Daily Ecological Actions
We often forget that the simplest daily ecological actions are sometimes the most effective for sustainable development.
It is indeed the individual awareness of this inescapable requirement that will allow us to reconcile economic efficiency, social equity and environmental quality.
We wonder why the right daily gestures are not all applied yet…
What does “ecological gestures” mean?
The term “ecology” was invented in 1866 by Ernst Haeckel.
German biologist he highlighted the study of the relationship between living beings and their environment.
Today, this term has been slightly diverted from its original meaning and now designates the action of man on his environment.
When we talk about ecology, it is above all in a positive way. Its ultimate goal is to minimize the impact of man on his environment.
Several actions for the environment are possible: waste management – energy by favoring renewable energies rather than fossil fuels – ecological housing – food and health – sustainable development – the place of the automobile in our society.
However, it is also possible for everyone to reduce their ecological footprint through good daily ecological actions that do not require much effort except a slight change in our habits.
Take the right steps to protect our planet!
We know that it is urgent to act to protect the planet. Each of us is concerned and can make things happen. However, we all make small mistakes on a daily basis which, cumulatively, can cause harm to our environment.
Sorting waste, eco-gardening, smart shopping, sustainable travel, … Discover 50 very simple ecological gestures that do not require financial effort. Good habits to apply urgently!
50 Ecological actions to protect our environment
1) Sort your waste
Practicing “selective sorting” is not complicated. Just follow the instructions on the packaging and use colored bins to avoid making mistakes when separating your household waste.
To help you, remember these 3 golden rules:
Rule n°1: all packaging made of paper, cardboard, steel, aluminum, food bricks goes into the sorting bin.
Rule n°2: plastic packaging, only bottles and flasks, also goes in the sorting bin.
Rule #3: Bottles, jars and jars go in the glass container. Crockery, porcelain and earthenware cannot be recycled.
2) Stick a “stop-publicity” on your mailbox
Sticking a “stop-pub” label avoids the accumulation of flyers in your mailbox which will immediately end up in the trash. A good way to prevent and reduce waste.
3) Do not throw anything on the ground
During a picnic or a walk, do not throw anything on the ground to protect our environment. A chewing gum, for example, takes more than 5 years to degrade in the environment! It takes almost 100 years for an aluminum can and 450 years for a plastic bag. On your next walk, you can also take a garbage bag and clean up nature!
4) Heat your house without excess
To save energy (and money), there is no need to overheat the rooms. In a bedroom, the ideal temperature is around 17°C, for example. Remember to close the shutters or curtains at night to prevent heat loss.
5) Limit the use of air conditioning in the summer
In cars, air conditioning contributes significantly to the greenhouse effect by consuming a lot of fuel. When possible, park your car in the shade or use sun visors. In the house, it consumes energy just like heating. In summer, you have to open the windows early in the morning to let in the fresh air and then close the shutters to keep the interior cool for the rest of the day.
6) Completely turn off electrical appliances
Use the power button on your electrical devices to turn them off completely or unplug them when this is not possible. Devices simply put on standby consume 10% more electricity!
More simply, you can plug your devices into power strips that work with an on/off button. In a single gesture, you turn off all your devices.
7) Unplug chargers when not in use
A smartphone or laptop charger, for example, continues to use electricity when plugged in, even when not in use.
8) Turn off the light when leaving a room
Systematically turning off the light when leaving a room is another very simple ecological gesture. To motivate yourself, think that 3 lit rooms each evening consume on average as much electricity as a refrigerator. No need to light up an empty space!
9) Favor LED light bulbs
LED bulbs consume 80% less electricity than conventional bulbs and have a longer lifespan. It is therefore worth replacing your old incandescent bulbs over time.
10) Do your laundry at low temperatures
If possible, wash your laundry at 30°C or at least at a low temperature. Indeed, 80% of the electricity used to make a machine is used to heat water. Your laundry will be no less well washed: your detergent is there for that!
11) Regularly defrost your refrigerator and freezer
Every three months, defrost your appliances to reduce your electricity consumption. Poorly maintained devices with a 4 mm layer of frost consume twice as much energy!
12) Defrost without a microwave
By doing it in advance, frozen dishes or ingredients can be thawed very well by placing them in the refrigerator to respect the cold chain.
13) Put a lid (cover) on each pan
To boil water, prepare or reheat a dish, it is advisable to cover your saucepan with a lid. Cooking times are thus reduced. In the kitchen, choose your utensils well to respect your health by favoring glass, bamboo, stainless steel and abandoning Teflon, plastic or silicone.
