Earth Day isn’t the only time we should think about our impact on the environment. You can reduce your environmental footprint and lead a healthier life by changing what you do each day. Here are 5 simple ways you can make your home a bit greener.
Eat Less Meat
Meat production accounts for 14.5 percent of manmade greenhouse gases, so an initiative began in 2003 to eliminate meat from ones’ diet once a week. It’s called “Meatless Monday,” but it doesn’t really matter which day you decide to go meatless. Skipping meat once a week reduces emissions as much as not driving 320 miles in your car. MeatlessMonday.com has many delicious recipes and more information on this global movement that truly makes a difference.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, cattle raised for beef and milk represent 65% of the livestock sector’s emissions. Try to eat other meats and poultry instead of beef to further reduce your impact on the environment.
Opt for Reusable
The push is on to ban single-use plastic bags and many companies and states are onboard already. California banned them in January, and Michigan, Missouri, Idaho, Arizona, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Florida earlier.
Many companies offer inexpensive reusable shopping bags to reduce plastic in our landfills. They’re sturdy and hold more than plastic too, and the only change is you need to remember to bring them with you.
Glass containers are an excellent option instead of plastic, too. Glass does not emit chemicals when heated and it lasts longer. Much of the plastic manufactured is never recycled and it’s made from petrochemicals.
You can also carry a water bottle instead of buying bottled water. Our tap water is typically safe to drink, and the water you buy in a bottle is often the same water, although companies may filter it. Buy an in-house water filter if you want to improve the taste. They last for months and you won’t have to deal with plastic bottles. People only recycle 23% of these bottles and the rest end up in the landfill.
Choose Electronic Over Print
You might love skimming through the flyers and coupons that land in your mailbox, but the Earth Day Network estimates that it takes 100 million trees to produce junk mail each year.
We live in an electronic world, so it’s simple to opt out of junk mail and opt into electronic offers instead. Visit www.optoutprescreen.com to cut down on the number of unsolicited mailings, you receive.
Have your credit card statements, bank statements, and bills sent electronically too. You can print them if you need to, but electronic versions allow you to choose only the pages that you need and there’s no envelope to deal with, either.
Park The Car
Even parking your car for one day a week reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Walking or biking to your destination is good exercise and public transportation is another viable alternative. When you ride a bus or train you have time to read or relax instead of stressing out over traffic.
Today, anyone can compost food waste in their home. Apartment dwellers can compost waste in a bin filled with worms and homeowners can use a free or inexpensive composter in their yard.
Scraps such as vegetable peelings, coffee grounds, tea bags, and plant clippings decompose into valuable fertilizer for houseplants or your garden. Chemical fertilizers are often toxic and can taint the water table. Composting reduces waste in landfills and it is rich in natural nutrients.
These are just a few things you can do to reduce your environmental impact. The EPA offers several free calculators to measure your greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprint. They also offer suggestions so you can reduce your energy consumption and utility bills.