Resolve to be More Environmentally Friendly

recycling containers for glass, plastic, paper, and metal

A new year is a great time to make a positive difference in your everyday life. If you’re looking to make a change that benefits you AND the environment, consider these 5 ways to be more friendly to the environment.

  1. Create a wildlife-friendly backyard
    • By making changes in your own backyard you could attract native pollinators (including butterflies), help provide food and shelter for beautiful bird species, and much more! With interesting backyard visitors, you’ll have even more reasons to spend a few minutes outdoors.
    • Special thanks to junior naturalists Lacy and Layla for sharing this resource about transforming your backyard into a wildlife oasis :

      This is a picture of flowers and a Monarch butterfly sent in by Layla and Lacy of their native pollinator-friendly garden!
  2. Using reusable food and beverage containers
    • Reusable water bottles have become increasingly popular, but who says you have to stop there? If you’re warming up by purchasing a hot chocolate or coffee, make sure to bring your reusable thermos! In addition to the satisfaction of preventing one more beverage cup from ending up in a landfill, you may even be rewarded with a discount from local coffee shops. If you know you’re going to have leftovers when you go out to eat, consider bringing your own reusable containers instead of using a Styrofoam to-go container.
  3. Walk, bike, take public transportation, or carpool instead of driving by yourself at least once a week
    • Research has indicated air pollution caused by cars is having an impact on our air quality and the environment. Unfortunately, much of our everyday life depends on driving. Being able to reduce some pollution, particularly through walking or biking, can be a small change that could make a big difference long-term.
  4. Environmental impact of clothing waste
    • The new year is a great reminder to sort through your clothes and make sure you’re not wasting closet space on things you don’t wear. De-cluttering can feel satisfying, and responsibly disposing of the clutter feels even better. In 2017 alone over 11 million tons of textiles were discarded in landfills. Choosing to donate clothes that are in good condition is a decision that lets you give back to your community. If there are articles that aren’t in as good shape, consider utilizing them as cleaning rags (and help reduce your use of paper products at the same time). There are also companies that will recycle clothing, using it in industrial settings or even creating new, usable items!
  5. Make sure you’re recycling the right way
    • Recycling plastics and paper is a complicated process that starts with you in your home. Did you know that plastic bags should not be recycled with your other plastics? Take the time to look up your local recycling company and find out what type of materials they take and if they should be separated from each other. Improperly sorted recyclables contaminate batches slow down the process of recycling.

      Though sometimes items to be recycled can be comingled, these are separate recycling bins for glass, plastic, paper, and metal.

Keeping the environment in mind when you make everyday decisions can be an easy way to make a difference. You don’t have to stop at these ideas, use them as inspiration to make other positive changes in your life this year!