12 Simple Ways To Reduce Your Environmental Impact & Ecological Footprint
Did you know, that one person can create an average of over 4 lbs of non reusable trash every day? And that’s just ONE individual. Imagine the impact from a family of 4. Now imagine 2.6 million people living in the city! You get the big picture.
When it comes to our environment’s well-being, you as a single entity, can make a difference. You can re-evaluate your environmental impact and think about ways to reduce it with a few simple and inexpensive steps. Every action on your part helps contribute to a better and sustainable planet! By consciously shifting a few changes in our lifestyle, we can each reduce our impact on this vital issue and move closer to a healthier environment.
So let’s save the Earth we live in and feel good about doing it! Here are a few of my favourite ways you can incorporate in your day to day in each of the consumption category – housing, transportation, food, services and commodities:
- Don’t drive when you have alternatives! Walk, bike, take public transportation or even carpool whenever possible. Using the car less will reduce your carbon footprint significantly, helps minimize traffic jams and keeps the city’s air cleaner.
- Choose energy efficient appliances in your home. Opt for low flow shower heads, toilets and sink faucets. Have a leaky faucet? Only 1 percent of Earth’s water is drinkable and our supply for clean water is running out. This should prompt you to fix those leaks and be more mindful of properly shutting your faucets off.
- Hang your laundry out to dry! Limit your use of the dryer as they use up a lot of energy. Plus, drying racks are inexpensive.
- Install energy efficient light bulbs and lamps at home. And turn them off when they’re not being used. Turn off computers, TVs, computer bars and large electronics. Use a power strip. Unplug them when they’re not being used.
- Keep the thermostat low in the winter (wear thick sweaters, cozy up in blankets, cuddle more!) and be easy with your AC in the summer (keep cool with large fans when you can instead!)
- Replace those disposables with eco friendly reusables. Put those washable rags to use instead of paper towels, reusable shopping bags instead of plastic bags, and limit your spending on plastic bottled and paper cup beverages and alternately, carry a reusable bottle/mug whenever possible. Also, invest in reusable containers and bring your lunch to work instead of buying packaged meals! For things that don’t have reusable replacements, search for products that are planet-friendly or biodegradable. Awesome eco-brands I love: Seventh Generation, Bio-Vert, Eco-Max and Caboo.
- Be mindful about food waste! In Canada alone, over 35 percent of foods end up in the garbage. That can add up to 27 billion dollars of food wasted. So use your leftovers for the following day or give it to someone who may really need it. Anything that can’t be used, should be composted.
- Buy in bulk. Small disposable containers generate large amounts of wasted plastic. Including paper products. Choose products with less packaging to reduce waste too.
- Shop at your local farmer’s market. Seek out for in season, local produce that didn’t have to travel long distances to get to your plate.
- If you’re not a dedicated vegan, attempt to go meat and dairy free once in awhile! Going meatless for a week can create a huge impact. The livestock agriculture industry is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions globally and is one of the biggest contributors to global warming. (Fact: The production of kilogram of beef can require 16-22 thousand litres of water!) Evidently, the ecological footprint of vegans and vegetarians is estimated to be half that of those who eat meat.
- Adopt water-saving habits: use less water when gardening and cleaning, take shorter, less frequent showers, turning the tap of while you’re brushing your teeth, run the washing machine only when full, and refrain from using the dishwasher and hand wash instead.
- And of course, the golden rule: Reduce, reuse and recycle!