This is one of the simplest ways to help the cause. Practice sustainability in your home and your daily life. This can be done a small scale, like using reusable bags for groceries, or on a large scale, by supporting candidates for public office and programs that support sustainability.
Need help being sustainable?
In the six weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year's, Americans make an EXTRA MILLION TONS of trash PER WEEK. Much of the extra waste is from boxes, wrapping and tissue paper, ribbons and bows.
WASTE-FREE LUNCH AND SAVE MONEY
Even if its work lunches or school lunches, mornings come early and time is at a premium. While it is convenient to purchase pre-packaged items for lunches, the price of convenience is high.
FACTS ABOUT REUSABLE BAGS
The bag you choose does make a difference! Did you know that American use over 100 billion plastic bags each year? If 25% of families used 10 fewer bags per month, we'd save 2.5 billion bags per year.
Single-Sort makes it simple to recycle! Place recyclable material directly into the recycling cart provided by Waste Management. No bagging. It’s the cart with the yellow lid.
RECYCLING OF CLOTHING, TEXTILES AND HOUSEHOLD GOODS
As long as an item is clean and dry, you can put it in the bag, including new and near-new condition items as well as, those worn jeans, stained shirts, or even items with a broken zipper. Small household items can go in the bag, too.
RECYCLING YOUR ELECTRONICS
Electronics that still work may have value to another person, family or group. You can sell usable electronics through a number of on-line sites and even in shopping malls at kiosks. If it still works, it is valuable for more than it's recyclable parts.
5 STRATEGIES FOR GREENER HOME CLEANING
Be an informed consumer. Know what the risks of using a product are before you use the product. Read the labels. Choose the least toxic product for the job.
HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS WASTE INFORMATION
Many of the products we use for cleaning and maintenance of our homes and yards contain potentially harmful or hazardous ingredients. They are called Household Hazardous Waste (HHW). These products require special handling to avoid harming you, your family, or the environment.
HOW TO COMPOST YOUR FOOD AND YARD WASTE
Compost is organic waste, such as your leaves, fruit and vegetable scraps, wilted plants, and other yard waste, that is recycled through decomposition to form a nutrient-rich, soil-like material. Amazingly, this transformation from waste to "black gold" occurs in just a few short months.
A variety of sustainable habits can be easily adopted into anyone's life to help reduce our impact on Earth. Below is a list of sustainable lifestyle tips that we recommend. The list may seem huge but the goal behind all of it is to minimize, invest in quality, enjoy the outdoors, and be healthy.
REDUCE (CONSERVE) ENERGY
Turn off lights when not in use
Unplug appliance when not in use
Use natural lighting whenever possible
If you have a difficult time remembering to power down devices at the end of a day, consider placing them on a timer or setting them up on a smart strip device.
Limit your technology upgrades. By reducing the number of devices (such as computers, phones, and ipads) that we own or upgrade each year, we can significantly reduce our personal demand of fossil fuels for the production, use, and disposal of these products.
When shopping for new appliances for your home, compare the energy consumption of each device and include the cost of energy in your decision.
Use less heat during winter and wear warmer clothes or use more blankets
Use less A/C during summer. Open more windows and wear lighter clothing instead.
Turn the TV/electronic devices off and go outside
REDUCE (CONSERVE) WATER
Install low flow showerheads, faucets, toilets
Limit your shower length to no more than 3-5 minutes daily (or shower ever other day)
Place a brick or rock in your toilet tank to reduce the amount of water utilized per flush
If it's yellow, let it mellow (only flush solids or at the end of the day)
Use rainwater for watering your plants
Turn the faucet off when you brush your teeth
Turn the faucet off between washing soap off dishes
Water lawn less often (or not at all)
Shrink lawn or have "No Mow" areas
Use Grey Water:
Collect rainwater or used water from chores such as dishwashing or from the waste tray of your dehumidifier to help facilitate other household needs such as flushing the toilet and watering the flowerbeds. Place a rain barrel under your home's gutters to collect rainwater to use for similar purposes.
REDUCE FOOD WASTE
When eating, don't take more than you can eat. A good way to do that is to refrain from using a large plate. Only fill one plate with food.
When grocery shopping, make a list of the items you need before you go. Without a list in front of you, you may buy things you already have.
Avoid shopping on an empty stomach. It can lead to excess purchases that you may not be able to eat.
According to the EPA, 21% of all waste in the landfill is food waste, so limit the amount of food that goes bad by eating what you have first before buying more.
Plan your meals ahead of time based on what you already have. If you have some fresh vegetables in the refrigerator that are on the verge of expiring, plan to eat those for dinner instead of heating up frozen food that will last longer or even going out to eat.
Purchase bulk foods
Purchase local produce
Refuse single-use and Styrofoam packaging
Attend farmer's markets
Can, freeze, and dehydrate food
Learn to cook and bake your own foods
Fish or hunt for your own foods
Actively eat less meat and more vegetables, whole grains, natural fats, and fruit.
REDUCE CONSUMER PRODUCTS
Purchase less plastic (bags & products)
Purchase less decor items for home or office
Purchase less kitchen gadgets
Purchase less electronic devices
Purchase less clothes
Purchase less jewelry
Purchase less shoes
Purchase less makeup
Purchase less video games (unless they are streamed online - borrow from a library)
Purchase less movies (unless they are streamed online - borrow from a library)
Purchase less CD Albums (unless they are streamed online - borrow from a library)
Purchase less books (unless they are read online - borrow from a library)
Purchase less cleaners (go simple)
Have fewer hobbies & purchase less items for your hobbies
Purchase less "Memory Tokens" during trips. Memories are not kept in things, they are kept in our hearts.