14) Drink tap water
Unless otherwise specified by your municipality, it is quite possible to drink tap water in France. It is drinkable and naturally rich in mineral salts.
If the taste bothers you, you can use a filter that attaches to the faucet or a water filter jug. Even more ecological, the activated charcoal stick has a lifespan of 6 months: just place it in a bottle or carboy for a few hours. Plus, it’s compostable!
15) Take showers instead of baths
To save your water consumption, always take short showers in the baths. A bath consumes 150 to 200 liters of water while a 4 to 5 minute shower requires only 30 to 80 liters of water.
16) Control the flow of water during a shower
To make it even better, you can control the flow of water with a water-saving shower head that regulates the amount of water according to your desires.
More simply, remember to turn off the water while you soap yourself to prevent it from running unnecessarily. You can also switch to solid soap rather than shower gels to limit packaging and why not make your own soap?
17) Pee in the shower
To save a flush, it is advisable to urinate in the shower. This may seem unsavory at first, but it avoids the unnecessary consumption of a large amount of water each day. Also, your urine is sterile, so there is no worry about peeing in the shower.
18) Do not flush anything down the toilet
The toilet is not a trash can. Do not throw anything, except toilet paper, to avoid the proliferation of waste and protect the planet.
19) Do not leave the tap water open / leaks
A tap that runs unnecessarily inevitably consumes water that you do not need. Remember to turn off your tap as soon as possible (when brushing your teeth or doing the dishes, for example!).
20) Recover waste water
To save water and protect our planet, it is possible to recover unused water (such as cold water that flows before it becomes hot) for flushing, for example.
Also think about recovering the water you use for cooking. The water you used to clean the lettuce can also be collected for watering the plants, for example. Just remember to put a basin in your sink to easily retrieve it.
21) Collect rainwater to water your plants
To protect our environment, you can also install a rain collection system in your garden or on your balcony. You can then use it to water your plants.
22) Prefer natural fertilizers
On the garden side, avoid chemical fertilizers that are potentially harmful to the planet. Prefer natural fertilizers that respect the environment such as nettle manure, wood ash or even dried green algae.
To reduce your waste naturally and feed your plants without harmful products, install compost in your garden. Simple and useful, compost eliminates most household waste (fruit and vegetable peelings, coffee grounds, eggshells, wilted flowers, etc.). In an apartment, it is also possible thanks to the vermi-composter in the kitchen or on the balcony. Some residences also set up collective composters for the use of the inhabitants.
24) Use public transport whenever possible
To fight against pollution and protect the planet, always prefer public transport or carpooling to the car. This avoids congestion on the road and pollution.
25) Go for a walk or a bike ride
For your short journeys, choose the most ecological means of transport: your legs! The opportunity to do some exercise by walking or cycling. Self-service systems have proliferated in major cities, giving you an alternative without too much investment.
Try bicycle or electrically assisted bicycle!
26) Check the condition of your car tires
Improperly inflated tires wear out faster and lead to overconsumption of fuel. To protect the planet, it is therefore important to regularly check their condition.
27) Drive Smoothly at Regular Speeds
Excessive speed and/or poor driving leads to excess fuel and therefore generates more pollution.
To adopt a responsible attitude on the road, you can follow an eco-driving course aimed at adopting economical and ecological driving on a daily basis.
28) For long journeys, prefer the train to the plane
The train is by far the least polluting mode of transport. To protect our environment, it is advisable to favor it over other modes of transport for long journeys.
29) Recycle Liquids
Do not empty your liquid waste into your sink. It’s not a trash can! Household products, solvents and waste oil are toxic waste that pollutes water. Take them to your landfill.
You can also clean your house with natural products, such as white vinegar, baking soda or soap made from vegetable oil.
30) Return expired medication to the pharmacist
On the side of your medicine cabinet, it is also possible to do something for the environment. Expired or unused medicines must be returned to the pharmacy in order to be energy recovered (some pharmacist will take them).
31) Take your own shopping bag
Non-reusable plastic bags are now prohibited in many countries. To do your shopping, bring your shopping bag or tote bag to avoid buying an ordinary plastic bag distributed at the checkouts.
32) Hunt for wrappers
During your shopping, also pay attention to the packaging of your purchases. The less, the better! Buy products in bulk, in large quantities, free of unnecessary packaging or packaged using biodegradable materials (paper, cardboard) or recyclable materials (glass, metal, etc.).
