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Ways to help the planet

You don’t need to instantly go vegan or sell your car to save the world. Of course you can do that, but it is the sum of our actions which is important. So if you try to be responsible and do the right thing in sum, then you already did a lot for our planet. Below you'll find lots of ways to support our planet - I hope this growing list will be an inspiration or a little help for you:

1. Get others on board!

This is the most important thing in the whole list. Involving others is key, because more people = more impact! Its good when you save resources – but its even better, when millions of other people do it, too! This is the reason why I created this website, because I want to reach more people and get them interested and engaged in helping our planet. You can help by sharing this website or talk about it. And talk about what you do for the environment and get others involved and inspired.

2. Find your own ways/ideas to help the planet

This list will never be complete, there is always more we can do. So be creative and thoughtful and find your own ways to contribute. Feel free to write me your ideas so we can grow this list together!

3. Bring your own cup or bag

When you go shopping for clothes, buying food or grabbing a coffee to go you should always use your own bag or cup instead of buying a new one. You can use them many times and spare lots of resources. If you regularily use a backpack or handbag, you should always also pack a small foldable bag if an unplanned purchase comes up.

4. Eat less meat

Mass animal farming is one of the biggest problems of our planet. Most of the meat we consume has been produced in mass animal farming. It means a miserable life for those animals from birth till their death. We kill billions of animals every year for a meal which taste lasts a few minutes. While it is highly unhealthy to regularily eat meat, especially from mass animal farming, its also bad for the environment: Meat products need way more water and farming land than plant based food and the animals are also emitting lots of Methane. The meat industry with all its factors is one of the biggest CO2 originators in the world.

5. Save energy

Don’t leave all the lights on, when you are in a different room anyway - Just turn off the light. Avoid using electronic heaters, because they are consuming a lot of energy. If your refrigerator builds a layer of ice you should defrost it as soon as possible. 5mm of ice raising the energy consumption about 30%. Those are just a few of many energy saving tips - good for your wallet and good for the environment.

6. Unplug electronic devices

You should unplug devices you rarely need. Or when you don’t use them for a longer period, like when you are leaving for a vacation. Don't just leave them on standby because they still consume electricity. Another example: in some offices, the computer will be shut down, but the monitor stays on standby. So just switch off the monitor as well.

7. Don't waste food

Every year, we throw away tons of food: We forget something in the refrigerator, we have been planning wrong or simply bought to much – the list of bad examples is endless. So we need to improve our kitchen organisation. This point is very critical because it saves lots of resources: it is not only the wasted product – its also everything used in the production like energy or water and of course the packaging. Besides, it saves you a lot of money.

8. Use recycle systems

Today we have recycling systems for a great ammount of products. We can recycle paper, plastics, glass, batteries, electronic devices and much more. Yes, some of those systems aren’t perfect, but this is always better than just carelessly throwing stuff away. And while we are at it: You should check whats right and whats wrong, because a lot of garbage ends up in the wrong recycling system.

9. Never throw waste into nature!

There is just no excuse for this! Never ever do it! I can’t stress this enough. People do it because they want the easy way and get rid of their waste but this is a huge worldwide problem. Look at all the fastfood bags and softdrink cups at car intersections. Waste in the park, with a trashcan a few steps away. Garbage in the woods because people don’t want to pay fees at recycling yards. Garbage in the river.
All of it is totally unnessesary.

10. Use reusable bottles

The decision between glass and plastic is difficult. Yes, plastic bottles are easier to handle, but plastic can make the taste of the water feel a bit odd or chemical. Glass bottles can be used more often (up to 50 times) than Plastic bottles (up to 25 times), but they are causing more emissions on their transportation because of their higher weight. There are more factors, but in the end, a multi-way plastic bottle has the best ecological balance after all. A glass bottle CAN be better, if the transport distance is short. The worst bottles you can buy are one-time usage plastic bottles, so you should avoid these.

