- Reuse your stuff. You may already be carrying reusable bags to the store, and if so, thank you! If not, get a few made from cloth or recycled plastic. In your car, backpack or desk drawer, an extra bag can be very handy. By not using paper or plastic bags from stores, you can reduce the amount of plastic thrown away annually—each year, there are enough discarded plastic bags and bottles to circle the earth four times (ecowatch.com). Also, how about bringing some cloth towels to the office to cut down on paper towel use? We go through about 45 pounds of paper towels per person per year. According to a Harvard University report, paper towels account for 20-40% of office waste. Use reusable water bottles; look for BPA-free materials and American-made to reduce the hidden transportation and energy costs of cheaper bottles.
- Commute in a more earth-friendly way. There are many ways to reduce your carbon footprint, which is the total amount of greenhouse gases caused by an individual, company, activity, etc. According to Wikipedia, “most of the carbon footprint emissions for the average U.S. household come from "indirect" sources, i.e. fuel burned to produce goods far away from the final consumer.” Help reduce your footprint by car-pooling or trading off with other parents to drive kids to practices and events. There are also several ride-sharing programs, check out this article from greenlivingideas.com on the best apps for carpooling and ride sharing: http://greenlivingideas.com/2015/07/22/15-best-apps-for-carpool-and-rideshare-in-2015/. And don’t forget you can always walk or ride a bike to your destination. Setting a distance under which you won’t drive gives good structure to your drive vs. walk debate. Start with a .5 mile and work up from there. It will improve the environment inside and outside your body.
- Green your house. You can start collecting your food scraps for compost. Add it to your yard waste bin and it will help make nutritious soil and stay out of the landfill. How about setting up a rainwater catchment system to collect the rainwater for you to use during the dry season?
- Review your energy and water use. Is there a clean energy company in your area? When was the last time you checked your bills for any noticeable changes or odd trends? One easy way to save energy in your home of office is by replacing the light bulbs with energy-saving CFL or LED lights. To find out more about renewable energy in your area, check out renewal energy world at: http://buyersguide.renewableenergyworld.com/.
- Clean up your cleaning. Use earth-friendly shampoo, hand and laundry soap, dishwasher detergent and floor cleaners; you get the idea. By keeping toxic chemicals found in conventional cleaners out of the environment, you are saving the water quality of our drinking supply; not only for people, but also for all the animals and crops we grow.
Happy New Year! As we open 2017, we encourage you to remember that our home, the earth that supports us all, is being damaged at an incredible rate. Every action we take can help undo the effects of plastic choking the oceans, pollution rendering our air more and more toxic, disappearing animal and plant species, and more. So here are some easy and effective resolutions to make this year your greenest and most sustainable yet. Together we really can make a difference. Check out these ideas for a healthier planet:
SBS believes in the value of collaboration. Our post come from ideas and issues our team feels passionate about. We offer a combination of topical sustainability issues and applicable tips for every month of the year.