The effects of climate change is something that no individual or man-made technology has any power over, but that doesn’t mean that as a collective race, we can’t play our part in slowing it down. Below are 10 highly economical actions you can start taking to immediately reduce your carbon footprint and play your part in protecting our beloved Mother Earth.
You can’t go to any neighborhood or public place without seeing recycling areas these days. Take an extra 10 conscious seconds to simply separate and dispose of your waste the right way.
By recycling effectively, you’re not just reducing the need to extract new materials and cut down trees, you’re reducing the amount that needs to be burned at waste plants, along with the toxic gases required to physically clean the ash from the incinerators.
Use Public Transport and Car Sharing
Flying as little as possible and taking the bus for your daily commute is one of the best ways to be economical and save yourself a ton of cash as well. The average American spends 18 full days in their car over the course of a year, and a big portion of that is spent stuck in traffic.
If you must drive, ditch the gas altogether and go electric if possible. Share your commutes with carpooling services and apps like KarPooler, Cozi and ZimRide.
Purchase Organic Produce
According to a study from the World Institute, food travels an average of 1,500 miles to get from the farming sites to the grocery stores. This means that a lot of them are processed so they stay fresh for longer, plus mass produced in ways which are terribly inhumane towards the animals.
By sourcing your fruit, veg and meat locally, it supports organic farming and reduces the carbon emissions normally used to transport these goods. You’ll also benefit from higher quality produce that’s fresh, chemical-free and tastes better.
Make Your Own Compost
So many raw materials we would typically consider to be waste are the absolute opposite. Keep hold of stems, roots, vegetable peels and grass cuttings, as all of these things can be recycled and used to replenish the ground where they came from. It also means that farms don’t need to use as many fertilizers or chemicals to prevent the vegetation from getting diseases.
Use Less Water
We waste so much water in our everyday lives. Whether it’s leaving the tap on while we brush our teeth, taking extra long showers, or running our appliances on full wash cycles unnecessarily. We can save so much water just by paying closer attention to how much and how often we use it. In addition, you can reduce plastic waste by filtering your own water instead of buying packaged bottles. Tap water is safe to consume in most Western countries, so we shouldn’t take this for granted.
Switch Off Lights and Appliances
Household appliances are estimated to use up approximately 64% of our overall energy bills each year. Only 25% goes on heating the pipes in our home, 13% to heat our water, and 11% is used for the cooling systems. You can make your house more eco-friendly just by unplugging appliances, switching off lights when you’re not at home, replacing your lights with energy-saving bulbs like LED, turning down your water heater and thermostat, and using a laptop to save power instead of a desktop computer.
Cut Down on Paper
We live in a digital world where the need for paper is becoming less and less; however, according to the Global Forest Resource Assessment, close to 160,000 trees are still cut down every single day to fund the paper industry. The average American discards 13,000 individual sheets of paper each year, primarily in the form of junk mail.
If you haven’t already set your bank statements and bills to arrive electronically, now is the time to do it. For special occasions like Christmas and birthdays, use e-cards instead or traditional greetings cards.
Consider Switching to a Plant-Based Diet
The methane and carbon gases emitted from cows are some of the worst for the environment, but it’s the land, food and water needed which takes the biggest toll on the environment. In order to produce just 1 pound of meat, we use approximately 2,500 gallons of water and 16 pounds of vegetation.
The greenhouse gases emitted from one single serving of chicken or pork is around 20% less than a serving of beef. Red meat has also been closely linked to increased risks of heart disease, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes.
Buy Clothes with Natural Fibers
Opting for clothes that are fairtrade or made from sustainable materials is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. It also contributes to the lives of the employees and families who work hard to make them. Some fabrics also have a heavy impact on the environment, with the worst being Nylon and polyester.
This is because they aren’t bio-degradable and the manufacturing processes generate harmful Nitrous Oxide gases. Stick with sustainable fabrics like hemp, linen (made from flax), organic wool and recycled polyester.
Drink and Eat with Reusable Items
Next time you go to grab a Starbucks, pick up one of their reusable coffee cups. These cups are usually dishwasher safe and will keep your drink hotter for longer – plus, you’ll be contributing to the reduction of paper waste.
Most coffee shops provide a nice 10% discount or more when you order your morning brew in a reusable mug, which adds up to some nice savings over time.
You’ll be giving the future generations a big helping hand simply by implementing these eco-friendly changes into your daily routine. Who knows, if everyone starts doing their bit for the planet now we might all just be able to live on it a little longer as a result…
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