How to Reduce Your Environmental Footprint

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Everybody wants to live on a beautiful and healthy planet – it’s just a question of how much we’re willing to do to get one. And even those of us who do want to help out the Earth can get confused by our options. Sure, we’re recycling, but does that matter if we keep driving that pickup truck? The truth is that every little bit helps, so don’t get too caught up in a guilt complex. Instead, start by focusing on a few simple changes and expand from there. Here are a few simple tips to get you started.

Recycle, of course!

These days, recycling is probably the single easiest way to start caring for our planet. In most areas, it’s mandatory! Just make sure you’re sorting your trash and recycling according to the rules of your area and your waste collection company.

Most people recycle at home, but pay attention to your behavior in other places. When you eat at a fast food restaurant, are you sorting your trash? When you clean your car out after road trips – or in the middle of them, at rest stops – are you taking the extra few moments to put the soda cans and bottles in the right receptacles? Don’t just recycle when it’s easy or convenient – make recycling a lifestyle choice that goes wherever you do.

And while you’re at it, consider re-using things. Hand down old clothes or donate them, and think twice about throwing out anything that could be used for something else. And, as we’ll see later, being smart about your shopping could mean that you have less to throw out to begin with.

Drive smart

Cars aren’t great for the environment. But, except for those of us in big cities, cars are necessary evil for environmentally conscious people. You may not be able to live without one, but you can get a hybrid or fuel-efficient vehicle. Do your research and then head to the car dealership to see what’s available. Tell your salesperson that fuel economy is important to you, and don’t compromise.

You don’t necessarily have to buy a brand new car to get better fuel economy – that’s not something that everyone can afford, anyway! But you can still make an impact by taking steps to make your vehicle as clean as possible. Drivers with diesel vehicles can invest in plug-in diesel chip tuning boxes for better fuel economy, and all drivers can choose to get regular engine tune-ups and other car care essentials that will keep your car from becoming an inefficient junker. Drive smart – tailgating and quick acceleration and braking are wasteful, while smooth highway driving at a speed close to the highway speed limit is more efficient.

Veg out

Not eating animals has a certain obvious appeal to those of us who love the planet. But the benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle aren’t just about sparing animals – eating meat has a very clear and measurable effect on our planet as a whole. Livestock farming generates a lot of methane, which contributes to global warming. Choosing to go vegetarian is a great way to protect our earth.

Not ready to go all the way? Start by opting for more humane options. Look for labels and certifications proving that the animals were treated as well as possible. Consider becoming a pescatarian, too – red meat is the roughest on our earth, so eating nothing but delicious seafood is actually a fairly green choice.

Buy it for life

You may drive a hybrid car and say no to red meat, but you may still be giving the Earth a rough time if you’re throwing out your socks every few months. Your shopping habits can affect our planet, because cheap products are destined to hit landfills sooner than high-quality ones. Try to buy products for life whenever possible!

Buying for life isn’t cheap, of course, because you pay for quality. But buying cheap stuff over and over does add up, and smart consumers can use coupons and sales to strike at the right time and get high-quality products for less.

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