Want to limit your negative impact on the environment? Here are seven ideas to consider:

1. Make your own laundry detergent. At first it seems like something incredibly complicated, right? But it’s really simple and cheap. Here is the recipe my family uses:

• Grate 1 bar of Kirks Castile Soap and mix it with 3 ½ cups of washing soda.

• Use one tablespoon per load. One batch makes 32 loads.

2. Go to www.EWG.org to look up stuff you want to buy and only purchase those with a score of 1. EWG’s app, which you can download on your phone, rates anything from cosmetics to cleaning supplies, so you can look up your shampoo and conditioner or even the bleach you use to clean your bathtub. Furthermore, when you click on products, you can see why each product received the score it did. Fragrance or health hazard concerns, for example, increase the rating. The app makes it much easier to choose products that are better for the environment.

3. Eat plant-based food. Animal products are fairly poor for the environment because it takes a lot of energy and resources to produce them. But you can limit the animal products you consume at whatever level you are comfortable with. Veganism and vegetarianism are lifestyles that reduce animal product intake, but even just limiting by a little how much milk you drink or meat you eat can make a big difference.

4. Bring your own bags. And I mean all bags, including some to use instead of those flimsy bags in the produce section.

5. Take shorter showers. You will be just as clean after a five-minute shower as you will after a 30-minute one — and your water bill and whomever you share a bathroom with will thank you.

6. Drop the plastic when possible. Plastic is everywhere, even on stuff that doesn’t need it. Tip: Go for regular soap over body wash, which is usually in a plastic bottle.

7. Support local farmers. Local farmers are great! Their produce is fresh, closer and usually sprayed with less pesticide. But sometimes the local farmers market hours just don’t work. MoGro Mobile Grocery, which delivers to Santa Fe and other places across Northern New Mexico, provides local produce (called a share), as well as many other locally sourced products and produce, like bread and flour. While the hours may not work as well as Walmart, the closer your produce is grown, the less resources are wasted on transportation, and, honestly, the better they will taste!

Elizabeth Walker is a 2019 graduate of Capital High School. Contact her at bethwalker110@gmail.com.

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