20 Everyday Ways to Use Less Oil
Oil and petroleum products dominate our day-to-day lives, often in ways that may not be obvious. Although it is tough to eliminate that daily car commute (unless you happily live close enough to be able to ride a bicycle to work), there are small but effective changes you can make you reduce your oil dependence. Every little bit helps, and we've compiled some of our favorite tips for rethinking your everyday oil usage.
1. Start a Carpool
Even two people commuting together on the daily ride to work is a great idea for using less oil (and saving money). You can also search online for ride sharing opportunities that already exist in your city.
2. Buy Organic and/or Local Seasonal Produce
Commercial fertilizers and pesticides rely heavily on petrochemicals for their production. Switching to organic can dramatically reduce oil usage. Similarly, even conventional produce that is locally grown and sold eliminates the hundreds (and even thousands) of miles of transportation that grocery store produce travels before making its way to your table. And to further reduce your oil usage, you can...
3. Grow a Garden
Even the smallest spaces can yield a surprising number of vegetables and herbs! For apartments and balconies, container gardens can supplement your local produce shopping, and raised beds are an excellent way to convert small backyards into lush, high-yield garden spaces. Use natural fertilizers, such as organic fish emulsion, and check the internet for a wealth of DIY organic pesticide sprays, made from botanicals and safe household ingredients.
4. Use a Manual Push Mower
Save gas, save money, and get a great workout all at the same time! It's a win-win for you and the Earth!
5. Ditch Those Disposables
Invest in a set of reusable plates and cutlery for all of your picnics, parties and outdoor events. Disposable paper products and, even worse, disposable plastic products are not only an unnecessary waste of oil (in production and creation) but they add to our already brimming landfills. You can find great alternatives made from glass, bamboo and even recycled BPA free plastic that are lively and festive while reducing waste, oil use, and saving you money!
Besides all of the ethical and ecological repercussions of purchasing bottled water (which we will discuss in a future blog post), production of these disposable bottles requires a vast amount of oil. In the United States alone, the production of one year's worth of bottles consumes over 17 million barrels of oil! Instead, take along a reusable container, and fill your bottle from water fountains, municipal water sources, or take advantage of free water at restaurants and fast food establishments. You can find our favorite reusable glass bottles HERE.
7. Download Music, Games and Movies
Besides the fact that it's usually cheaper, faster and easier to download your favorite movies, music and games, it's better for the planet! CDs and DVDs are made almost entirely from pure polycarbonate plastic, are usually sold in a plastic case, and then shirk wrapped in, you guessed it, plastic! Save time, money and oil with instant downloads.
8. Bring Your Own Bags to Shop
9. Avoid Synthetic Fabrics in Clothing
Fabrics like polyester, acrylic and nylon are all made from petroleum products. A better solution? Choose clothing made from natural fiber, such as organic cotton, hemp, and wool. And don't forget about those plastic jewelry accessories! Try mixing it up with natural stones, sustainable wood or recycled glass jewelry.
10. Use Natural Beauty Products
11. Switch to Beeswax or Soy Candles
Most commercial candles are made from paraffin wax, which is derived from petroleum, coal and oil byproducts. Make the switch to natural soy or beeswax candles to beautify your home while reducing your oil usage!
12. Buy Fewer Plastic Toys
In a marketplace saturated with plastic toys, it's hard to go completely green when your kids get excited about the next big toy craze. By limiting plastic toys and adding in eco-friendly alternatives, such as toys made from sustainable wood, you can reduce your oil dependence in the playroom. Wooden toys may be a slightly larger investment, but the great news is that they are durable and long lasting, and often become family heirlooms that can be passed down for generations.
13. Change Your Home Energy Habits
You don't need to invest in expensive equipment or remodeling to reduce oil dependence in your home. Starting new habits, like dropping the thermostat by a few degrees, turning off lights and computers, and checking your air ducts can significantly "greenify" your home. Check out this great article that busts some common myths about energy conservation at home: Myth Busters: 8 Ideas About Energy Debunked!
Do you have any oil reduction tips to share? We'd love to hear how you have made simple changes that reduce your oil and petroleum dependence!