impacts Mother Nature. Re-thinking the way you interact with your surroundings is a win/win, for you and your future loved ones. Take action today with these tips.

1 No Plastic With Takeout

The food will be eaten at your house…where you presumably have cutlery. So why the plastic utensils? They’re an absolute waste—and likely piled up in some random drawer, then trashed. Take two seconds when you’re ordering food and simply say “no plastic utensils.”

2 Buy a BPA-Free Water Bottle

If you’re out and get thirsty it’s cool to buy water, but if you’re at home or the office, plastic bottles are killing your pockets and environment. Why spend $2-$5 every day on water when you can fill up your own bottle at the office filter or tap? If you really prefer a specific brand, buy it by the gallon. Yes, you’ll have to wash your bottle periodically but it’s a good excuse to step away from your desk or off the couch.

3 Break Up With Plastic Bags

If you’re living in the suburbs and do big grocery shopping keep a cloth bag(s) in the trunk of your car to avoid using plastic ones. City dwellers, who typically get fewer times at a time, should consider carrying one or two cloth bags in their backpacks or purses when they plan to shop. Also, forgo a bag altogether if you’re picking up items that you can carry by hand or stuff into the bag you already have.

4 Walk More

Think of all of the small ways you can use less gas. If you’re going a few blocks, walk. Stop circling parking lots to find a spot right near the entrance. Combine errands, park somewhere central and foot it to each location.  It’s good for the environment and your physical health. Every step you take literally improves the way you look and feel.

5 Turn Things Off

Leaving a room? Turn off the light. Taking a shower? Don’t turn the water on until you’re ready to get in. Close the fridge door. Buy energy efficient products. All of these small choices compound for bigger, positive results. They will also lower your bills.

6 Eat in Season

Shopping at local farmers’ markets and stores with nearby suppliers has two big benefits. It allows your body to gain the proper nutrients it should have cyclically. The second is that it reduces the number of resources spent on processing and shipping items. (How do you know what’s in season? Seasonal fruits and veggies are cheaper because they are plentiful).

7 Don’t Litter

Folks were shocked to learn a dead whale has almost 20 pounds of plastic in its stomach. Unfortunately, much of the trash people thoughtlessly toss ends up being consumed by animals, harming them and our environment. From wrappers to bottles, if you drop something pick it up.

8 Make Recycling a Thing

Yes, recycling requires some effort. But once you begin separating your trash it will become second nature. Additionally, even if you make some mistakes it’s better to get 70% of your trash right than 100% of it wrong.

9 Learn About Composting Options

Take your recycling to the next level by incorporating composting, a practice of compiling organic trash so it can be redistributed back into the soil. You don’t need a backyard to participate in composting— many cities have places to drop off your trash. A quick Internet search will let you know about your local options.

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