Being more sustainable doesn’t mean you have to make radical changes that drastically change your lifestyle. Instead, you can be more eco-friendly by making small changes that will eventually turn into habits.
Did you know? Many employers offer a sustainable workplace as part of their unique employee benefits packages. So whether you’re a business owner trying to attract talent or a homeowner trying to save money while reducing your carbon footprint, you can become more sustainable.
Many people don’t make these changes because they think they will be too difficult to maintain. Luckily, the more you do something, the easier it will become. Eventually, you won’t even have to think about your actions, and all of the habits you build will become part of your daily routine.
Here’s how you can be more sustainable.
Use Less Electricity
Becoming more sustainable simply means using fewer resources, such as electricity. Check out these tips to use less electricity, helping you save the environment and reduce your monthly bills.
Change Your Lightbulbs
Changing your light bulbs takes only a few minutes of your time, and each lightbulb you change uses almost 75% less energy than traditional bulbs. LED lightbulbs last longer than incandescents, so you’ll save money in the long run.
Get an Audit
An energy audit can help you save money and reduce your carbon footprint by telling you how much energy your home or business is losing. It will also provide you with sustainable solutions. To get an audit, contact your local electricity provider or an energy consulting agency.
You might be losing energy due to bad weatherproofing. If you’ve ever noticed that a room doesn’t stay warm in the winter, then you might have gaps between doors and windows. Bad weatherproofing means your air conditioner or heating system will work more than it has to in order to cool or heat your home.
Reduce Water Usage
Using less water doesn’t mean you have to cut your showers in half, although it helps. Try these tips instead:
Install a Low-flow Showerhead
It’s no secret showers use tons of water, especially if you have a large household and everyone showers daily. Most showers have a flow rate of at least 2 gallons per minute, according to the Alliance for Water Efficiency. However, many of us enjoy our alone time and need a little bit longer in the shower every morning. If you love a long shower, try a low-flow showerhead that uses less water.
Use Appliances Wisely
When you run the dishwasher or use the laundry machine, make sure you are washing full loads. If you’re not washing full loads of laundry or dishes, then you’re wasting water. While most washing machines have a setting that will release enough water for your load size, many dishwashers do not. Instead of running your dishwasher when it’s half-full, try waiting until it’s full.
There’s no reason to contribute to the growth of landfills when you don’t have to. Instead of tossing anything you don’t need anymore, try:
Just because you’re done with something doesn’t mean it’s trash. Instead, follow the basic rules for recycling:
- Plastic can usually be recycled in mixed recyclables
- Cardboard can be recycled in the paper section
- Wax paper, plastic bags, and styrofoam cannot be recycled
To start recycling at home, purchase a recycling bin for your kitchen so you feel compelled to stop throwing everything right into the trash can. Talk to your landlord if you live in an apartment that doesn’t have a recycling bin outside. Sustainable solutions are among the top amenities renters want, so your property manager might be willing to work with you.
Stop Using Plastic Bags
Plastic bags are convenient when you’re at the grocery store, but they aren’t your only option. Instead of using your local shop’s bag options, bring your reusable grocery bags. You can keep them in your car so you never forget them at home again. While most of us get our plastic bags from the grocery store or shopping at the mall, pet owners also have a use for plastic bags.
Luckily, you don’t have to use plastic bags for waste when walking your dog. Instead, you can use biodegradable pet waste bags.
Instead of always buying the newest clothes, try secondhand shopping. The fashion industry is one of the biggest offenders when it comes to waste production. Instead of contributing, you can find clothes that match any style at your local thrift store.
Try Reusable Rags
Paper towels are known for being convenient for picking up spills and cleaning your kitchen. However, they’re not sustainable. Instead of grabbing a new paper towel every time you spill something on the floor or countertop, try a reusable rag. When you’re done with your rag, you can throw it into the washing machine instead of in the trash.
Stop Purchasing Water Bottles
Check out your office the next time you have spare time. The odds are everyone is drinking water from a plastic water bottle, and many of your coworkers probably have old half-used water bottles on their desks. You may even have water bottles at home if you don’t like tap water.
As you know, disposable water bottles are plastic, which means they’ll only end up adding to landfills when you’re done with them. Instead of grabbing a new plastic water bottle every time you’re thirsty, try using the same water bottle, a reusable cup, or a reusable water bottle. If your workplace doesn’t have access to an area to fill up your water, try bringing your water filter from home to share with the office.
Similarly, instead of drinking out of plastic water bottles when you’re at home, get a water pitcher with a filter so you can have the same great taste without adding to your carbon footprint.
Learn the Labels
Everything you purchase has a label. It’s time you learn how to read those labels. Sustainable brands are easy to spot since they promote their sustainability efforts on their labels. For example, Fair Trade certified goods are dedicated to sustainability and corporate responsibility.
While driving is a necessary evil for getting to work, you might not need to drive as often as you do. The next time it’s nice out, consider all of the errands you have to run and how far away the shops are located. If you live in a city, walking is going to be your best option to avoid traffic anyway. However, if you live in the suburbs, you might not have access to shops that are within walking distance. Instead, contact a friend to see if they have any errands they need to run. Instead of two cars on the road, you can ride together.
The same concept can apply to your daily commute to work. If you know a coworker that lives near you, ask if they’d like to start carpooling to work to reduce your carbon footprint.
You can’t change your behavior overnight, but you can choose to become more conscious of how your actions impact your planet. Choose anything on this list and try it for a week to see if you can get it to become part of your routine. Once you’ve accomplished one sustainable task, the rest will become easier.
About the Author
Matt Casadona has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with a concentration in Marketing and a minor in Psychology. Matt is passionate about marketing and business strategy and enjoys San Diego life, traveling, and music.