6 Simple Hacks That Will Make Your Daily Routine More Earth-Friendly

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Being the globally aware, socially conscious person that you are, surely you’d love to up your game when it comes to sustainable living habits, right? Earth Day 2018 is on April 22, and according to the official Earth Day website, there’s lots you can do to help increase awareness while contributing to more sustainable practices — with a particular emphasis on ditching the plastics this year. But there are tons of little changes to make your daily routine just a tiny bit more green, and these six sustainable living tips are a pretty easy place to start.

Whether your aim is to decrease your energy use, switch to non-toxic cleaning products, help protect our waterways, wildlife, and forests, and just generally green up your carbon footprint — you can assess your environmental impact here — there are lots of easy and fun ways to adopt more sustainable living habits, and help take better care of both yourself and the Earth. If we each make some simple changes in our everyday lives, we can help improve the planet we all share. In honor of Earth Month 2018, check out these seven simple hacks for changing up your daily routine to reduce your consumption, reuse what you’ve got, and walk a bit more gently on this beautiful planet of ours.

Ditch The Plastic Bags

Single use plastic bags — like those you'd find at your supermarket checkout — are ending up in landfills and clogging up our oceans. According to TIME, 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in our oceans each year. Reducing the use of single use plastics — like plastic shopping bags — is a key way to cut down on the amount of plastic waste ending up in our oceans each year, according to a study published in the journal Science in 2015. Bring reusable shopping bags to the grocery store instead.

Swap Out Your Plastic Wrap

Sandwich Wrap, $11, Bee's Wrap

Bee's Wrap, an eco-friendly alternative to your traditional food storage wraps, is a (super cute) way to reduce your reliance on plastic products. Made of beeswax-coated organic cotton muslin and jojoba oil, Bee's Wrap is an affordable, reusable plastic wrap substitute — and is also washable and compostable.

Opt For Reusable Straws

Reusable Drinking Straws, $6.99, Amazon

Plastic straw are another single use plastic that we'd all be better off kicking to the curb. Glass, paper, or stainless steel straws are a great alternative, though — and the Plastic Pollution Coalition encourages their use over the old plastic alternative. Not only will you be reducing your plastic consumption by rethinking your shopping choices, you'll be reducing your exposure to potentially endocrine-distrupting pthalates and BPA, too.

Switch To Paperless Billing

Paperless billing is a great way to reduce your reliance on paper, and most utility companies and phone carriers encourage the switch to paperless (since it saves them time and energy, too). Opting in is typically super easy, and can usually be found on a company's main website.

Bring Your Own Water Bottle

S'well 17 oz. Water Bottle, $35, S'well

Commercial water bottles are another single use plastic that clog up our landfills and pollute our oceans. Reusable water bottles will save you money and avoid putting another plastic bottle in the ocean. Glass and stainless steel water bottles are also usually BPA free; another plus for your health.

Switch To A Reusable Menstrual Product

Lily Cup, $39.95, Amazon

I might lose some of you here, but pause and consider — reviewers and devotees love these things. Reusable menstrual hygiene products include washable pads, period underwear, and the menstrual cup. And remember that whenever you reduce your consumption of plastic products (like tampon applicators, for instance), the potential positive effects benefit both the planet, and your health. Don't you love how that works?

Rethink Your Transport

Biking, taking public transportation, and participating in car sharing are some great ways to reduce your carbon footprint and global gas emissions overload. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that when and if you do drive your car, you can help slash emissions by going easy on your gas pedal and breaks, getting regular tune ups, including oil changes, and sticking with the manufacturer's maintenance schedule. Choose a fuel efficient vehicle, such as hybrids or electric cars when and if you can, and shut off the car when you're not driving — no idling.

While some of these tips may require some up front investment, think of it as an investment in our planet — that doesn't take a lot of effort to implement. Start small with these lifestyle changes, then work your way up to bigger ones because while Earth Month may end with April, we still have to live here all year round.