Many environmental problems are created by inefficient use of energy and resources. Modern culture encourages people to buy consumable items, use them for a short time, then quickly replace the items with another that functions in the same way. The importance of recycling and energy conservation has only recently become apparent.
One of the most creative ways to solve environmental problems is to minimize consumption. Modern consumer culture encourages people to define low prices as high value, but inexpensive items, such as furniture and clothing, often wear out quickly and must be replaced. The worn-out items end up in landfills and the environment is degraded by using new resources to manufacture replacement products. By minimizing consumption of newly manufactured products, either through buying items with a longer lifespan or those that are used, resources are not consumed in manufacturing, and industrial pollution and carbon dioxide are not released.
Simple things like replacing incandescent lightbulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs can reduce the environmental impact of home lighting. Turning off lights and appliances, including computers, when they are not in use can help reduce the environmental damage caused by mining for fuels to generate electricity and can help minimize the creation of greenhouse gasses.
Another way to solve environmental problems on a personal level is to "eat further down the food chain." Animal food products require more resources in their production and generate more greenhouse gasses per calorie than vegetable-based foods, which remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. By eating more plant-based foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables and those made from soy, we can reduce carbon emissions. Some people think that a vegan diet is the only one that is truly environmentally friendly, but simply eating a higher percentage of plant-based foods can have a positive impact on the environment and your health.
Many products are recyclable, and thus reduce environmental strain. Even electronics, such as computers and cell phones, are recyclable. A good way to minimize waste and carbon dioxide output while creating healthy organic fertilizer is to compost plant waste. Whether you buy it or make it, putting the plant waste from your kitchen, like carrot ends or the outer leaves of cabbage or lettuce heads, along with coffee grounds and grass clippings, into a compost bin creates an excellent fertilizer while preventing these items from clogging landfills.
Another way to ensure that your home has the lowest possible environmental footprint is to use eco-friendly cleaning products. From dish soap to laundry detergent, environmentally friendly cleaners are a little more expensive at the point of purchase but will likely be cheaper for all of us in the long run. Similarly, using paper towels and toilet paper made from recycled fibers minimizes the effect on forests.