Green Tips: Greening Your Everyday Habits

Green Tips | August 9, 2019

Currently, humans consume resources equivalent to 1.7 Earths, which means it takes our planet one year and eight months to restore what we use in one year. While this reality can be overwhelming, there is a lot we can do to decrease our resource consumption through simple practices and by changing our everyday habits. If we take a moment to reflect on our daily activities, we have an enormous opportunity to make a difference in the environment. To get you started, we’ve put together some easy tips for you to green your daily habits:

Morning routines: Coffee lovers worldwide consume approximately 150 million 60kg bags of coffee each year. In America, the average adult consumes 9lbs of coffee per year. To meet this staggering demand, many coffee producers cut corners to meet production quotas, using toxic fertilizers, unsustainable shipping methods, and inefficient production practices. By the time it gets into your mug, a pound of coffee has created 11lbs of carbon emissions and a single cup of coffee has used 35 gallons of water. Of course, you need not cut out coffee from your mornings. Instead, look for companies that have fair trade certifications and are approved as environmentally friendly by the Rainforest Alliance. On weekends or more relaxed days, try cutting a cup or two. In addition, after you’re done, consider composting your used grounds and filters!

Casual water use: Water scarcity is one of the most pressing environmental issues facing our planet. The New York Times estimated that one quarter of humanity is facing water shortages that will only worsen over time. Despite t­­his, the average American adult uses a whopping 82 gallons of water per day. While a lot of this use can be traced to large appliances like washing machines and toilets, over 25% of daily water consumption comes from controllable sources like showers and faucets. By slightly adjusting your daily habits, you can make a difference. Consider shortening your showers by a minute or two, turning off the faucet while you brush your teeth, or running your dishwasher and washing machine only when full. These small changes add up and will help both the environment and your budget!

Grocery shopping: A trip to your local grocery store is the perfect occasion to incorporate sustainability as a value into your routine. Each year, approximately 500 billion disposable plastic bags are used by shoppers. Always bring reusable bags and encourage others to do the same. They make great gifts! In addition, look for products that have minimal plastic packaging or consider shopping at a bulk grocery store. Finally, try to purchase local products when possible – community businesses use less land, use fewer toxic fertilizers, and their goods don’t need to travel as far.

Packing your bag: When you head off to work or school in the morning, plan ahead so you can set yourself up to be as environmentally friendly as possible throughout the day. For example, take your reusable water bottle, shopping bag, and utensils. Pack food ahead of time in reusable containers to avoid purchasing packaged food throughout the day.

Transportation: Cars, buses, and trucks consume vast amounts of energy and cause harmful air pollution. Together, cars and trucks account for nearly 20% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and emit 24lbs of carbon dioxide and polluting gases for every gallon of gas. In New York State, the transportation sector is the number one contributor to the state’s emissions. If available, take public transit instead, or even walk or bike to work one or two days a week. If your workplace is too far from your home, explore carpool or ride-share options. Even just committing to avoid single-person transportation for one day a week can make a huge difference!

Stay informed: Checking news updates has become a habit for most people. With this constant access to information, it can be difficult to sort through and keep up to date with topics that matter to you. Commit to keeping up with the environment by signing up for our newsletter or getting involved with a local group working on conservation, wildlife, pollution, or climate issues. Set alerts for climate and environment with your local newspaper or public radio station. Staying informed is a great way to be prepared and to share your insights with others.

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