Eco-Friendly Lifestyle Upgrades to Try
No matter your age or stage in life, it’s not too late to start living green. Future generations depend on the choices we make today — but don’t let that grand statement overwhelm you. It’s possible to make a difference with small, simple changes. If you’re not sure where to start, try these eco-friendly lifestyle upgrades.
Plant a Garden
Use eco-friendly gardening techniques such as mulching and planting native species. Even if you’re less active, you can help water, till and harvest easy-to-reach plants. If an outdoor garden is too much, consider an indoor garden. Herb gardens and container vegetable and fruit gardens are easy to manage. Tomatoes, green onions, and strawberries grow well indoors. Indoor houseplants are another good choice. They’ll green up your indoor space, help lift your spirits, and can even help clear the air.
If you aren’t already recycling, check with your city or county on its recycling program. Many cities and towns offer this service and will even provide you with a recycling bin. If you live in a senior community without a recycling program, see what it would take to start one. Learn what you can and can’t recycle, and keep a recycling container next to your trash can.
Install Energy and Water-Saving Devices
If you’re in your own home, swap out old light bulbs for energy-efficient LED bulbs. Install low-flow showerheads, faucets, and even toilets to conserve water. Weatherproof or replace old windows and doors to save on heating and cooling costs. If you’re in a senior living community, ask if you can make some of these changes in your unit.
Shop With the Environment in Mind
Buy and use reusable water bottles, straws, grocery bags, and food storage bags. These habits will help keep single-use plastics out of the landfill. Drink your coffee out of reusable mugs rather than throw-away coffee cups. These cups have a non-recyclable plastic lining that is bad for the environment. When possible, buy organic produce and choose products with limited packaging.
Choose a Green Retirement Community
If you’re making the move to a retirement community, choose an eco-friendly one. Choose a building constructed with the environment in mind. This means the builder used local or regional materials, low-VOC carpet and paint, and energy-efficient climate control and lighting systems. Ask about recycling and composting programs and other environmentally friendly practices. Do they use nontoxic cleaners, Energy Star appliances, and low-maintenance landscaping techniques? Are there spaces where you can spend time outside? Do other community members share your mindset? If these practices aren’t in place, maybe you can help start some of them. Recruit like-minded individuals to join the cause.
Adopting an eco-friendly lifestyle is a good legacy to leave for your children and grandchildren. You may also influence others around you to change their habits. When it comes to helping the environment, even small changes can make a big difference.
Jim Blake is a lifestyle and environmental writer who enjoys making the most of small spaces. His balcony is covered with a garden he built with upcycled materials.