As a sustainability company we take pride in creating a greener tomorrow. Earth Day was a great opportunity to highlight some of the key ways for organizations to foster more sustainable environments, and sure was a busy time at the ConnecTable as we installed new charging stations at the University of Virginia and Loyola University Chicago.
All of this action got us thinking: while we can provide ways for businesses and institutions to make an environmental impact, what are some of the ways individuals can contribute? Below is a list of the top 12 ways that you can reduce your carbon footprint and provide future generations with the opportunity to meet their environmental needs:
- Commute to work/find alternatives to driving: Yes, we all love having the independence to come and go as we please, but I am sure all of the commuters reading this can agree we definitely do not love gridlock and having to refill the tank. See if you can take turns driving to work by carpooling with a coworker, or try taking public transportation or biking if you live close enough. Not only will it help to reduce emissions, it will also save you a significant amount of money and time road-raging.
- Turn off lights when you leave the room and unplug electronics when they are not in use: This one should be a no-brainer! Be sure to put your computer in sleep mode when you are finished using it, don’t leave your phone charger dangling from the wall, and unplug your TV when Game of Thrones is over. The environment and your electricity bill will thank you.
- Buy water bottle with a filtration filter: Did you know it takes three times the amount of water to produce a bottle rather than to fill it? Or that over 80% of the water bottles we use wind up in landfills? Rather than spending money purchasing new water bottle packs each week, use a water bottle with a filtration filter that can be used again and again.
- Cut down on your time in the shower and don’t leave the sink running while you brush your teeth/wash your hands: If you watched this year’s Super Bowl, I am sure you saw the new Colgate commercial urging the public to conserve water. According to their studies even the tiniest changes to your water consumption– like turning off the water while you brush your teeth– can save 3,000 gallons of water per year.
- Switch to compact fluorescent lightbulbs: Have you heard of CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lighting)? If not, Google it! CFL’s are 4 times more efficient and last 10 times longer than incandescent lightbulbs, they can also be purchased at all major retailers, making them as efficient as they are easy to shop for.
- Cut back on paper printing: I can almost guarantee everyone has heard this complaint from their boss due to the price of paper and ink, but I am just as sure that at some point you stopped to think how many trees were being killed in the process of your printing out reports. If you cannot view or send an item digitally and have to print it, try printing on both sides of the paper. What’s most important is being cognizant and resourceful with the paper you are using.
- Turn off the air conditioner: The average air conditioner produces 2 tons of CO2 annually, so open your windows and doors when you can and welcome in some fresh air. We are in the midst of the spring season after all- enjoy it!
- Plant a tree: Planting a tree is one of the most effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint; trees provide shade, consume CO2, and an average 10yr old tree releases enough oxygen into the air to support 2 humans.
- Eat less meat: Now we aren’t saying that you have to become a full vegetarian, but eating one or two more vegetarian meals per week will cut down on CO2 emissions. It is also important to note that 87% of all agricultural land in the U.S. is used just to feed the livestock we in turn wind up consuming. Think of how much energy we could save just by switching our protein habits a few nights a week.
- Buy local products and food: The term ‘Farm to Table’ should be nothing new. By buying local produce you help to reduce fuel use by removing the need of having your food and other products shipped to your location (helping out local businesses is an added bonus).
- Switch to clean renewable energy: Installing solar panels on your roof can help you cut back on your electric bill and save the environment. To top that off, solar energy is now more affordable than ever and is making new headlines every day for its impact on economies worldwide.
- Reduce/Reuse/Recycle: Again, not a new concept, but recycling helps to reduce landfill waste, energy consumption, and pollution. Think twice where you throw your waste to ensure appropriate items can be reused wherever possible.
That brings us to the end of our list! Obviously there are hundreds of ways you can help, but the above tips are those that are simple to do and can make a huge difference in the long run. Feel free to leave some of your favorite green tips in the comments section below!
For more information on the ConnecTable and how you can use solar energy to make an environmental impact please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 267-419-8496.