11. Switch to recycling paper

Recycling paper comes in many different qualities so you can pick the one which fits your needs. Recyclingpaper is made of 100% reused paper fibers. You can also get paper which is partly made of fresh fibers and partly of recycled fibers.  Production of new paper needs a lot of wood, water and energy. Recycling paper uses less of everything. If you think „recyclinpaper looks cheap“ – thats because of a lesser grade of whiteness but this also can be varied. But remember: the more whiteness, the more chemicals are used.

12. Improve your laundry

There are some ways how washing clothes is affecting the environment: old maschines need more electricity and water. Washing powder and fabric conditioner are bad for the environment (also their wrappings). Not everybody can afford a modern machine. But everybody can use less powder or fabric conditioner. Also there are some alternative things you can use – Washingballs can be reused many times. There are some biological, harmless laundry detergent available and you even can make your own (there are many suggestions in the web).  And of course you can wash less. Simple example: wear yesterdays shirt if you didn’t sweat instead of putting it in the laundry.

13. Use less water

Remember this especially when you are in the shower, in the tub or in the kitchen. Long showers are great but cost lots of water. So speed up a bit. A hot bath is great, but takes even more water to fill. Consider a shower instead. Don’t leave the water-tap open when you are brushing your teeth or doing stuff in the kitchen. Conserve water because its one of the most precious things we have.

14. Turn off the cooker/stove/oven early

We are used to cook our meal until it is ready, then we switch off the cooker/stove/oven.
Instead we can switch it off early and use the passive heat to get things done. The heat isn’t gone the second you switch off, so use this to your advantage. This of course only makes sense if you have a slowly cooking system.

15. Avoid katalogs, TV magazines or supermarket brochures:

Think about it: Millions of people take the brochure of their supermarket, check whats new in 2 Minutes and then its going into the trashcan. Those are wasted resources. Many things can be checked in the web or in an app. We use way too much paper for short term informations. Think if you really need it before taking those throw-away-products.

16. Use non-toxic cleaners

We don’t need chemical cleaners for everything. Use them only when really needed. Sometimes some less toxic cleaners like the good old soup will do the job as well.

17. Use Kitchen boxes for takeaway food

So, today you want to go to your favorite restaurant to order takeaway food? Alright, how about bringing a box/container (and a bag) to fill in the food? Ask if they can fill your food in a box/container you brought. This is a win-win situation: they can spare a plastic container (those cost money, too) and you can support the environment.

18. Try vegetarian or vegan cooking recipes

If you think vegetarian or vegan meals are boring - think again! Books, cooking channels and cooking apps for example offer plenty of great recipes to create delicious meals without meat, fish or animal products at all - so give it at try and you will be surprised about the variety.

19. Use your smartphone longer

While a new phone may be tempting, ask yourself if you really need it. Your new smartphone comes at the price of rare materials which are very limited and often are collected by low-paid workers or even child workers in terrible work conditions. Consider this if you only buy it because of a better camera or battery runtime. Also consider a reworked or used model.

20. Clean up a park or forest

This clearly isn’t for everybody („why should I clean up the mess of others?“) but some people have discovered this as their new hobby or upgraded their hiking hobby. If you like hiking or a walk in the park, you can consider bringing a garbage bag and a grap tool for collecting garbage on your way.

21. Heaten less in colder days

Sometimes you suddenly feel cold and you turn on the heater. In some cases a pullover would do the job as well – its a bit strange when people walk around in a shirt at home while its freezing outside :-)
Oh, and avoid electric heaters, because they are very energy hungry.

22. Aim for unwrapped food

Supermarkets wrap most things in plastic while small markets place everything loose inside big boxes. Some markets even have a whole concept of only selling unwrapped products.
You can combine this with the idea of „bringing your own bag“ for max results :-)

23. Try vegetarian or vegan substitute products

Today we have a growing market with lots of great plant-based food products which serve as substitutes for animal-based meat, milk, icecream, chocolate, cheese and so on. For sure you will not like everything and come across some stuff which doesnt fit your taste but I can guarantee you there are lots of great products available. You really should give it a try!