Invest in durable/quality products that will last many years and uses
Bring your own bags/containers with you when you shop
mesh produce bags
glass mason jars
Invest in a single reusable travel mug and fill with your favorite beverages rather than using a disposable cup
Invest in a single reusable water bottle that is made from either glass, plastic, or durable plastic.
Invest in high-quality products (clothes, containers, jewelry) that will last many uses
Wash and reuse plastic storage bags or containers whenever possible
If you no longer want salvageable items (such as furniture, clothing, housewares, jewelry, etc.), give them the opportunity to lengthen their life by donating them to a locally owned thrift store.
Purchase second-hand items
Reuse the boxes shipped to your home
Invest in durable stainless steel straws, razors, tea strainers, lunch containers, kitchen utensils, etc.
Fix broken items before throwing away
Sew holes in clothes and continue wearing
Refinish old decor items instead of throwing away
Recycling should always be the second to last-ditch effort. The first is always to own/purchase less. The second is to reuse and fix. The third is to compost. The fourth is to recycle. The very last way is to throw in the landfill.
Instead of throwing all of your waste materials in the trash to be transported to a landfill (or to be burned or thrown into the ocean), recycle everything you can.
Plastics (#1-7 depending on your recycling company)
Avoid a stinky trash can by instituting composting at your home.
Peelings, stems, leaves, and skins from fruits and vegetables and leftovers that cannot be eaten can be added to a mixture of "brown waste" such as leaves, grass clippings, and wood.
Proper aeration and mixing of this organic waste can, ultimately, create a nutrient-rich soil used in your garden or landscape.
Compost may be managed in a small vessel such as a barrel or in an open-air bin system.
Be sure to check with your town's ordinances to see if they have special requirements for compost piles.
Improve the quality of the air in your home by instituting a few simple rules:
Vacuum regularly using an energy efficient vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.
Take shoes off at the entryway and place them on a large mat to avoid tracking in chemicals, dirt and other toxins through your shoes.
Keep humidity levels low. This will reduce the mold that develops in the home.
No smoking indoors. (Or, at all, if possible!)
Nurture houseplants that have air purifying qualities.
Avoid synthetic fragrances; use essential oils instead. I love my essential oil diffusers!
The food you eat and where you shop can have a large impact on the community as well as the global economy.
Grow your own: Reduce the stress on the environment from the mass production, packaging, and transportation of most produce by growing your own.
Shop at the farmers market and/or locally owned shops: Support the local economy by purchasing your food products from local merchants.
Preserve your own: During the growing season, when your garden has more food than you can eat, be sure not to let any of it go to waste by canning/preserving produce.
Use LED light bulbs
Use SMART technology to control heat and AC
Have no-mow areas
Use windows for fresh air
Use high-efficiency appliances
Unplug unused appliances
Use natural light over artificial
Filter your own water
Sign-up for 100% clean energy service
Install a clean energy source
Set away natural habitat for plants and animals
Grow more perennials and natural species
Support high-efficiency houses
Buy only essential items
Refuse to buy Styrofoam
Refuse to toxic (harmful) cleaners and additives
Refuse single-use packaging
Support local shops
Support local restaurants
Telling restaurants, you want recyclable food containers
Supporting small businesses that strive for social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency
Bike or walk for commuting
Use public transportation
Carpool when possible
Invest in a hybrid or electric vehicle
Use a menstrual cup
Use reusable feminine pads
Use towels over paper towels
Use cloth diapers
Use glass, wood, metal, or plant-based materials
Support local, county, city, state, and national parks, trails, and wildlife areas
Support local environmental action groups
Volunteer your time to conservation work and education
Participate in a community fruit/herb patch with fruit trees, berries, etc.
Self-educate and develop your own environmental actions
Actively helping others reduce their ecological footprint
NATURAL CLEANING TIPS
Store-bought cleaners typically contain dangerous chemicals, contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and are packaged in petroleum-based products.
Avoid bringing those dangerous fumes and environmental harms into your home by making your own low-impact cleaners.
A simple solution of warm water, lemon juice, and vinegar can clean almost any surface.
For additional cleaning properties, add essential oils or baking soda to your cleaner.
STAYING HEALTHY TIPS
Maintaining personal health and happiness can have lasting impacts on our own personal sustainability and the vitality of our communities, environment, and economy.
Eat whole foods and move your body regularly.
Drink plenty of clean water and get fresh air.
Take a proactive approach to your health. Preventive approaches to personal health can reduce your dependency on medication. The production and distribution of medication have negative impacts on the environment and the medicine in our systems can find its way into local waterways, contaminating the water we ingest and leading to other health issues.
My prevention includes essential oils such as oregano, clove, rosemary, peppermint, and many others. They have no negative effects on the environment.
Create boundaries in your life that will limit your stress levels.
Creating filters on your email, practicing meditation, instituting regular personal appointments, and many other techniques can create boundaries that assist in the reduction of stress we experience.
Allow yourself to get consistent rest by following a regular bedtime and rising time.