33) Prefer local and organic products
Local products reduce the ecological impact of transporting goods. In addition, if you prefer them organic, they guarantee a more environmentally friendly production method, without pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, or chemical fertilizers.
34) Eat less meat
The breeding of cattle, sheep and other animals releases methane into the air, which has a direct consequence on the greenhouse effect. In addition, livestock farming consumes water and energy and releases nitrogen into rivers. Eating less meat is therefore an excellent ecological gesture to adopt on a daily basis to protect the planet.
35) Avoid disposable products
Make-up remover wipes, cotton swabs, plastic dishes, etc. Disposable products are the source of a large amount of waste. To protect our environment, it is advisable to turn to sustainable versions of these products (reusable wipes, ear cleaners, porcelain or glass dishes, etc.).
36) Bring your personal mug to work
To avoid the consumption of plastic cups at work, consider taking your own reusable mug. The coffee break in a pretty cup, it’s more fun, isn’t it?
This also goes for the bottle of water that accompanies you to the office. Instead, prefer a thermos that you fill with tap water before leaving.
37) Participate in a zero waste family challenge
Organized by communities, associations or individuals, “zero waste family challenges” are becoming more and more frequent. They provide training in ecological actions to reduce waste in a fun and friendly atmosphere.
38) Limit food waste
Every year, we waste million tons of food products. To reduce this problem, it is important that everyone agrees to respect small gestures intended to waste less:
- Properly store your refrigerator to properly preserve your food.
- Buy in small quantities so you don’t have to throw away.
- Plan your meals in advance and make a shopping list to avoid impulse purchases that may end up in the trash.
- Check the expiry dates before buying food.
39) Use a washable coffee filter
To drink your coffee while doing something for the planet, it is advisable to prepare it using a washable filter that you put in the filter holder just as you would with a paper filter. An ecological and economical tip!
Otherwise, you can also put your paper filter in the compost (provided you have followed ecological gesture n°23!).
40) Avoid Battery-Powered Products
Disposable batteries are real pests for the environment. Their manufacture is very energy-intensive and they are still too often discarded carelessly in the trash or, worse, in nature. To replace traditional batteries, go for rechargeable batteries or battery-operated devices.
41) Use an eco-friendly search engine
The web industry accounts for nearly 10% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. To reduce the ecological impact of your Internet use and protect our environment, use an ecological search engine such as Ecosia, Ecogine or Lilo.
42) Scan rather than photocopy or print
Unnecessary printing of documents contributes to the massive deforestation of forests. When printing is not necessary, it is preferable to only scan your documents.
43) Use printed sheets as drafts
If necessary, the back of a printed sheet can be used as a draft to optimize its use and protect the planet. Then remember to throw the sheet in the sorting bin so that it can be recycled.
44) Repair Rather Than Replace
In general, it is advisable to give a second life to a broken object rather than throwing it away to buy another. A more ecological and above all cheaper choice.
If you are not very handy, there is probably a “Repair Café” near you. Check with your municipality.
45) Rent or borrow
No need to buy an object that will only be used once and that will eventually gather dust in your garage. Consider renting it from a specialty store or from a private individual. Even more economical, you can even borrow it from a neighbor or friend. Make those around you work!
46) Buy used items
If the purchase seems to you to be a better investment, you can turn to second-hand products rather than new ones. You will pay less for them and you will help give them a second life.
47) Run away from exotic wood furniture
Furniture made of tropical wood (teak, ipé, jatoba, etc.) sold commercially would often come from illegal deforestation. To protect our environment, it is better to avoid this kind of furniture.
48) Recycle As Much As Possible
Almost everything can be recycled or diverted. Before you throw something away, try to find a new function for it. You can, for example, reuse glass yoghurt jars as candle holders, repaint an old piece of furniture to make it more modern or even use your canned goods as pencil holders. With a little imagination, you will do wonders.
49) Quit smoking
The tobacco industry contributes to cutting down and burning tens of millions of trees. Not to mention the cocktail of toxic products that a cigarette spreads in the air and the number of cigarette butts found each year in nature.
Also read: Smoking cessation: what solutions?
50) Inform those around you and your children
To give real meaning to these 49 ecological gestures, it is of course still important to share them with those around you, and especially your children. The future of our planet is about all of us, especially the new generations.
Share this list quickly with your loved ones: the environment will thank you!