24. Buy items made of recycled materials

There is a growing variety of products made out of recycled materials. For some its obvious and common (paper for example), for some it requires research. There are companies that specializes on creating those kind of products like backpacks made of recycled polyester, socks made of fishing nets, bags made of bike tubes and many more. This is inspiring and should be supported more.

25. Ride the bike or walk instead of driving your car

I don't ask you to sell your car. But some people drive everywhere by car even when searching a parking space takes more time than actually walking there. This might not be true everywhere, but in big cities it hits the spot. So consider walking or riding a bike more often. It is better for the environment, cheaper and also better for your health especially if you got a job where you sit all the time.

26. Buy more sustainable/local food

Example: You see a pack of apples in your supermarket. Their origin is on another continent. You should avoid these because there are other good local types you can get instead. This is true for apples because of their variety, but difficult with other products which only grow at the end of the world. Those should be avoided or bought moderately.

27. Make sustainability happen in the office

Companies can do a lot to be more responsible and act sustainable. If your company is open for those kind of topics, you can make some suggestions like implementing waste separation, switching to recycling paper, adding „think before you print“ in the Email signature, shut down the TFTs after a days end and many more.
Keep in mind that not everybody will like those changes but if we all continue our routines - nothing will ever change.

28. Re-use stuff at home

You can get many tips and tricks across the web to re-use things instead of throwing them away. For example, you can use the wrapping of toilet paper for your trashcan in the bathroom. Coffee remains are a good addition for your compost. A glass can serve as a flower vase. There are lots of other possibilities to discover.

29. Travel responsible

Everybody loves to travel. We want to see the world, explore different places and cultures. But this comes at the cost of leaving an ecological footprint when we travel by plane, ship, train or car. I don't say stop travelling, but you definitely should be aware of your impact on nature and travel as responsible as possible. And avoid cruise liners, because most of them cause a much higher pollution than planes or cars and therefor are our worst travelling option.

30. Slow down at buffets

People tend to grab more food at buffets than they can eat. The result: Lots of food gets thrown away. Think of all the hotels, restaurants or events worldwide and you get an idea how much food gets wasted at buffets every day. This can easily be prevented by taking smaller portions and not grabbing all at once. And the extrasteps you need to take to refill your plate are good for your body as well.

31. Plan vacations accordingly

When there is a vacation coming up you should remember to consume all short-lived food like milk or meat before you leave and of course buy less food. Yes, this sounds obvious, but throwing away foul food after holidays happened to all of us at least once, right?

32. Donate food you won't eat

This matches perfectly with #31, because if you have too much food and know you can’t consume all of it, you should consider donating it to your neighbors or at local services so deserving poor can benefit from it.

33. Give non-perfect food a chance

Supermarkets want to present only perfect fruits/vegetables because consumers aim for these instead of those which have „faults“. You should give those non-perfect ones a chance because they still taste good.

34. Eat less fish

We already talked about eating less meat, but same goes for fish. Many sea regions are overfished, which means the fish population is reduced drastically and the fish species can’t replenish itself. Overfishing is a huge growing problem worldwide and leds to upsets of marine eco systems. So eat fish moderately and consider buying types that aren’t in danger of extinction. And don’t forget the ethic aspect as well – the fish looses its life for our meal, so eat responsible.

35. Avoid disposable plates, cups and cutlery

Having a barbecue? Throwing a party? Cool, please just don’t use disposable knifes, forkes, spoons, plates and cups. They cause a lot of unessesary waste and most of the time won’t get recycled because they are thrown away in a regular trashcan (like those in parks, forests, and so on).

