10 Things You Can Do to Help Save Resources | By Mary Grygiel

 

You don’t need to be a climate scientist or leading environmentalist to take a stand for the planet. Climate issues are human issues, and although the problems are many and complex, the solutions are many and simple.


1. Unplug vampire electronics. Even when in standby or off mode, most electronics will pull energy from the socket. Unplugging these ‘vampire devices’ when not in use saves a yearly 9 kWh for each watt of continuous consumption — and can save you up to 10% on your energy bill.

2. Carry a reusable bag. About half of the plastic we use, we use only once before throwing ‘away’. Every year, an estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic enter our oceans; that’s the equivalent of five grocery bags full of plastic pieces per every foot of coastline around the world. The easiest way to stop plastic pollution: say no to single-use plastics. 

3. #Banthebead. Avoid products with plastic microbeads. Often marketed as exfoliating scrubs, tiny plastic spheres in facial cleansers and toothpastes are slipping through water treatment plants and into our waterways, where they’re eaten by coral reefs, fish and other animals, eventually working their way into humans. Worse, these beads act as sponges for harmful pollutants and other synthetic contaminants. This past January the U.S. passed in to law the Microbead Free Waters Act of 2015.

4. Mind your food miles. Try to limit the origin-to-plate distance of your meals. Choosing locally raised and in-season ingredients isn’t just sustainable, it’s typically healthier, tastier and even cheaper than conventional supermarket options. Research your local farmers market or consider a CSA share to ‘green’ your home cooking. 

5. Compost. The less waste we generate, the less energy and resources needed to dispose of it. Americans toss about 25% of the food and beverages they buy. Rather than throwing food scraps (and money) into the trash, help close the loop and give back to the soil with a compost bin. Check with your local waste management for collection and drop-off information. Bonus: with less waste, you’ll cut back on plastic garbage bags. 

6. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rethink. Before you buy something, consider the lifetime of the product and materials. Before you throw something away, consider its potential lifetime — and look for ways to extend it. E.G., old newspapers make excellent wrapping paper. The golden rule: less is more. Consume accordingly. 

7. Walk or bike to work. It’s no secret that cars emit harmful greenhouse gases that pollute our air, warm our planet and acidify our oceans. Walk, run, bike, rollerblade or take public transportation if you have the option. If you must drive, carpool with friends. 

8. Go meat free...at least once a week. While vegan and vegetarian diets provide a quick and powerful way to lower your carbon and water footprint, not everyone has the willpower to stick to it. By eating meat free at least one day each week, you can help combat unethical food systems on land, and prevent overfishing in the oceans. 

9. Get involved. With knowledge comes responsibility — and power. Read up on environmental news, follow and support conservation organizations and get involved in your local community. Even small commitments of time and money can add up to make a big difference for the planet. 

10. Pass it on. Set an example others will want to follow. You can multiply the impact of what you DO by gently encouraging others to do the same.