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7 Easy Ways to be More Eco Friendly

Being eco friendly doesn't have to be hard work

The threat of climate change can seem so overwhelming, it’s hard to know where to start when it comes to making a difference. While your impact as an individual may seem insignificant, it’s important to remember that the world is filled with individuals, and all of our good actions add up to big changes. As an individual, the changes you make in your life don't need to be extravagant, or expensive to be eco friendly. There are a lot of ways you can make big differences through small changes in your life (a lot of which will actually save you money). Here we’ve listed 7 of the easiest ways you can make a difference for yourself, and our planet.
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1) Buy eco friendly clothing

Eco friendly shopping
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It isn’t always easy to discern which items of clothing are eco friendly and which aren’t. While it’s a bit more work than just blind-buying, we’d recommend undertaking a bit of research into the brands you wear. Things you want to look for are what types of fabrics items are made from, and where and how they’re manufactured. In terms of materials, there are a few things that indicate the item you’re purchasing is a friend of the planet.
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Organic fabrics, like organic cotton, are significantly better for the environment than their non-organic counterparts. Organic cotton is made with far less water, which is a clear plus. But the best benefit is that the crops aren’t treated with any nasty pesticides. While this has the immediate benefit of being less dangerous to farmers, and those handling the crops, it’s also wonderful for bees. Pesticide use has been linked to large amounts of death in bee populations, and as bees are a crucial part of our ecosystem, it’s important we take care of them.  
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If you’re looking for a bigger variety of eco-friendly clothing, you can also set your sights on recycled materials. A great way to include recycled materials in your wardrobe is through your swimwear. Most swimwear is made from nylon, which is completely non-biodegradable, and can exist in landfill, or our oceans, forever. However, there’s a miracle fabric out there called Econyl, which is made from regenerated nylon waste. A swimsuit made from Econyl could be broken down and re-formed into new nylon swimwear over and over without ever losing quality. You can find stylish examples of swimwear made from Econyl over at FiT by Robb & Lulu.
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2) Buying second hand

Eco friendly shopping
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This option is getting easier every day. Thrift shopping is far less taboo than it used to be, and while the trend garners shoppers a lot of hipster street credit, it also helps reduce waste. The growing wave of nostalgia-based fashion means there is finally a place for the pre-loved band tees, fringed suede cowboy boots, or bold plaid skirts that would have otherwise been thrown to the wayside.  
By keeping clothes out of landfill, you can do your own small bit to help reduce waste, and elevate your style all at once.
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The absolute best thing about thrift store culture these days is that there are so many accessible options available to the savvy shopper. Of course, you can’t pass up the thrilling experience of stepping into your local thrift store and taking your chances with the stock available. But if there isn’t somewhere local, and you’d still like to do your bit, there are actually online options that are a great alternative. Websites like ThredUp.com allow shoppers to purchase high quality, and even designer second hand clothing from the comfort of their homes.
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3) Re-usable plastics

Single use bottles aren't eco friendly
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An easy way to make a big change is to switch out items in your life that are usually disposable, for re-usable options. For most of us, the biggest source of plastic waste we make as individuals are water bottles, and containers. We’ve all cleaned out our cars after a particularly messy month and found a slew of single use plastic water bottles lying about. The average American uses 167 disposable water bottles every year. Not only is your water bottle habit costing you possibly hundreds of dollars a year, it’s also costing our planet. And by simply switching to a re-usable bottle, you can make a measurable impact, by reducing plastic bottles in landfills and our oceans by 167 bottles each year.
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Bottles aren’t the only area you can improve in. You can also make a switch to re-usable containers to store food. If you’re usually the kind of person to keep your leftovers in a plastic takeaway container, invest in some sturdy plastic or glass containers. Yes, you’ll have to spend some time washing and storing these containers, but think of the time and money you’ll save going to the store to pick up replacements for your usual disposable option.
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4) Sell or donate

Selling or donating clothes is eco friendly
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One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. This is the motto of thrift stores, but recycling clothing and goods isn’t a one-way street. It isn’t just something that affects you as a consumer. You can also make a bit of a profit, or do some good. Whichever way you slice it, selling or donating unwanted items is a win win. The previously mentioned site ThredUp.com also allows users the ability to sell their unwanted clothing, and there are dozens of other sites which accommodate this too (from Gumtree.com to Facebook Marketplace).
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If the hassle of posting photos of your items, and haggling with buyers isn’t your scene, fear not. There is always someone in need, who would give your garments a loving new home. You can donate clothes in a number of easy ways. The most convenient is using local donation bins which are usually near petrol stations, shopping centres, or carparks in metro areas. Alternatively, you could do some research into local churches or crisis centres that may be in need, and head over in person to drop them by.
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5) Going paperless

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This option is so easy, there’s no excuse not to adopt it. Going paperless for your bills, and anything else you typically receive in the mail is such a simple way to cut down on paper use, and the costs and environmental impacts associated with mail delivery. Most service providers (mobile phone, gas, electricity) will have a paper-free billing option, where your bills will instead be emailed to you, or made available through the company’s app.
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Considering how many bills you likely receive every month, and how many pages each bill is, cutting down on these could save a lot of paper and energy. It also saves you a trip to the mailbox in the morning.
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6) Up-cycle clothes

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Another great way to extend the life of clothing is to ‘up-cycle’. This essentially involves giving your clothing some kind of makeover to make it more functional for your needs. There are tutorials online for any kind of upcycling you could want. For example, you could remove the sleeves from a button-up shirt to take it from casual, to classy, or add a bit of sneaky elastic to the middle of an oversized shirt, to create an ultra-comfortable dress. Pinterest is definitely the go-to place for up-cycling inspiration.
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7) Wash with cold water

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With the exception of certain tough stains, your day-to-day clothes don’t need warm or hot water to get clean. Of all the greenhouse gases emitted from doing your washing, 75% of those are a result of actually warming the water. By opting for cold water, you’ve cut out 75% of greenhouse gas emissions from your daily laundry routine. Over the course of a year, that’s a massive amount of good you’ve done for the environment. Additionally, the lack of heating required means less energy used, and a lower bill for you. On top of this, lower temperatures protect dyes in clothing and can make your clothes last longer, preventing them from being disposed of early. Cold water is all benefits, and no downsides, making it one of the easiest changes you can make in your life.