There are so many easy eco-friendly changes you can make in your life. If you haven’t started with the basics, and are feeling like a complete newbie to the eco-warrior lifestyle this is where you should start. These are the things that have been incorporated into everyday life to make the world a better place.
My fuck, just recycle. It’s easy. Grab your blue bin. Throw your plastics and glass and cardboards and paper in and go about your damn day. I have to take my recyclables to the dump where they have a recycling facility. It’s annoying and I still do it. If you live inside the city and live in a house, chances are you’re going to have a recycling program. It’s even easier. You just take your bin out and it magically gets taken away. Cool, huh?
Apartment dwellers: does your apartment complex live in the early ’90s and not have a recycling program? Get your neighbours together, talk to the property manager or caretaker and get that shit going.
You can also just start your own. My old room-mate and I used to just put our own recycling bin out at the curb. This was before those fancy-ass garbage collectors required fancy-ass garbage and recycling bins. Hilariously enough, the stuffy condo complex next door complained that our blue bin was sitting on their property in the back lane. You know, for the less than 24-hours it takes for it to get picked up, having a small-ish blue bin sitting near a condo will get some old people worked right up. Still, we went on and continued recycling, moving our bin a smidge to the right.
Now, go out there and recycle.
Ah, molding and broken down organics. That shit is gold to a gardener. So, if you are a gardener, and have the room, compost everything you can. I leave out the meats and dairy products because, coyotes. But, really, your regular compost pile will not get hot enough to break down meats and dairy products properly.
But, there are plenty of cool compost companies that do it all for you and have facilities that break down all that animal product goodness. That means it’s JUST LIKE RECYCLING. Except you sign up and then put the apples and the meats and the cheeses and the onions in your bin, then you set it where the company indicates on the day they indicate, and then they TAKE IT AWAY. How fun!
How to Compost
Composting is so much easier than it looks. Things like worm-farming and bin-composting to seeing bowls of table scraps in the freezer can turn you right off of starting to compost. Don’t worry, it’s easier than it sounds.
First off, decide on how you’re going to compost.
Are you going to keep a bin under the sink and have a company pick it up for you? This option is great for apartment dwellers and those who don’t have a huge yard or just don’t want to deal with composting or perhaps you live in Toronto and already have 5 raccoon friends and your social calendar is full up. Bonus: the composting company SHOULD be able to take meat and dairy scraps. You don’t want to be adding that to your own at-home compost pile because 1. It doesn’t get hot enough to break down and 2. You’ll attract all kinds of animals. You’re already going to be attracting tons of critters with your compost pile, no need to add any more to your yard.
Will you buy a composter bin that is kept outside and easy to use with fancy handles and turning and all kinds of gizmos?
Will you just keep a heap and turn it every so often, letting nature get really nitty gritty?
Pick the option that works for you. Living a more eco-friendly lifestyle doesn’t have to have you fighting your normal lifestyle; it should be complementing it. Maybe you like to compost in the summer, but loathe the idea of going outside with your table scraps in the winter. Cool. That means you could easily have a compost company pick up your scraps all year, saving some for your garden in the warmer months.
If you’re choosing your at-home composting route, then get your greens and browns together.
your greens: grass; vegetables; fruits; coffee grounds; egg shells; tea bags and leaves; plants that aren’t dry
your browns: leaves; cardboard; newspapers; twigs and branches (small); dryer lint; straw or hay; sawdust; paper napkins; compostable plates and cutlery and the like.
DO NOT put weeds in your compost. You’ll just get more weeds.
Start your compost pile with browns on the bottom, then some greens, then some more browns, then a few more greens, then just for fun, add some browns, again. You get it? Brown, green, brown green, then add whatever you end up with to get your compost on.
Compost needs water. Like everything in the world. So, if your pile is just hanging out for all to see, nature will do its thing and the rain will fall onto your lovely pile of rotting scraps.
Using a bin? Tea bags that are still wet, the last bits of coffee, things that get soggy real quick (what’s up cucumbers), those things will add water to your compost.
Keep it turning. Turn your compost, weekly or bi-weekly, with a pitchfork or by spinning your bin. (don’t worry, this isn’t some kind of party trick, you’ll have a handle for a compost tumbler).