36. Stop visiting zoos/animal parks

Yes, we all loved it as kids, but in fact the life for these animals is horrible! They are caged their whole life, seeing the same stuff everyday. Some of them are lonely and bored, because of the monotony in such small areas. Some of them walking or swimming around in circles for hours and suffering from mental stress. They live the life of a prisoner who is only imprisoned for our entertainment. Zoos/animal parks are outdated and a mental torture for the animals. The only way to stop this is to not visit those parks ever again.

37. Only use sustainable charcoal

When you’re buying a sack of charcoal for the nex barbecue or something else, you should go for those which are from sustainable woods and certified. In Europe for example, the laws for wood don’t count for charcoal, so there is a risk you’re buying charcoal made from rain woods if you don’t look closely.

38. Be responsible in your garden

Your garden can be a paradise for birds, plants, flowers, insects, bees and yourself. So inform yourself, get creative and form a home for all your guests of nature. But don’t use herbizides, because they are hurting the environment. And get a rain barrel to save water.
And no - stoneground and some grass ain't a garden!

39. Reduce your cloud files and emails

Cloud memory and email distribution use a lot of server space, electricity and cooling.
So you should aim for less files in cloud services and less emails in general. Reduce spam and advertising emails with spam filters and ad blockers. Get rid of newsletters you don’t need.

40. Mow the right way

Don’t mow the lawn too often (thats bad for the grass anyway.) Insects and other small animals will thank you for that. You can also use the mowed grass as compost.

41. Make and receive gifts without wrapping paper

Christmas gifts and other gifts often come with lots of wrapping paper, plastic sheets, plastic straps and other stuff. All those wrappings and most decorations getting thrown away after unwrapping the gifts. Most of the time, we celebrate christmas and other events with the same persons so talk with your loved ones and ask if they are fine with giving and receiving gifts without all the wrappings. This saves a lot of resources – and wrapping time.
If you still want to keep it traditional - try re-using the decorative parts.

42. Never throw zigarettes away

zigarettes have been the cause for many forest fires and their remains soil the environment. Humans throw away up to 680.000 tons of zigarette remains - per Year! Zigarette remains are also a huge threat for the ground water and the environment because of their toxic ingredients. So stop throwing them into nature!

43. Use less Napkins

Everybody knows this situation: We're at a restaurant, grabbing 2 or 3 napkins and end up using only one. But we put all of them in the trashcan anyway. Thousands of unused napkins go to the trashcan everyday that way, so always think ahead and grab only as much as you need. Same goes for food at buffets, by the way.

44. Try eco-friendly cosmetics and care products

Billions of deodorants, shower gel and other careproducts and also cosmetics are getting used every year. Thats a lot of plastic waste. And don't forget that deodorants emit volatile organic compounds (VOC). So you should check your local stores and try some eco-friendly alternatives. This can be the oldschool soap instead of shower gel for example, or roll-ons instead of deodorants.

45. Cook rice the right way

Some companies offer rice in a box with multiple small portions – wrapped in plastic sacs. While it is very questionable to cook food in plastic bags, it is also totally unnecessary. Just buy a big pack without plastic sacs and fill a cup or something like that to get the right portion for cooking.
And remember: Rice is cheap, but you should never waste it (by cooking too much, and throw the rest away, for example), because rice cultivation requires lots of water, emits lots of methane and has a very long transport way for most countries.

46. Get green energy or green gas

There are lots of energy suppliers on the market and most of them offer green energy or green gas. This can be electricity from regenerative energy sources like wind power or solar fields or at least they are compensating emissions with climate projects like planting trees for example.

47. Stream responsible

Spotify, amazon music and other streaming services are very popular and easy to use, but we often forget that streaming costs a lot of energy. Millions of people are streaming music every day, so a lot of energy is needed to provide and transport the data. If you own songs, you can save energy by accessing them directly from your harddrive or memory card. Generally speaking, you should try to reduce your streaming volume.

48. Buy at your local market

Local farmer markets are great for getting local products like milk, eggs, and so on. This way you can support the local farmers and get quaility food with (not always, but in some cases) better circumstances for the animals and/or shorter transport ways.

