We’re all about making small, incremental adjustments that add up to make a big difference in our overall health and wellbeing. After all, that’s how you build healthy, sustainable habits that promote longevity and just make you feel really good. But with a little more thought, those healthy habits can also be good for the planet. If you’re looking for new ways to make your wellness routine clean for you and green for the environment, check out our nine favorite strategies below.
1. Try a More Plant-Based Diet
One of the easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint and care for your personal health at the same time is to prioritize plant-based food sources. Fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds require a lot less water and energy to grow and harvest than animals like cows, chickens, pigs and more.1 They’re also naturally stocked with important vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids that your body needs to function optimally. Better yet, when you buy locally-sourced, plant-based foods, you cut out additional transportation costs and avoid extra carbon dioxide emissions, which makes the purchases even kinder for the planet. Looking for a way to get more plant-based protein in your diet? Try Real Food Plant Protein, featuring 20 grams of protein sourced from wholesome real foods.
2. Start a Composting Bin
Once you’ve finished prepping your favorite produce at mealtime, toss all of the biodegradable food scraps into a composting bin instead of the garbage disposal or trash can. This method of recycling organic materials results in a nutrient-rich soil conditioner that you can then use in your garden or even in small potted plants on your windowsill.2 It helps you grow happy, healthy plants at no extra cost, and if you choose to grow your own fruits, vegetables or herbs with the compost soil, then you can keep that life cycle going for years to come. There are multiple types of at-home composting that offer both indoor and outdoor solutions, so explore your options to find the best fit for you and your home.
3. Ditch as Much Plastic as Possible
As you grow more green-conscious, keep an eye out for excess plastic that you really don’t need to consume. When picking up your fruits and vegetables in the produce aisle, skip the little plastic bags entirely and put the foods directly in your cart or basket—just be sure to wash them before eating with an eco-friendly fruit and vegetable wash. When you can, buy products in bulk and bring along your own reusable tote bag. And instead of cycling through endless plastic bags, opt for reusable glass containers for storage, leftovers and on-the-go lunch prep.
Did you know? Swanson removed plastic wrappers from its product lids, a change that now prevents 25,000 pounds of plastic waste per year, reduces electricity usage by 225,009 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year, and reduces carbon emissions by 350,535 pounds per year. Visit swanson.com/eco to check out all our eco-friendly initiatives underway.
4. Recycle in Every Room of Your Home
Most of us are used to recycling glass, aluminum, plastic and paper products in our kitchens, but what about the other spaces in your home? Do you remember to recycle all of that junk mail in your office? Or what about empty toilet paper rolls and cosmetics containers in the bathroom? By setting up just one more bin in each room of your home, you can better sort your waste and recycle even more products than you do right now. And while you're at it, make sure as many of your products as possible are eco-friendly and biodegradable, especially common environmental offenders. For example, switch to biodegradable cotton swabs and products with biodegradable packaging.
We at Swanson recycle 975,000 pounds of cardboard per year. When combined with the use of lighter boxes, this saves approximately one million pounds of cardboard each year, which is equivalent to 8,288 trees saved and 1,000,898 pounds of carbon emissions avoided.
5. Swap Out Your Cleaning Products
Certain chemicals can be harmful to both your health and the environment. And unfortunately, a handful of those are found in potent, mass-marketed cleaning products.3 Luckily, you can protect your personal health and the planet simultaneously by concocting your own solutions at home. In most cases, ingredients like castile soap, vinegar, lemon juice, water and essential oils can provide the cleaning power you need, the scents you enjoy and none of the chemical issues you want to avoid. Read Tips for Detoxing Your Home, Plus Natural & DIY Cleaning Products for more ways to limit chemicals in your household.
6. Take Shorter, Cooler Showers
Hygiene is a huge part of overall wellness, and taking shorter showers is a very easy way to make sure your routine conserves as much water as possible. Many of us luxuriate in hot, soothing showers for 15 minutes (or more) at a time, but by cutting that time in half, you can save thousands of gallons of water in your home every year.4 Simply turn the water off when you’re sudsing up and shaving and turn it back on to rinse off before you hop out and get on with the rest of your day. Better yet, make your shower extra eco-friendly and skin-friendly by relying on soaps and personal care products made from nature-sourced ingredients.
7. Wash Your Clothes in Cold Water
Did you know that a whopping 90 percent of the energy used by your washing machine goes toward heating up the water it uses to clean your clothes?5 That means that when you opt for cool or cold water for your rinse cycles, you're making a major green move in your home without having to put forth any additional effort. Unless you’re really concerned about sterilizing what you’re washing, keep the temps low to reduce your overall energy usage.
8. Try An Eco-Friendly Workout
Skip the gym and go plogging—a combination of jogging and picking up litter. Plogging began as an organized activity in Sweden around 2016 and spread internationally in 2018 as more and more countries grew increasingly concerned about plastic pollution.6 If there isn’t a local plogging group in your area, don’t fret. You can try it solo or invite a friend along! And jogging is optional—just follow a power walking route around your neighborhood and bring a bag with you so you can pick up any litter you see along the way. Looking for new ways to be more active each day? Check out Move More: How to Move More Each Day.
9. Choose Earth-Friendly Workout Clothing
Fast fashion may be a fun and inexpensive way to keep your closet current, but it’s wreaking havoc on the environment.7 So the next time you refresh your workout wardrobe, opt for apparel that is sustainably sourced and high-quality so you can get the most use out of it. Also, pay attention to the fabrics used to make your workout clothes, a lot of which are not eco-friendly. Shop for options made from bamboo, organic cotton, industrial hemp and recycled polyester to keep your carbon footprint in check.
If you enjoyed this article, you might also like Eating Healthy on a Budget: 12 Tips to Keep You & Your Wallet Fit and 11 Best Self-Care Tips for Mind & Body. Also, be sure to sign up for Swanson Health Emails to get expert advice and our best promotions delivered straight to your inbox.
1 The Case for Plant-Based. UCLA Sustainability. https://www.sustain.ucla.edu/our-initiatives/food-systems/the-case-for-plant-based/
2 Composting at Home. United States Environmental Protection Agency. https://www.epa.gov/recycle/composting-home
3 Cleaning Supplies and Household Chemicals. American Lung Association. https://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/indoor/indoor-air-pollutants/cleaning-supplies-household-chem.html
4 Take Shorter Showers. Boston University of Sustainability. http://www.bu.edu/sustainability/what-you-can-do/ten-sustainable-actions/take-shorter-showers/
5 Laundry Best Practices. Energy Star. https://www.energystar.gov/products/laundry_best_practices
6 What is plogging? Growing movement of joggers picking up trash. NBC News. https://www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news/video/what-is-plogging-growing-movement-of-joggers-picking-up-trash-1464049731700
7 How fast fashion hurts the environment, workers, society. Phys.org. https://phys.org/news/2019-01-fast-fashion-environment-workers-society.html
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.