The greatest challenge facing humanity today is environmental degradation. Depletion of natural resources, improper waste disposal, pollution, greenhouse gases, toxin release, among others cause rapid environmental deterioration. The consequences are harmful, severe and far-reaching and will affect the future generations even more. In such times, importance of reducing, reusing and recycling have become a greater concern for public health, the environment and economy.
Small changes in your household, neighborhood and workplace can make big differences in the long run. It just takes a little effort and a sincere concern. Here are some very simple tips that everyone can follow. Let us do our part in saving the environment.
Share your rides to your destination with people having similar travel needs. It has a number of benefits. Firstly, it will bring down each person’s travel costs, like fuel costs and tolls. Secondly, the people traveling can take turns at driving thus reducing the stress of driving on a single person. Thirdly and most importantly, sharing your journeys is an eco friendly way to travel as it reduces carbon emissions, need for parking spaces and traffic congestion on the roads. In these times of ever-increasing fuel prices and high levels of pollution, carpooling is indeed a smart choice.
2. Car-share services
Car sharing is somewhat like a car rental where you rent cars from an organization or club by the hour, by the day as well as the distance traveled. These services are ideally meant for occasional uses and are affordable even by low-income households. Car sharing allows you to enjoy the benefits of private cars without the responsibilities of ownership like insurance, servicing and fuel costs. Car sharing is more cost-effective than car owning for people who don’t travel by cars on a daily basis. Like carpooling, car sharing also helps reduce pollution, traffic congestion and the demand for parking spaces. Also, the metering of costs provides an incentive to drive less resulting in lesser carbon emissions thus reducing the stress on the environment.
3. Use low-flow shower-heads and lesser water for your bath
Small changes in your homes can significantly bring down your electricity and energy bills and also help to conserve water. One such way is to put a low-flow shower head in your bathrooms. Surprising as it may sound, an average five-minute shower consumes about 30 gallons of water. Multiply it by the number of people in your home. This is where low-flow shower heads come in. Today’s low-flow showers are effectively designed to control the flow of water and also give a firm blast of water at the same time. Newer low-flow shower head models maintain the water pressure while the older ones would simply let the water trickle. Also, many of us enjoy hot showers and heating up of that water requires a lot of energy. Thus, by reducing the amount of hot water you use, you can effectively cut back on your energy bills.
4. Get your magazines digitally
An average print magazine containing around 70 pages and a circulation of 20K consumes about 12 tons of paper for each issue. Transportation of the product and lack of recycling adds even more burden on the environment. Compared to that, digital magazines don’t use paper, ink and chemicals and don’t end up in landfills. These eco friendly magazines are equal in editorial quality, presentation and photography to their print counterparts and also provide instant access and are less-expensive.
5. Use natural cleaning products
Switch to natural cleaning products which are made using bio-degradable ingredients for better human heath and environmental quality. These cleaning products avoid use of toxic and chemically-reactive cleaning agents which can cause respiratory or dermatological problems. The manufacturing, packaging and distribution processes are also environment-friendly.
6. Prevent use of bottled water
Sure, buying a bottle of water from the store is convenient and easy but not without leaving a massive impact on the environment. Bottled water is many times more expensive than tap water and leads to extensive oil wastage as PET bottles are made of plastic produced using fossil fuels. Most of these plastic bottles are not recycled and when sent to landfills they take 10,000 years to decompose.
7. Use BPA-free water bottles
Studies have indicated that most types of plastic water bottles contain a certain toxic chemical substance called Bisphenol A (BPA), which interferes with the body’s hormonal messaging system. Repeated use of such bottles can cause the chemicals to leak out of the cracks that develop in the bottle over the time. BPA has even been linked to breast and uterine cancer, decreased testosterone levels, risk of miscarriages and is also harmful for children’s developing systems. Safer choices include bottles made of LDPE, HDPE, polypropylene and aluminum bottles.
8. Recycle your electronics and get paid for it too
Certain groups or organizations provide services for recycling and refurbishing your electronics and they also pay you to do so. So, instead of tossing your old gadgets and appliances into landfills, get in touch with these service providers and get paid to recycle.
9. Swap your books, CDs, DVDs
Instead of buying new books, CDs and DVDs which you need for one-time use only, register yourself in certain sites for access to a huge number of your favorite titles. These sites work in a simple manner where you need to upload your titles to earn credits which allow you to acquire your desired titles. Apart from being inexpensive, it is also an environment-friendly method.
10. Buy refurbished electronics
Refurbished products are mostly those products which were returned to the shop within 30 days of purchase for reasons such as slight defects, damaged packaging, being used as display items or being overstocked. These products sell for as less as 50% of the retail price helping you save your money and reduce e-waste.