A lot of people are now making conscious efforts to become more environment friendly. In fact, green living is said to be one of the most far-reaching environmental trends there is today. People are now eating organic food from the farmer’s market, bringing eco-bags to shopping malls, making use of natural light whenever possible, etc. However, while all of these efforts do help in the preservation of our natural resources, there are still some eco un-friendly habits that we keep doing. Oftentimes, we’re not even aware that our seemingly harmless actions are impacting the environment tremendously. So, in order to become a more responsible dweller of the society in which we live, we must look even into our smallest daily activities and see if we can carry them out in a more eco-friendly way.

Below is a list of 8 bad habits we’re most likely guilty of, and what we can do to stop.

1. Leaving Appliances Plugged In
Most of the time, we leave most of our appliances plugged in even if they’re not in use. You might think that this habit is harmless, and isn’t costing you anything, but these plugged-in devices actually add an average of 10% to your annual domestic electricity bills. While not all plugged-in devices consume energy when turned off, the most common appliances do—such as television sets, computers, printers, and mobile phone chargers.

What you can do instead: Don’t fall into the habit of keeping your unused appliances plugged in. Every time you turn off a device, make sure to unplug it as well. Put reminders on post-its if some members of the family keep forgetting.

Image courtesy of Lynac via Flickr, Creative Commons

2. Driving to Near Places
Transportation amounts to a quarter of the planet’s carbon dioxide emissions, with automobiles spewing out 1.5 billion tons of CO2 per year. Because concrete parking lots contribute to rainwater runoff that pollute nearby bodies of water and absorb solar heat for nothing, even parked cars negatively impact the environment and cause unnecessary waste of fuel and energy.

What you can do instead: Use eco-friendly transportation alternatives such as walking, biking, or public transits. Carpool whenever possible, and consider investing in a hybrid or fuel-efficient car.

3. Bathtub time
Sure, it’s great to have a bubbly bathtub session after a long and tiring day, but can you imagine the amount of water it takes to fill in a regular-sized bathtub?—not to mention that you would still have to rinse off after a lavish bathtub soak.

What you can do instead: Take quick hot showers instead of long, luxurious baths in the tub. You can still use that bathtub, but consider cutting down on the frequency of filling it up.

4. Buying Bottled Water
The most common habit of busy people is buying bottled water after every meal, and why wouldn’t they? It’s convenient, clean, and the bottle is even recyclable. However, millions of tons of plastic are needed to produce the current demand of plastic water bottles per year. This is hardly convenient for the environment, not to mention that the process of creating this plastic harms the quality of the water itself. Also, how often do we really recycle these plastic bottles? Almost never, right?

What you can do instead: Ditch the commercial plastic bottle and fill up a reusable one that you can take to work or school every day.

Image courtesy of Reena Mahtani via Flickr, Creative Commons
5. Receiving Junk Mail
Junk mail is one of the most common wastes that we tend to overlook. In the US alone, junk mail amounts to 105 billion mail deliveries each year. Generating this amount takes about 100 million trees, and almost half of the produced junk mail remains unopened.

What you can do instead: Go paperless. Subscribe to email updates as much as possible.

6. Eating too much meat
The consumption of too much meat is bad for your health, and it’s bad for the environment, too. Livestock is responsible for almost 20% of greenhouse gas emissions, and is one of the primary causes of deforestation globally, as forestland is used up for grazing and feed crops. Experts also say that livestock actually consume more food than they produce.

What you can do instead: Slowly cut down on your meat intake until you get used to eating it only once in a while. If you feel more committed than this, you can even go full-on vegan.

7. Using disposable utensils
Disposable spoons, forks, knives, and chopsticks are very common in fast food chains, and amount to a tremendous amount of plastic waste per day. Even if you can bring them home for reuse, it’s unlikely that these plastic utensils can last you a long enough time to make it worth the use.

What you can do instead: Ask for metal utensils instead of the plastic ones. If you find that some of your favorite fast food chains don’t provide this option, make it a habit to bring your own.

8. Using plastic straws
Image courtesy of Joel Bombardier via Flickr, Creative Commons Almost all commercially-bought beverages come with a plastic straw. Now, imagine how many billion people are throwing away these straws after use. It’s a staggering amount of waste, and who needs a straw anyway? Unless you’re having a smoothie, there is no way not using a straw can make drinking difficult.

What you can do instead: Simple: Skip the straw!

These are the most common eco un-friendly habits a lot of us do everyday. Now that you’re aware of them, you may start reversing these habits and find more sustainable alternatives.

Do it today!