This article originally appeared on the Springs "You're Home Blog."
America has always been known as "the land of plenty," but over the years many of us have come to take its resources for granted. As a result, we've indulged in wasteful habits that affect our health, environment and finances. Fortunately, bad habits can be replaced with positive ones. Here are some of the more common everyday wasteful actions and how you can swap them out for more thoughtful ones.
1. Practice "Green" Shopping
Plastic shopping bags have become such a problem that many cities are now banning them, and they're almost impossible to store neatly in your Springs luxury apartment. Canvas shopping bags are relatively inexpensive and come in a wide variety of styles, so why not pick up a few and keep them handy in your car?
2. Do You Know Where All Your Food Goes?
Our country has the dubious distinction of having the highest amount of food waste in the world. According to The Atlantic, the average family of four loses $1,600 annually in discarded produce alone. Use these tips to become a more conscientious diner:
- Plan your meals and create a shopping list so you purchase only what you need.
- Rotate food in your refrigerator, placing newer items in the back and bringing older ones forward, so you're using products on a timely basis.
- Leftovers can often be refrigerated or frozen for later use. Save more money by packing them for workday lunches.
3. Water, Water Everywhere
When you brush your teeth, do you continue to let the water run? This is pure habit with no logical reason behind it. Moisten your toothbrush, put some water in a cup and turn the faucet off. Use the water in the cup to rinse your mouth and toothbrush.
4. Singing in the Shower
Long, leisurely showers may feel great but they're an unnecessary indulgence. Cutting the average eight-minute shower back to five minutes can save between six and seven gallons of water each time. Make it fun by creating a playlist of favorite songs that are approximately five minutes long.
5. Have Coffee Mug, Will Travel
Can't give up your daily java fix? The most efficient and economical solution is to brew your own, but you can also keep a thermal travel mug in your car for caffeine pit stops. As an added savings, many coffee shops offer discounts when you provide your own mug.
6. Think Reusable
Avoid buying sandwich bags, paper plates and other single-use disposable items. Stick with reusable products like plastic food containers and regular dinnerware, and conserve water by always running the dishwasher with a full load.
Have you found a solution for another wasteful habit? Tell us about it in the comments!