49. Store your food correctly

We all heard how to store food in the past, but in the hurry of the daily routine the memory fades away and we grow bad habbits. So you should regain those informations like "don't store tomatoes in the fridge", "don't use wrapping foil for mushrooms", "store onions in dark places", and so on. Those informations really help you to expand the freshness of your food and therefor avoid food waste.

50. Avoid air ballons

I know, I know, kids love them, but air ballons are among the most dangerous types of waste in the ocean! Because of their soft material, the animals who mistake them for food will swallow them and their stomachs can’t get rid of it so they will face a gruesome end.

51. Order icecream in a cone

Icecream is one of the best things in summer, but you should always order it in a cone instead of a cup, because you can just eat the cone instead of producing unnecessary waste when getting a cup.

52. Dispose garbage the right way

Garbage is something we just want to get rid of and out of the way, but this has a lot of potential for mistakes. For example, kitchen paper isn’t viable for recycling paper. And not all supermarket bills can be recycled (some markets use bills made of processed materials that aren't great for paper recycling). All cities have different options and orders for recycling so you should inform yourself at your local garbage services or research online how to recycle the right way.

53. Use oldschool soap

Liquid soap is practical and is used everywhere. But its also bad for the environment, because of the ingredients, which get flushed into the water cycle and of course the plastic wrapping. Just use the oldschool firm soap in the bathroom and the kitchen to relieve the water cycle and to prevent plastic garbage.

54. Replace lightbulbs with LEDs

I’m not sure about this one, but I wanted to list it so everybody can decide for himself. If its good quality, LEDs can be used much longer while consuming only up to 1/6 energy compared to a regular lightbulb. This is great, but LEDs need rare materials and don’t emit nearly as much warmth like a lightbulb which can be an advantage in hotter days and a disadvantage in colder days. No matter which kind of light you use - you should aim for products with class A efficiency (check the sign).

55. Plant a tree

It has become popular that companies offer to plant a tree through partnerships with specialised organisations when you buy something in their online shops to compensate emissions. This is a good idea, but how about planting a tree by yourself? You should inform yourself where you can participate in a local tree planting session. Time to create something truly sustainable with a lasting effect - What a feeling!

56. Consume seaweed oil instead of fish

Omega 3 is important for our health. Fishes are a great sorce for Omega 3, but they don't produce it by themselves. They take in the Omega 3 by eating seaweed. Seaweed oil is a great substitue for eating fish - rich on Omega 3, easy to use, it's vegan and much more sustainable than eating fish. And its not encumbered, because the seaweed used for this oil is cultured in tanks - not in the ocean!

57. Avoid one way e-cigarettes

They are trendy and easy to use but they are also very bad for the environment! They often come in an aluminum chassis and use a lithium accumulator which is made out of raw materials. Studies have shown that nearly half of those one way e-cigarettes just get thrown into the normal trashcan so their materials won't get recycled. And no, recycling isn't the solution here - it's still a waste of materials and their purchase should be fully avoided to end this absurd trend.

58. Don't buy fast fashion

Fast fashion is another absurd trend that causes massive damage to our environment. Fast fashion clothes are produced as cheap as possible - this comes at the price of the factory workers health and our environment. Lots of water and chemicals are used for every single t-shirt and they are produced under horrible circumstances for the workers. Additionally, a shirt that only costs 3 dollars won't last long and gets never been treated with the same appreciation like a fairly priced and produced one, so it will often end up in the trash early.

59. Stop animal abuse for your entertainment

No animal on this planet will ever want to take pictures with you or jump through rings out of free will. They do it because they are captives and have been forced into doing these activities. When their workday is over, they are lead back into their cages. this goes on for their whole lifes. So please avoid all activities where animals are used for human entertainment, like taking pictures with animals or bull fights. It will only stop when we stop paying for those activities. No instagram picture justifies animal abuse!

to be continued...

stay tuned for more ways to help the planet or mail me your ideas!

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