In a consumerism-driven society, it’s sometimes hard to recognize environmentally harmful habits and then take action to practice a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Using the tools and suggestions presented below, you can create a plan to integrate these practices into your daily life..
Understand your Carbon Footprint
In an extremely simplified manner, carbon dioxide is one of the main greenhouse gases that traps heat in our atmosphere. This leads to problems such as global warming which then affects weather patterns. The United States Environmental Protection Agency provides a much more in-depth explanation behind the dangers of greenhouse gases in this overview article.
We can begin to be more mindful about this through our carbon footprint. Our carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide you as an individual or business contribute to our atmosphere. There are plenty of carbon footprint calculators available, but the Terrapass Carbon Footprint calculator allows users to calculate the carbon footprint of not just themselves, but also their businesses and events. These calculators do take a hefty chunk of time to complete and require some in-depth information (such as the make, model, and mileage of your car), but they’re a great starting point to seeing where you are on the scale of eco-friendliness.
Save those leftovers
When we think through the flow of food from farm to table, food waste isn’t just an economic travesty, it’s also a tragedy to the energy and materials put into growing the vegetables or caring for the livestock. For example, think about the water used to nourish plants that might end up in the 37.6 million tons of food waste generated in 2015, according to this article by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The article from the EPA also includes a list of benefits and tips to reducing food waste.
The Atlantic provides an extensive and thoughtful history of leftovers that might help address how Americans have come to create as much food waste as we do. Dinner tonight can very easily become lunch tomorrow, so invest in a sturdy set of reusable containers to save some money and cut down on food waste.
Make your coffee eco-friendly, too
For those of us who make our morning coffee an essential component of our on-the-go routine, consider opting for a reusable mug if you haven’t already. Coffee shops such as Starbucks accept personal cups, and so you can have your coffee and be eco-friendly about it, too. In fact, take an extra step and bring your own coffee from home – in a reusable tumbler or travel mug, of course.
Air out your home
While environmental friendliness is heavily focused on our external environment, it’s also important to pay attention to our indoor conditions. One of the first steps is to begin a habit of airing out your indoor spaces — be it your office or your home — to improve ventilation. Indoor pollutants can also take a toll on your health, and so be on the lookout for mold. Look into the ingredients in the products that you use to clean your home to ensure you’re not using toxic cleaners on a regular basis, according to Proud Green Home.
Take time out of your daily routine to consciously make note of what you use and think about how that might impact our environment. Reuse whenever you can and recycle whenever possible. For more tips, Good Energy offers a list of 20 more habits that can help us all build a more environmentally conscious lifestyle.