Do you ever feel like you just don’t have time to be as sustainable as possible? Like, “Well, I really don’t have the time to make my own rain barrel or compost garden, so why even bother?” Or maybe you’re constantly on the run, and you feel like buying single-use plastic water bottles is just what fits your way of life the best.
We’re here to tell you that living an eco-friendly life doesn’t have to be some grand gesture where you throw out all your disposable products and declare a life of only reused or recycled products (although if that’s what you want to do, more power to you). We believe that small changes pile up over time to make a big difference, and you can take action to be sustainable with whatever time you have available.
To help you get started, we’ve broken down how you can be sustainable with just five, fifteen, thirty, or sixty minutes. Use these tips to get started, and you’ll be able to see just how easy and quick it is to make the sustainable choice.
When You Have Five Minutes:
- Buy yourself a BPA-free glass water bottle online. In fact, consider buying two- one for home, one for work, so you have no excuses for not having one on you. You already know that reusable water bottles are way better for the environment than single-use disposable water bottles, but glass is an even better choice than BPA-free plastic. Why? Glass can be recycled indefinitely without losing any quality or purity. Plus, making new glass from recycled glass is typically cheaper than using raw materials, and glass doesn’t have any harmful chemicals in it.
- Cut some time off your shower. We know, it’s especially tempting in the winter to luxuriate in a warm shower, but shortening your shower by even just one minute will save nearly a thousand gallons of water each year.
- Unplug. Did you know that plugged-in appliances use electricity even when they’re turned off? Go through your house and unplug things that aren’t currently in use. Better yet, grab a power strip from your local hardware store so you can just unplug one thing each time you leave the house.
When You Have Fifteen Minutes:
- Buy energy efficient light bulbs and change out your existing light bulbs. Compact fluorescent lights use about 25% of the energy of a regular light bulb while lasting nearly ten times longer.
- Line dry your clothes instead of tossing them in the dryer. Dryers use up tons of energy, so if you have the luxury of time, take a few minutes to hang up your clothes and let them dry over a day or two.
When You Have Thirty Minutes:
- Switch to paperless bills. Take thirty minutes to go through your various bills and accounts, and switch each one from a mailed statement to a paperless e-statement.
- Repair a leaky faucet. We hate to break it to you, but leaky faucets don’t magically repair overnight, and they can waste up to 140 gallons per week. Dial up YouTube and teach yourself a new skill (or, you know, call a handyman if you’re just not very handy).
When You Have Sixty Minutes:
- Cook smarter. Home-cooked meals save money and use fewer resources than dining out or eating pre-packaged food (plus, they taste a heck of a lot better). You might also invest in a pressure cooker. These little gadgets take up to 70% less time to fully cook a meal, and they take less energy too.
- Grow your own food and herbs indoors. Yes, it seems like an intimidating task, but a surprising number of fruits and vegetables can be grown indoors with just a little time and attention. If you really don’t think you have a green thumb, try growing your own herbs to start; they only require a little space and care, and you’ll impress all your friends with your well-seasoned meals and gifts of home-grown cilantro.
Being sustainable and environmentally-friendly in your everyday life doesn’t mean completely overhauling your daily routine; it just means making small changes here and there that fit into the time you have available. These changes eventually become habits, and before you know it, you’re having a more positive impact on the environment than you were this time last year. What will you do with your extra five minutes today?Back to Blog Home