Cara MacDonald,

15 simple ways to help the environment

By Cara MacDonald, | Posted - Jan 2nd, 2019 @ 8:04pm

SALT LAKE CITY — There’s a lot that can be done to help the environment, but oftentimes lowering environmental impact may seem like both a daunting and expensive task.

Here are some easy, low-cost ways to reduce pollution and detriment to nature.

Plant bee-friendly flowers

Planting a pollinator-friendly garden or planters will help attract bees and save these endangered insects. Bees are particularly attracted to flowers that are purple, yellow, blue, white and yellow like buttercups, marigolds, daisies and clovers. Encouraging these little pollinators to stick around will also help ensure the health of surrounding ecosystems.

Shop at thrift stores

Purchasing gently used items and donating your unused items is a great way to eliminate some waste and prevent clogging up landfills. You will not only save money, but you will reduce your impact on fabrication costs, landfills, and pollution from transportation.

Bring tote bags to stores

Bringing tote bags to the grocery store and shopping, in general, will significantly cut down on plastic bag use. Plastic bags clog up landfills, often end up in oceans, and clutter your home, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. Tote bags can be purchased at almost all grocery stores. They can also be ordered in bulk.

Buy energy-efficient headlights for your car

Most car headlights are not energy efficient, according to Ask about LED bulbs or laser technology next time you go in for an oil change. Learn more about headlight options here.

Unsubscribe from unused catalogs

Catalogs clog up mailboxes and waste a lot of paper. Make a quick phone call to cancel any catalogs or magazines you don’t read to save yourself some extra trash and a waste of paper.

Use a dishwasher

Contrary to what some might think, dishwashers use significantly less water than hand-washing dishes — if the dishwasher is efficiency certified. An ENERGY STAR-certified dishwasher can save an estimated 5,000 gallons of water every year.

Reduce straw use

While straws "amount to a tiny fraction of ocean plastic, their size makes them one of the most insidious polluters because they entangle marine animals and are consumed by fish," according to the National Geographic. Some scientists estimate that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the sea. Use reusable straws, and decline plastic straws at restaurants.

Keep your phone on low power mode

If your phone is kept on low power mode, your battery will last a lot longer and you won’t need to charge it as often. Extra battery life will make for less electricity usage, and you won’t need to update the battery as quickly.

Cara MacDonald,

Keep your refrigerator out of direct sunlight

If your refrigerator is in direct sunlight, it will be working overtime to cool itself down. Keep your fridge away from windows and out of direct light and it will use significantly less energy — which is better for the environment and will help reduce electricity bills.

Use E-tickets

Rather than printing tickets for concerts or shows, get an E-ticket and keep it on your phone. This will help reduce paper waste and sometimes will be cheaper.

Put lights next to mirrors

Putting a light next to a mirror in your house will reflect the light and act as a second light source, reducing the need for additional lamps and other fixtures. This will save space, improve lighting in your home and cut down on electricity.

Use matches rather than lighters

Lighters are made of plastic and are commonly disposed of, filling up landfills and leaking chemicals. Matches are a much healthier source of fire for the environment and are biodegradable. Keep them stored in a dry place so that the fire can be lit on your first match. Read more about the benefits of using matches here.

Buy shampoo, conditioner and other bottled toiletries in bulk

Buying in bulk will go through a lot less plastic, helping cut down on overall plastic waste. It will also help save you money in the long run.

Support restaurants that serve locally-grown food

Supporting locally-grown food cuts down on a lot of carbon emissions and water waste. Transportation of food alone has a huge environmental impact. Learn more about buying local in Utah here.

Eliminate usage of plastic water bottles and properly dispose of bottle caps

According to Project Aware, plastic bottle caps are some of the biggest hazards to fish and birds, as they are easy to choke on. Often forgotten, bottle caps end up in the ocean, on beaches and littering nature, and they are hard to clean up. Investing in a reusable water bottle like a Nalgene or Hydro Flask will cut down on a lot of waste.

To read about more ways to reduce environmental impacts, go here.

Cara MacDonald

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