Tips to Living Sustainably

We can all contribute in our own way to improving the environment. Many people don’t have the time to volunteer or lobby for more sustainable practices. Here are some tips we can all use in our daily lives to promote a greener environment.

 

1 Go Reusable -  We produce 300 million tons of plastic each year worldwide, half of which are single-use. That’s nearly equivalent to the weight of the entire human population. Reducing plastic use is the most effective means of avoiding this waste (and the impacts linked to plastic production and use).

 

2 Reduce before recycling - Consider buying only necessities. Take a “consumption vacation.” Resist impulse buying. Try living with less.  https://earth911.com/how-and-buy/good-better-best-cut-consumer-carbon-footprint/

 

3 Transition to LED Lighting - The average American home has around 40 lightbulbs. Replacing them with LEDs could save $300 a year on energy costs. That makes up for the higher upfront cost of LEDs. https://blog.arcadia.com/led-vs-regular-lightbulbs-do-they-make-a-difference/#.

 

4 Hang it out to dry! - The clothes dryer consumes 5% of an average household’s energy usage. Hang your clothing on an outdoor clothesline or an indoor drying rack. https://www.thespruce.com/reasons-to-line-dry-laundry-2145997

 

5 That Plastic Water Bottle! - It is estimated that 500 billion water bottles are produced worldwide each year, and the average person uses 156 plastic water bottles a year. Only 29% of the water bottles in the US are recycled. The rest are incinerated, thrown away, or landfilled. And you can save money! Costs vary depending on the state and brand, but bottled water can cost 1000 times more than tap water. Most municipal water costs less than 1 cent per gallon, while a water bottle typically costs over $1 for 20 ounces. https://www.theworldcounts.com/stories/Bottled_Water_Waste_Facts

 

6 That plastic grocery bag! - The world uses 5 trillion plastic bags a year! The average American uses one bag a day, and only 10% of those are recycled. Try using a reusable grocery bag. https://www.womenshealthmag.com/food/g37211356/best-reusable-grocery-bags/

 

7 Buy energy-efficient appliances - Using energy-efficient appliances can reduce power consumption by as much as 20 to 50 percent. Look for the Energy Star logo. 

https://www.mrappliance.ca/blog/2020/march/do-energy-star-appliances-really-save-money-/#:~:text=Depending%20on%20the%20number%20and,on%20your%20monthly%20energy%20bills

 

8 Say no to to-go waste - Getting food “to-go” is convenient but can come with an environmental cost because of the packaging, usually single-use plastic. Buy from restaurants that don’t use plastic packaging and consider using your own reusable to-go containers.

 

9 Use cloth napkins, diapers, and rags instead of disposable diapers and paper towels. 

 

10 Drive less. Consolidate trips, carpool, use more public transportation, drive more fuel-efficient vehicles. Transportation contributes almost 30% to all man-made CO2 emissions. 

https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/sources-greenhouse-gas-emissions#:~:text=Transportation%20

11 Compost your kitchen and yard scraps - It is estimated that composting diverts 50 million tons of waste from our landfills. It reduces methane emissions and the use of fertilizer. https://uspirg.org/reports/usp/composting-america

 

12 Go solar - The price of solar panels continues to drop making solar a viable energy option. And solar’s carbon footprint is 13 times lower than that of natural gas.

https://www.treehugger.com/how-much-co-does-one-solar-panel-create-4868753

 

13 Buy local - Local shopping reduces transportation costs, pollution, and keeps profits within the community. Try shopping at farmers' markets, eating at farm to table restaurants, and joining a local “farm share” program. Look for stores that are zero waste or trying to get there.

https://www.leapforlocalfood.org/find-food

 

14 Donate and share unwanted goods - Donate to or shop at the local thrift store or charity shop. Network with friends and interested parties on social media. Share or trade goods and ideas. “I joined a ‘buy nothing’ group in my community on Facebook. We are all happily giving each other stuff we do not use anymore and getting to know our neighbours in the process.”

 

15  Bank and invest responsibly - Bank locally. Consider investing in environmentally and socailly concious businesses and funds. https://time.com/6101092/environmentally-friendly-investments/

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