Everyone wants to be eco-friendly, but for people living with a disability, it's not always easy. Certain items that may make it possible for you to live your life independently, like plastic, bendy straws, and pre-cut vegetables in plastic packaging, aren't as environmentally friendly. You should not ever feel guilty about using products that help you, but a disability does not mean you cannot be kind to the environment. Read on for some ideas on how to incorporate eco-friendly habits into your life without affecting how you live with your disability.
Pay attention to your energy usage
Some items, such as a wheelchair's battery, fall detectors, and the computers and tablets you use to communicate, are worth every bit of energy they use up. However, if you are wanting to keep your energy bills down and consume less energy, you can save energy in other areas of your home.
Have the lightbulbs in your home switched to LED bulbs, which are available in different levels of brightness and colors, use less energy, and last much longer than traditional bulbs. So, in the long-term, you won't have to replace the bulbs as often. Limit the amount of power you pay for when you're not using your items, too. Keep your home's small appliances and chargers on power strips, so it's easy to turn it off when the items are not in use, saving energy and money.
Watch the amount of meat you consume
The production of meat, from the livestock taking up land and water that could be used for renewable crops, to the packaging it comes in, to the huge output of greenhouse gases, is a problem for the environment. The best way for individuals to lessen that impact is to reduce the amount of meat they eat.
Try Meatless Mondays, or have meatless lunches for a week, which doesn't just help the environment, but can be a money saver. Vegan and vegetarian recipes and restaurants are becoming more plentiful, so you try some new cuisine while being environmentally friendly.
Go beyond recycling
You are already dividing your paper and plastic, and recycling aluminum cans, because you probably wouldn't read this article if you didn't! But you can do more to limit the amount of trash you send to a landfill. Composting food items are becoming easier and available to more people, even those who live in apartments in big cities. Used cooking oil can be a problem to get rid of, but there are ways to avoid that hassle, too.
Use flooring that's friendly to the Earth and wheelchairs
Bamboo trees grow quickly, making it a sustainable surface to use for flooring. The floors are also easy to clean and don't require the vacuuming carpets do. Wheelchairs glide easily across the smooth surface of bamboo floors. When choosing flooring, you won't have to choose between accessibility and eco-friendliness.
Block drafts without blocking wheelchairs
Too often, draft stopping strategies involve a raised threshold, blocking easy access from wheelchairs. But another and less expensive option exists. Fabric door snakes sit on your doors and can move easily with the door without blocking wheelchairs. It can also be used on drafty windows. You can buy it for less than $30, or if you have a crafty side, make it yourself. Either way, you're keeping your home warmer and saving money on energy costs.
Think secondhand first when buying clothing
The fashion industry is a notorious polluter, and fast fashion has just added to the impact the industry makes on the planet. To try and lessen the demand for clothing is to shop for secondhand clothes, which keeps it out of the landfill and prolongs the life of clothes.
Gone are the days when you had to go to a bricks and mortar secondhand shop with cramped aisles. Online stores like ThredUp, Poshmark and The RealReal offer gently used clothes, and sometimes new with tags in a wide variety of sizes, styles, and lengths. This way you can find clothes that can give you the look you want and the accessibility you need. An added bonus? You will find some great deals as well.
Choose renewable items when you can
If you can find products made of paper or wood, always choose those over anything made of plastic. Bring reusable bags to every store, and at the grocery store, don't bag vegetables that don't need any protection, such as onions and potatoes.
Being eco-friendly isn't always easy, especially when you are living with a disability. But it is a habit you can adopt like any other, undertaking ways to reduce your impact on Planet Earth.
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