From small to large changes, you can do your best to help the planet. Where should you even start with an undertaking this daunting? Here’s a great list of things you can do to live a more sustainable lifestyle.
Aside from the oil industry, the meat and dairy businesses of the world commit some of the most harm to our environment. These industries contribute greatly to water use, pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and deforestation worldwide. JBS, the largest meat processing company in the world, is responsible for around half the carbon emissions of fossil fuel companies like Shell or BP.
Luckily for you, it’s becoming easier all the time to switch to a vegan lifestyle. With Impossible and Beyond burgers, you won’t miss the taste of beef, and vegan cheese is becoming far more accessible (and delicious) every day. Many products you enjoy now are already vegan! Plain potato chips, Oreos, and Chex Mix are just a few snacks you can still buy as-is.
Today, there are many alternatives for people trying to get away from using vast quantities of paper. You can receive most mail electronically in your email inbox, and you can even get shopping receipts this way. There’s even a green option for toilet paper!
Switching from traditional toilet paper to bamboo is a great sustainable choice. Bamboo paper is 100 percent biodegradable and will decompose much faster than regular (or even recycled) varieties, which can take up to three years to break down fully.
Of course, we do need to use paper at certain points, but recycling is still a great option in those cases. Sometimes, you’ll receive letters with a plastic screen on the envelope; make sure you remove this screen before recycling the rest of the envelope.
As with paper, reusable options have become far more prevalent in recent years. With states moving away from plastic bags in grocery stores, picking up a few reusable cloth bags is a no-brainer, and your sustainable choices don’t have to stop there.
Paper towels have a reusable cloth option that you wash periodically instead of throwing away. Getting stainless steel straws is another small but effective way to help the planet; the less plastic you use, the better! You can also stop using disposable razors and instead buy a pack of razor blades and a safety razor.
Drive an Electric Car
Opting for an electric car is a substantial investment, but one that will significantly reduce your carbon footprint. A completely electric car (which is becoming more and more accessible as government regulations require manufacturers to offer electric options) produces zero emissions. Electric cars directly impact the cleanliness of the air you breathe, so you can feel better about driving one.
You’ll also save money in the long run with lower fuel and maintenance costs. A California study showed that charging an electric car costs roughly half the price of fueling a gasoline car for a drive of the same distance. Government infrastructure bills currently in the works will also greatly increase the availability of electric car charging stations, allowing for even more accessibility.
Drink Water Responsibly
Avoid bottled water as much as you can. Most tap water is completely drinkable, and if yours has a less-than-perfect taste, you can purchase a filter to run the tap water through. One study shows that if the world used only bottled water, there would be 1,400 times more of an impact on the ecosystem, and resource extraction would cost 3,500 times more than using only tap water.
According to National Geographic, only one out of six water bottles purchased gets recycled. Water bottles take up to 1,000 years to decompose, so those five other water bottles fill landfills and create an enormous environmental hazard. The aftermath of water bottles isn’t the only issue, as it takes 17 million barrels of oil to produce water bottles annually.
Use Smart Lighting
You can think about sustainability when it comes to lighting your home, too. Homes with more natural light don’t need to utilize as much energy, so consider adding windows or skylights to your dimmer spaces (windows also give the subconscious impression that a home is larger, so you can increase your perceived square footage this way).
If an extensive renovation isn’t what you need right now, opt for smart and Energy Star bulbs instead. Smart LED lights are far more efficient than incandescent bulbs, and many have power-saving features like motion detection or timer functionality. This makes sure you’re only using lights when you absolutely need them, and they’ll turn off automatically even if you forget!
Vote for Sustainability
Make your sustainable desires heard in a way that will help to enact sweeping changes. Vote for politicians running on environmental platforms and write to your congressperson to tell them about policies that are important to you. While switching to a metal straw is helpful, casting a vote for a greener world has wide-reaching impacts.
Grow Your Own Produce
Pesticides, fertilizers, and other toxic farm chemicals are responsible for a great deal of pollution throughout the world, so do your part by starting a garden for your produce. Transporting tons of fruits and vegetables an average of 1,500 miles causes a huge impact on carbon emissions, not to mention the freshness you lose along the way.
Invest in Solar Power
While solar panels come with a significant down payment, it takes the average American homeowner only eight years to make that money back in energy savings. As more and more people go solar, this form of sustainable energy becomes increasingly affordable (prices have dropped around 70 percent in the last decade).
Reach out to NM Solar Group about solar panel installation in El Paso to learn more about how much money you can save on your electric bill.
With all these things you can do to live a more sustainable lifestyle, you can reduce your carbon footprint and feel great while doing it. Thanks for doing your part in the effort to save our planet!