As the UNFCCC climate change conference is underway, with some governments motivating others to take more sustainable actions, we decided to provide a little motivation on what YOU can do to be a more sustainable citizen. Here are some reminders and a few ideas you may not have thought about yet. We all know the basics, like recycling aluminum, plastic and paper, turning off the faucet in the bathroom while we are brushing our teeth, and turning off the lights when we leave a room. But there are so many other things that you can do in your own home to make your daily activities more sustainable; here are 15 of them:
- Do your part to not only recycle but buy recycled products! P.S. Today is America Recycles Day!
- Donate, Reuse, upcycle– let’s move away from letting everything end up in the trash. Extend the life of products- one man’s trash is another’s treasure.
- Use environmentally-friendly, non-toxic cleaning products. You can even make your own, easily!
- Instead of constantly using disposable paper towels and napkins, use reusable and washable cloth napkins and towels.
- To naturally purify the air in your home, add a plant that takes in the toxins that are commonly found in households. For example, the spider plant is an easy-to-maintain plant that also absorbs formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and benzene from the air. Check out other plants that do the job here.
- Separate your organic waste. Instead of throwing it in your trash, start a compost bin or find places in your area that may collect organic waste.
- Unplug your electronic gadgets when you’re not using them.
- Try to bike, walk, or take public transportation when you can (can also be more of an adventure!)
- It is OK to say no to plastic bags at stores, if you can carry without one– just say no thank you to the bag. You have to be quick sometimes.
- You CAN, CAN, CAN remember your reusable bags at the grocery store.
- Reusable coffee mugs and water bottles are key. Think about how many non-reusable ones are used around the world each day…disgusting!
- Always wash your clothes in cold water and if you can hang dry instead of using dryer- both of these actions save electricity and also make clothes last longer.
- It isn’t necessary to eat meat as part of every meal- if you have the option- go veggie for some meals (healthier too!)
- Delete all your ancient emails- they have carbon footprints and yes they have been calculated.
- Support companies that are making their operations more sustainable- look for third party certifications such as organic and fair trade. GoodGuide is a free app allows you to scan a product at store or when shopping online to find out about company and product’s performance in regards to a variety of environmental and social issues.
Are you feeling motivated? The Sustainability Co-Op is and we would also like to learn from YOU. Please let us know what other sustainable practices you are in the habit of that we didn’t include. In our day-to-day lives we do affect the environment, but little changes can be made to minimize this effect. As governments continue negotiations at the international level, we can do our part by replacing wasteful actions with ones that are more sustainable.