Going green in 2020? Many of us are. The trend towards environmental responsibility continues to grow, and many hope it becomes the standard way of life in this country. Until that day, you can exercise environmental responsibility by making small changes in your personal life and business. With new improvements in technology constantly emerging and research on environmental issues regularly revealing new data, those changes are getting easier to make without sacrificing your lifestyle.
Beyond recycling, how can you transition towards a green way of life?
Going Green at Home
- Install faucet aerators. Inexpensive and easy to install, faucet aerators reduce the flow of water out of your sink faucet, resulting in savings on your water bill.
- Install low-flow shower heads. A low-flow showerhead will significantly reduce the amount of water dispersed from your shower head without reducing water pressure.
- Install a low-flow, dual flush toilet or put a brick in your toilet tank. You can turn your old toilet into a low-flow version by putting a brick (wrapped in a waterproof plastic bag) into your tank. This will displace and reduce the amount of water wasted on every flush.
- Wait till you have a full load of laundry to wash and wash in cold water. This saves both water and energy on washing your clothes. Clothes get just as clean and you save the energy that would be spent on unnecessary washing or heating the water.
- Line dry your clothes or rack dry your clothes. This saves energy and reduces air and water pollution from power plants.
- Install a programmable thermostat for savings on your utility bills while also saving energy and reducing pollution.
- Replace your light bulbs with LED lights. (Tip for the budget: purchase on sale and change out bulbs over time.) Although a small investment initially, this change can save you a great deal of money and energy over the lifespan of the LED bulbs.
- Replace the weatherstripping on your doors and windows to prevent cold air from escaping during the summer and heat from leaking out during the winter.
- Insulate your hot water heater and your water pipes. Your water heater won’t have to work as hard if you have pipe insulation and water heater blankets, resulting in savings on electricity.
- Run your dishwasher only when it is full to reduce unnecessary use of water and energy needed to clean your dishes.
- Use washable rags instead of paper towels. By using rags to clean around the house, you’ll save money as well as trees.
- Don’t buy bottled water! Bottled water contains plastic toxins and has a hugely detrimental impact on the entire planet. Purchase a faucet water filter and a reusable water bottle to save money and help the environment.
- Put a stop to junk mail coming to your mailbox. Junk mail is not just annoying. Producing it destroys trees and its delivery requires gasoline. Approximately 44% of junk mail goes to landfills unopened, where it produces methane, a greenhouse gas 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide. State and local governments spend hundreds of millions of dollars per year to collect and dispose of all the bulk mail that does not get recycled.
OptOutPrescreen.com – opt out of preapproved credit card and insurance offers online or by phone: 1-888-5-OPTOUT.
DirectMail.com – free, quick way to get your name off commercial mailing lists.
YellowPagesGoesGreen – remove your name and address from phonebook mailing lists.
YellowPagesOptOut – remove yourself from phonebook deliveries.
PaperKarma – this amazing smartphone app lets you take photos of unwanted mail and submit them. The service then contacts the mailer to request they remove you from their distribution list.
Catalog Choice – This free service stops unwanted store catalogs from being delivered to your mailbox.
- Recycle unneeded and outdated records, files, and paperwork. How can you do this and keep confidential information secure? Sierra Shred can responsibly destroy and recycle your sensitive documents. Did you know? Each ton of shredded and recycled paper saves:
7000 gallons of water
3.3 cubic yards of landfill space
4000 kilowatts of energy
60 pounds of air pollutants
Going Green in the Yard
- Install a rain barrel. Rain barrels collect rainwater from your downspouts and the water saved can then be used to water all your outdoor plants.
- Compost your food scraps. Composting save waste from going to the landfill and can be done even in an apartment.
- Use native plants for your landscaping, especially trees. Trees not only help keep your home cooler by providing shade, but also help to absorb CO2 in the air. They also look beautiful and add to your property value.
- Install outdoor solar lights. Instead of lighting the exterior of your home using electricity at night, install some solar path lights that charge during the day. You can even get a solar-powered motion detecting light for increased security in the evenings!
Going Green in the Car
- Reduce your commute. If it is available, use public transportation to get to work or carpool with others.
- Consolidate your errands to reduce the number of individual car trips and save gas as well as wear and tear on your car. It also helps improve air quality in your area.
- Avoid idling your car. It contributes to the area’s smog and unless you are sitting in traffic, it uses more gas to idle your vehicle for 30 seconds than it does to turn it off and restart it.
- Rotate your car tires and keep them filled. Keeping your tires inflated to the right PSI and rotated regularly saves fuel.
- If possible, use a bicycle to get to school, work, or to run errands instead of driving.
Going Green at Work
- Use reusable water bottles and mugs at work. Our landfills and oceans are filling up with disposable plastic water bottles. With reusable water bottles, you save money and won’t ingest the plastic residue contained in disposable plastic bottles. Drink coffee from your own mug instead of disposable cups that end up in landfills, too.
- Use reusable dishes and silverware in the office kitchen or break room. Replacing disposable utensils with reusable products that simply require washing is a very effective way to reduce the amount of disposable products that have to be discarded.
- Use non-toxic cleaning products to tidy up. Switch to cleaning products created from natural substances instead of hazardous chemicals that are dangerous to the environment.
- Send files and documents electronically whenever possible and be conscious of your printing habits. It’s best to print using the double-sided printing option that comes with many of today’s printers. If that’s not an option, then print what you must and reuse the sheet of paper by writing on the blank side if you can.
- Buy re-manufactured ink. Re-manufactured ink is affordable and producers of manufactured ink help to keep excess metals and disposables out of the environment.
- Designate an area for the office’s recyclables and make sure they are put out for collection regularly.
- To dispose of old records and paperwork in an environmentally-responsible way, use a professional shredding service such as Sierra Shred. All material is securely shredded and then recycled.
- Use LED lights. LED lights conserve energy and last much longer than standard light bulbs while brightly illuminating your workspace.
- Buy eco-friendly office supplies. When you buy recycled products, you are supporting initiatives that preserve trees and natural resources.
- Use refillable pens. Reusable pens simply require cartridge changes and can be used for a long period of time.
- Telecommute whenever possible. Many companies are seeing the benefit in allowing staff to work remotely when possible. Telecommuting increased by 159% from 2005 to 2017. Working remotely increases productivity by allowing the time traditionally used for a commute to be used on actual work endeavors and is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint.
- Recycle old office furniture and equipment. Although it’s common practice to throw away the old items, many may be recyclable or composed of parts that can be recycled instead of going to the landfill.
Sustainability starts at home, in your household, and in your place of business. Going green doesn’t have to be overwhelming; you can transition to environmentally-responsible habits gradually. Getting started is the hardest part. You can help save the environment and save yourself some money by adopting these practices in 2020.
Jamie Spence | Content Manager
Seota Digital Marketing 972.737.2830