How to Green-ify Your RoutineSeptember 17 2021
Fall is settling in and many of us are settling back into familiar routines with it. As you start to plan for your kids returning to school or heading back into the office on a more regular schedule, think about your consistent routines. How can you make them more planet-friendly? We’ve put together a list of tips that, with just a few tweaks to your already established habits, will help you live a greener, more sustainable lifestyle.
Weekly Green Routines
As you’re planning your meals for the week, think about your climatarian diet and how you can incorporate more plant-based, non-processed foods into your meals. When making a list of the ingredients you’ll need, first think about what’s available at your local farmers’ market. Make a trip to the farmers’ market a part of your weekly routine. Only after buying as much local food as possible should you make your list for the grocery store.
We all have weekly cleaning items that must get done (Hello, greasy stove!). Try switching out all your cleaning products for those that have planet-friendly ingredients. Look for products that have ingredients like:
- Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
- Citrus solvent
- Natural oils (olive oil, coconut oil, etc.)
Take a few minutes to think about the errands you’ll need to run for the week. Planning them out and making a list ahead of time means you can group them together, taking the most efficient route and saving on gas emissions in the process. If you have neighbors you frequently see at the same places, ask them if they’d like to group errand trips together to save even more gas.
Morning Green Routines
As you head into the bathroom to prepare for the day, think about how you can save water. Maybe take a shorter shower, or save energy by making it just a little cooler. Turn off the water as you brush your teeth and scrub your face. You can even try lengthening the days in between taking full showers by using dry shampoo on your hair.
When grabbing breakfast for the day, think about ways that you can use less single-use packaging. Get up a few minutes earlier to make breakfast at home rather than grabbing it on the go, or grab a re-useable coffee mug before heading to your favorite local coffee shop.
To reduce gas emissions, consider starting a neighborhood carpool to take the kids to school, or taking the time to walk or bike there if possible. If you have co-workers that live nearby, offer to pick them up and enjoy the extra few minutes of chit-chat.
Nightly Green Routines
After a long day at work, making dinner, and getting the kids to do their homework, lots of us simply want to crash and enjoy a good TV show before going to bed. There’s nothing wrong with a little Netflix and chill, but you can benefit yourself and the planet by choosing less energy-intensive wind down activities before bed.
Studies show that talking a walk before heading to bed can reduce anxiety and improve the quality of your sleep. Reading for an hour before bed is another great way to limit your screen time and have a more restful night.
Credit: Vaughn House
When turning out the lights in the house before bedtime, consider switching off the appliances you don’t need on too. Putting appliances like the microwave, toaster, etc. on a power strip allows you to simply turn the power stip off as part of your nightly routine and saves on the power these appliances continue to pull while plugged in but not in use.
Another great way to save energy while sleeping is to keep your thermostat steady and use your window to regulate your nighttime sleeping temperature instead. You’ll soon learn how much to open or close the window to adjust for your perfect sleeping temperature and the fresh air can feel so good on your face. Too warm? Open the window a little more. Too cold? Close it a little more or throw on another blanket.
It takes a little time to ingrain new habits, but there are lots of little daily things we can all do to live a greener lifestyle. Keep your eyes open for more ways throughout your day that you can save energy, buy local, and reduce the amount of waste in your life. The result is a healthier routine for both you and the planet.