In honor of #EarthDay2022, we wanted to share our best tips for better everyday sustainability!
Lets face it...our Earth could use a much needed pick-me-up to get back to it's original glory. Yes, I know it's going to take way more than what's listed in this post, but every little step counts! To be honest, it's really all hands on deck for this one, because Mother Nature didn't harm herself, we did. This list may be short, but its affects are mighty.
Here is a list of 10 easy ways you can incorporate sustainability in your everyday life.
10. Bring your own doggy bag
Next time you're out enjoying an awesome meal out, opt out of the extra packaging provided by the restaurant and choose to bring your own instead. I know it may seem a bit "weird" to be carrying around a set of your favorite Tupperware, but if you didn't save room to finish your entire meal and you want to bring the rest home, this is your best bet. The good thing, is you won't have the hassle of having to discard the extra packaging! Of course there will be times where having your own storage solution isn't an option, but if you're the type to plan ahead, just do it!
9. Change all of your light bulbs to LED
LED or light emitting diode, is one of the most environmentally friendly changes you can make in your home. Not only can LED bulbs last 25 times longer than regular incandescent bulbs, they are also non-toxic and free of any harsh chemicals. LED's help you reduce your energy cost, which in turn help you save money! Their energy efficiency is more effective than conventional bulbs because they don't require a ton of power to produce the light they emit. But, even with all of the significant benefits of utilizing these bulbs, we still must do our part to make sure they're recycled properly at the end of the lifespan. If you live in Minnesota, feel free to contact www.glrnow.com to properly recycle your LED bulbs as well as all of your specialty recyclables.
8. Opt out of credit card offers and other miscellaneous junk mail
If you're home is anything like mine, then you too have a plethora of junk mail and miscellaneous promotional pieces from every place around town! I always feel so guilty when I have to throw a heavily inked mailer in the trash because I have no use for it. I found out the hard way that I no longer have to receive all of these pesky pieces of paper. Instead, I can just opt out. The USPS has partnered with a third party service called DMAchoice where you can remove your name from promotional mailing list for 10 years for a small fee. Just enter your information, send or pay the fee, ($2 if done online, $3 through certified or registered mail) and you're good to go! I can't guarantee all of your promo mail will stop, but you will definitely see a big difference. Same with credit card offers...just call the number on the back of the document, (you may have to read the fine print) follow the prompts and PRESTO! Reducing the amount of mail we receive not only reduces the load of our postal workers, it also saves many resources like ink, trees, and manpower.
7. Leave packaging of large purchases at the store
Buying that new TV this weekend, are we? Well the good news is you don't have to take the heavy box with you if you don't want it. Most retailers have systems in place to recycle boxes and packaging materials, which is one less thing for you to worry about. If you are bringing home big box items, make sure to bring some protection with you so your item(s) aren't damaged during transport. If you absolutely must take home the item with the packaging, make sure you recycle as much as you can of what's left over.
6. GO PAPERLESS!
That's it...that's the tip! Compile all of your bills, statements, etc., call them up and let them know you want to receive all of them digitally. In some instances, this is not yet possible, but for those that are, you'll save a heap of time, space, and money by paying your bills online and not through the mail.
5. Convert your heating, cooling and water temperature through a Geothermal System
A Geo-what?? The origin of the word geothermal is simple; geo (earth) and therme (heat) which means heat from the earth. Geothermal energy is basically a true source of renewable energy because the energy that is harnessed with this method is coming directly from the earth. Yes, right from the ground. More than 70% of energy output of a home is greatly due to heating, cooling and water heating. With a geothermal heating/cooling system, you can reduce your home's emissions as much as 80% and totally wipe out the need for natural gas or any other type of heating fuel. The way that natural gas is extracted is a whole other post in itself. (Search fracking you'll be amazed.) There are several types of geothermal systems with the most common one being direct heat which is a process of using heated water from the ground. Installing a geothermal system can be expensive on the front end, but the endless amount of benefits and resources outweigh the cost in the long run.
4. Cut single use plastics by bringing your own reusable cutlery and straws
Plastic. One of the best and worst inventions in modern day history. A material that changed life on earth as we know it. As innovative as it is, plastic is also a silent nemesis that is wrecking havoc on our environment, our health and homes; especially single use plastic which equals about 40% of all plastic usage. Items such as cups, cutlery, plates, straws etc. are the main culprits. (Those are the same items from your favorite restaurant!) The amount of time that it takes to make these single use monsters; package, export or import doesn't add up to the time it takes us to use it for 10 minutes to eat a salad, or to slurp that sweet icee and throw it in the trash. The remedy? BRING YOUR OWN. As of right now, you can find reusable straws and cutlery at all of the big name retailers. All it takes is a bit of effort and a one time cost and you're in the green.
3. BYOB (Bring your own bags!)
Bring your own bags when shopping...period. The lifespan of the average plastic bag from the time you place your items inside of it and reach your destination is 12 MINUTES! Americans use 500,000 plastic bags every single minute and about 200,000 plastic bags are put in the land fill every hour. YIKES! Don't just bring them to the grocery store, but any store would appreciate your effort of bringing your bags with you. Some stores even pay you back to shop with your own bags. Even if you still have a ton of plastic bags, just keep using them over and over again. Keep them in arms reach in your car or by the door so when you're ready to get your shop on, you have what you need and you can stretch that bag just a bit further. Oh and once you're finished with your bags, stop at your nearest grocer. Some of them accept used plastic bags and they will recycle them for you.
2. Don't Litter
We all know how easy it is to dispose of your trash out the window of your car. It's also equally as easy for you to wait to find a trash or recycling bin to dispose of it properly too. We absolutely take for granted how bad we treat the place we call home in the name of convenience. Just because we can, doesn't mean we should. We all must do our part to allow our rock to sustain life as long as it can. We must do better! So before you think about tossing that cup out the window, think again. You are responsible for the items you choose to bring into your orbit. Dispose of them properly. P.S. (It's time to start holding these corporations accountable for the things they produce too!)
1. Unplug small electronics when not in use
Did you know that electronics that are plugged in and not used often still drain energy? Most times, we keep small appliances plugged in at all times, which is taxing on your energy consumption in the long run. When not in use, simply unplug these items until you're ready to use them again. Obviously, items like your refrigerator shouldn't be unplugged, but if your outlet is in reach, don't hesitate to pull that plug. Using EnergyStar appliances in your home will also make a world of difference. Your wallet will thank you too!
Shop our favorite Earth Day finds from Good Morning America! Click here
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