It can be hard to browse the news these days without seeing a shocking headline about the current state of our environment. For example, the massive wildfires fires in the Amazon rainforest and Australia, record breaking hurricanes in the Atlantic, trash waves miles long, the list goes on. Going into a new year I wanted to establish some new habits that will help reduce my plastic use and carbon footprint as well as improve my overall lifestyle. Being the founder of a startup company and freelancer, I am aware of how difficult it can be to fit new things into your schedule and lifestyle. As well as how easy it can be to order a Dragonfruit & Mango Refresher from Starbucks which is served in a nice big plastic cup. But in an effort to do better I decided to change a few small things in my lifestyle and I wanted to share them with you in hopes of inspiring you to do the same. We all have different lifestyles, schedules and responsibilities but most of the tips that I list in this article are simply and hardly take time. If we all pitch in each day, we can make a big difference. I love hearing your suggestions and learning new ways to improve. Let me hear what you have to say by tweeting me. โœŒ๏ธ

1. Donโ€™t use plastic lids on cups

Finding ways to reduce your plastic use in 2020, even if small, can really add up and make a long-term impact on the health of our planet. I will admit, it can be difficult to avoid getting plastic cups when you are on the go…but an easy way to reduce the amount you use is to skip the plastic lid and straw. If you order from the drive-thru, ask the barista or attendant to exclude the lid. A long term and more spill proof solution is to buy a travel mug and reusable straw that you can bring with you each day. I have to give credit to my friend Aneta for giving me the idea to skip the plastic lids. If you enjoy healthy lifestyle content, especially on the topics of gut health, you should check our her Instagram and if you like it, give her a follow.

2. Try Buying Less Meat This Year

Even if you donโ€™t plan to remove meat from your diet, do your best to buy less of it this year. If you are into burgers, consider trying a meatless option such as a Beyond Burger which is surprising similar to a beef burger. You can even buy Vegan Nashville Hot Chicken if you are looking for something spicy. I tried the Nashville Hot tenders and they are really good chopped up as a sandwich with vegan smoked gouda cheese. When you do buy meat, try to find a local grass feed source that has sustainable farming practices. You can simply Google your nearest butcher shop and ask then about their selection and the source of their meats. If you are wondering how eating less meat will have a positive affect on our ecosystem, it is worth doing further research into. In brief, the rise in demand for meat has also increased the demand for more land to be used for raising cattle. Which leads to deforestation and depletion of the nutrients in the soil as well as adding more methane to the environment which is produced by the cows.

3. Plant some herbs or house plants

This is a good one because you get several perks to having some plants around your house. If you get edible plants, like some herbs, you can use them in your favorite recipes or as aromatics but they also help the environment by reducing carbon dioxide and reducing heat by absorbing light. Or maybe pick up some Orchids or various other plants to decorate your home with. You will get a nice splash of nature in your living space as well as helping purify the air! I am currently growing some cilantro and chives in a small Earthbox on my porch. My sweet basil died but I will be getting some new ones along with a few Thai basil plants. My cilantro is not picture ready so enjoy this stock photo of some basil. ๐ŸŒฑ

4. Use bamboo biodegradable toothbrushes

Time to upgrade your toothbrush. About every 3 months we replace our toothbrushes for a fresh one (you should if you donโ€™t), so why not throw away one that will biodegrade within weeks instead of sitting in a landfill for the next 100 years. I actually need to take my own advice on this one and go ahead and purchase a quality biodegradable toothbrush. Hence the next stock photo for your visual enjoyment. These look very basic…the one I linked above has a built in tongue cleaner. ๐Ÿ‘Œ

5. Use a Car Wash vs Washing At Home

Honestly I didn’t know this until this week but thanks to Google… here we are. Car washes are designed to reduce costs (water) and maximize profits, so they are equipped to wash your vehicle with the optimal amount of water. ๐Ÿ‘Œ

6. Use Reef and Ocean Safe Sunblock

Before you put sunscreen on next time, be sure to read the active ingredient list first. You want to avoid using sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate, which have both been linked to coral bleaching (a highly-threatening illness), death and damaged DNA of coral larvae. Both ingredients are used in many popular brands (not surprising ๐Ÿ™„) but there is a growing number of brands that produce a safer version. A couple of those brands are Stream2Sea and Coola but there are many other great options as well.

7. Buy From Local Businesses

This one feels like an obvious one but it’s still really important. Shopping at your local shops and businesses is important for many reason but for the sake of this blog, we will focus on the reduction of pollution it can cause. By simply buying locally, you can avoid the need to have something shipped which in return reduces greenhouse gas emissions and the hours of staring out the window as you wait for the delivery truck. My photo example is not the best because I would never have a cup of tea shipped to my house but I did support a local business in this pic instead of Starbucks.

a man holding a cup of strawberry mango tea.
I bought this Strawberry Mango tea from a local business called Cafe in the Park.

8. Shop at a Farmers Market

This one can combo as a fun morning event to do with a loved one (or yourself) and get some fresh vegetables for the week that are usually sourced from local farms. Stroll through your local farmers market or flea market and browse the selection of fresh vegetables, spices, and other offerings. You can usually get everything you need veggie wise and save the rest of your list for the grocery store.

9. Choose to Buy Glass Bottles

Whenever you have the option to buy a glass bottle instead of a can or plastic, you should do it. Especially if the bottle is a nice as the one that I am holding in the photo below. I often will reuse my bottle for a week or so as a water bottle. Another good point is that glass is made from dirt….so it can be recycled and broken down much easier and faster than plastic or aluminum.

man holding a glass bottle of Kombucha221bc grapefruit bee pollen kombucha. A city background on a clear blue sky afternoon.
๐Ÿ“ธ @BixbyFilms – Bottle of Kombucha22bc

10. Skip the Paper Receipt

After your next purchase when you are given the option for either an email or text copy of your receipt or a paper copy…choose the either of the digital forms. Save some trees and the clutter of having paper receipts in your house and/or car.

closeup of a receipt folded into the shape of a paper airplane sitting in the grass.

I hope this blog was helpful and motivates you to make some changse in your daily routine to help improve the quality of your life and the environment! Now, think of someone that you want to inspire to take this challenge with you and send them this blog! Also, give me a follow on Instagram and hold me accountable by watching my stories! ๐Ÿ˜†

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