From the moment we wake up every day, we're constantly sucking up natural resources from our planet and hardly ever give it anything in return. It's tough to balance how to be environmentally-friendly during our daily rituals but there are small ways that can make a big difference.
Before turning on the faucet, tossing out that coffee cup or hopping into an SUV, think to yourself: What would Leonardo DiCaprio do?
Here are 5 ways to give back some love to our 4.54 billion year-old (yikes!) planet Earth.
Shower Less, Give More
A long hot shower is incredibly relaxing, but is it necessary? No! Taking long showers for more than 10 minutes uses more than 25 gallons of water, and hot water requires energy—generally fossil-fuel based—to be heated and maintained.
Don't assume the longer your shower is, the cleaner you are. Discovery Fit & Health reports that "the soap and the hot water dissolve the lipids in the skin and scrubbing only hastens the process. The more showers you take, the more frequently this damage takes place and the less time your skin has to repair itself through natural oil production."
If you're still self conscious about how you smell after a shorter shower, use an eco-friendly anti-perspirant such as Secret Natural Mineral Deodorant.
The days of using Aqua Net Hair Spray are, thankfully, long gone. Who needs all those toxic chemicals seeping into our pores? The advances in eco-friendly, organic, beauty and grooming products have advanced immensely and best of all, they are now relatively inexpensive.
We found moisturizers like Burt's Bees Daily Moisturizer is free of perfumes and parabens, and Bite beauty products (photo) that exclude parabens, polybutenes, sulfates, petroleum byproducts and are made with only food-grade ingredients. Nature's Gate, which specializes in using natural ingredients, sells all sorts of beauty products, including hair care for all-types.
On the Run
According to Reuters, 488,000 hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric cars were sold in the U.S. in 2012, and President Obama hopes that number continues to grow by 2015. But if you can't afford a hybrid car (or don't need one) there are still ways to help decrease air pollution.
Living in a metropolitan city we can go from point A to point B by taking the subway, riding a bike, skateboarding, using a scooter, or walking. For longer commutes there's the train, carpooling, or car-sharing. Where there's a will there's always a way!
Every day millions consume coffee, and each cup that is tossed away contributes to our clogged landfills.
Starbucks has been a long-time supporter of using reusable cups and now they've launched a new way of being green. For $1 you can now buy one of their reusable cups, which looks just like their signature cups, and save 10 cents each time you use it.
As avid caffeine consumers, that saves us big bucks.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency we use about 71 million tons of paper and paperboard each year, and about 33 percent of that is recyclable.
So how can we avoid using paper? Buy recycled paper only; don't print anything if you don't have to; get your bill/bank statements online; pay those bills online as well; email, text, send e-vites. Using paper isn't always necessary.
Donating clothes to the Salvation Army is all fine and dandy, but if you're consuming more than you're purging perhaps it's more suitable to purchase clothing that is actually good for the environment.
H&M recently launched a "Conscious initiative," a collection for men and women that features sustainable materials such as organic cotton, silk tencel, recycled polyester and tulle. Everything But Water, which sells beachwear, has an eco-friendly swimwear line made from recycled nylon, polyester and cotton.
Ebay is also getting in on the green action by selling and buying eco-friendly goods.