ate last year, Leonardo DiCaprio surprised everyone by releasing his climate change documentary, Before the Flood, to the public. The well-crafted film reignited the discussion about eco-friendly initiatives and lifestyles in the media and, indeed, in homes and public spaces around the world. This just goes to show that for all the criticism that celebrities get from the media and public, there are still some who go out of their way to try and make a difference. The world is changing constantly and there’s been massive improvements to our lives, which has only been possible due to innovation and technology. Unfortunately, not everything that we think is good for us is necessarily good for the planet. This surge towards the future has often cost the planet dearly, but fortunately, there are still several groups and individuals leading the charge towards sustainable living. You, too, can be part of the solution with just a few simple tweaks to how you do common things in your daily life. It may not seem like much, but every little thing counts. If we all made these changes, the planet and our future on it would be significantly better off.

Save Water While Washing and Bathing

Instead of showering, fill up a bucket with a fixed amount of water and do your best to finish bathing with that water alone. It isn’t an impossible task to finish bathing on less than a full bucket of water and you’ll eventually get the hang of it. The same can be said for doing the dishes. One simple way to save water while doing the dishes is to first rinse them using as little water as possible. Then, once they’re relatively clean, close the tap, soap up the dishes and set them aside. Finally, wash off the soap while using as little water as possible. The most basic trick to saving water is to not leave the tap running when it’s unnecessary. It sounds simple, but it takes some time to unlearn old habits.

Cut the Plastics Out

Plastics cause immense damage to the environment because of how long they remain in the ecosystem. The best thing would be to cut out your use of plastics wherever possible. Start small – whenever you go shopping, just take your own cloth bag to bring your purchases back home in – and go from there. And when you’re having a party, avoid using Styrofoam cups and plates and switch to brands such as Bakeys or Pappco, which specialise in edible and biodegradable cutlery, respectively.

Create Your Own Cleaning Products

The cleaning products you use might keep your home spic-and-span, but they do quite a bit of harm to the environment due to the chemicals they’re made up of. The good news is that there’s been a lot of environmentally-conscious efforts to move to a more sustainable lifestyle in these last few years, so there are many home remedies available when it comes to cleaning products. Let’s start with a simple all-purpose cleaner: Mix half a cup of vinegar and quarter of a cup of baking soda with two litres of water. This simple solution can be used to clean water stains, bathroom chrome fixtures, windows, mirrors, and much more. However, if you’d much rather just purchase an organic or eco-friendly cleaning product, check out websites such as Natural Mantra, which are doing a great job of making the planet a cleaner and greener place for us all.

Don’t Flush Water Away

Modern plumbing may be one of the greatest inventions in mankind’s history, but that doesn’t mean that it’s without its faults. Take the toilet flush, for instance – we use it several times a day, but most modern flushes utilise far more water than is necessary most of the time. One simple way to prevent this from happening if you have an external flush tank is to place a brick or cinderblock inside the tank and to one side. That way, every time the flush is filled, that much water will be saved and you’ll still have enough water to flush away any evidence of the crime you just committed.

Flip the Switch

It isn’t enough that you’ve pushed the ‘off’ button on the TV remote. Even if your electronics are switched off, power is slowly being leached out of them. This is called phantom or vampire power and it’s causing serious harm to both your wallet and the environment. Remember that time when you came home after work and removed the phone charger from the socket only to realise that it was warm to the touch? Well, that charger was consuming power even though it had nothing to charge. Unplug your electronics when you aren’t using them, or use a surge protector and switch it off when not in use.

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