When your compost doesn’t look like a heap of garbage, but looks like some Rich Earthy Goddess, mix it into your garden and watch all your plants grow, happily getting their nourishment!
Here’s a little secret: if you don’t do all of the above and you just leave it to rot, well, it’ll do that. It’ll take longer, but it’ll eventually break down. Keeping your compost in tip-top shape is great if you want to use it every year and get soft, wonderful organic turned into soil, but if you just leave an eggshell to decompose, well, it’s going to be decompose.
Winter Composting Guide Here
LED’s are your Friend
And, probably by the time I post this, some other wicked cool light bulb will be made that is even more environmentally friendly than an LED. That’s fine. Switch over when you can. Use LED’s everywhere in your home and watch your energy bill shrink and the Earth breathe a sigh of relief.
Turn off the Fucking Lights
Yeah, my husband would say this is pointed at me, but we all slip up a time or two. This one is simple: turn off the lights when you aren’t in the room. Same goes for the TV. I always found it frustratingly weird when I’d go to someone’s house and the TV is on. Except we’re not in the room and haven’t been in the room for a while. And, we weren’t even watching TV to begin with. Why? WHY IS IT ON! I don’t want to listen to some shitty show you left on because you were legitimately just too damn lazy to turn the TV off. It’s one button. Click it.
Acclimate your Damn Body
It’s 43 degrees (celcius) out. That means it shouldn’t be 15 degrees in the house. You shouldn’t have to put sweatpants on in the summer because your house is too cold. Bring that temperature up. Open the windows at night to let in the cool air and then shut ‘em up tight during the day to keep that heat out.
Same goes for the winter. Do you really need it to be 24 degrees in your house when it’s -35? A lot of you are probably going ‘um, yes’. But, you shouldn’t be. Because running your furnace all day and night is horrific for the environment. Bring it down a few degrees. 19-21 for the blustery months will keep you comfortable. The only time you won’t be fully comfortably is if you’re bare-ass naked for extended periods of time. If you are…well, you’re probably getting a little cardio in, anyways.
If you aren’t, why are you walking around naked in winter? Cold? Add a damn sweater or blanket. Maybe start a work-out. Unless you have a fresh baby or a sick person in your home, there is really no need to have your temperature so warm.
If you’re using a toilet that uses a full bowl of water, I’d love to ask you if the Spice Girls have gotten together yet. Because clearly you’re not living in the here and now. Stop using so much water and install the following:
Low-flow shower head
More energy efficient, and thus less water using, dishwasher and washer.
Yes, these things aren’t cheap and don’t get replaced very easily. But, when the time comes (and if your toilet is purple, the time has come) get the low-flow.
Plastic bags are the devil. We all know that. Anyone who has had to carry groceries more than a block knows that. They’re standing there knee-deep in canned goods with their berries falling around them like beautiful, flat, plump colourful snowflakes, cursing the person who made flimsy plastic bags. Plastic bags are garbage and they belong in the past. Grab your reusable bag and then buy the groceries. Or the clothes. Or the electronics…unless that said electronic is a 55 inch TV because, that bag is gonna be HEAVY. Just grab the bag, okay?
Reusable Produce Bags
Look at you, happily shopping at a local store, grabbing your organic produce and locally grown everything. You’re feeling pretty good with that reusable bag in your arms, aren’t you? Except you just threw your apples into a plastic bag. Why! Either don’t use the bag at all, or if you like hygiene (ew, conveyor belts), grab some reusable produce bags. They’re cheap, come in all kinds of sizes, and work for other things! Like washing your delicates.
Stop Buying Everything
This is something I will constantly struggle with. I mean, have you even gone to anthropologie? Shopping and getting shiny new things is just so much fun, but I bet you didn’t really need that *insert clothing/makeup/wasteful item here*. Curb your spending, make your dad proud, save some money and save the world.
You’ve completed the first step in becoming an eco-warrior. You’re probably finding new things to change in your life to make it even more environmentally friendly and most likely researching even more fun things to do, and pissing off your friends and family with your keynote speeches around the dinner-table or coffee shop. Give yourself a pat on your back (not for the pissing off your friends and family though. Stop being annoying and educate subtly and slowly. Maybe direct them over here *wink face*) for getting this far. There’s lots more to do! And, lots of the series left. Keep reading. Please?