It’s 2016, a new year, a new chance to help reduce your impact on the environment. Not everyone leaves the same carbon footprint on the planet, but everyone leaves something. Make 2016 the year you leave little.
Here are five ways you can help reduce your carbon impact and footprint on the planet.
1. Avoid aerosol sprays: Avoid them for cleaning, air fresheners, hairsprays, cleaning products, or bug sprays. Aerosol sprays, besides their contents being harmful to you and the planet, their packaging is harder and more difficult to recycle if they still contain product. Today most aerosol cans are made of steel or aluminum and most packaging can be recycled with a bit more effort. Although, it is not advised to throw aerosols into your curbside recycling, it is best to contact your local recycling facility to learn more about their requirements. An alternative to aerosols for cleaning: Try distilled white vinegar, baking soda, salts, fresh lemons for scrubbing, or greener cleaners like ones from The Honest Company. Some companies even offer concentrated versions to help cut down on package waste.
2. Shop local: Local shopping not only keeps money in your own community, but also limits travel time on goods. If you must shop outside of being local, try a program like a community supported CSA Box Program. A CSA Box Program helps keep food coming to you that are within a limited radius-And skip the supermarket. There is a 40% cheaper food in a CSA program than what is sold at a supermarket and the same ratio applies to the local Farmers’ Market. If a CSA Box Program and the Farmers’ Market isn’t an option where you live, an alternative would be to have your own garden. Be sure to separate cold crops from summer crops, and enjoy some vegetables from your own yard throughout the different parts of the season.
3. Take a walk instead: Don’t he so quick to jump in the car. We live in a modern society and with that comes modern conveniences, but that mentality is causing a lot of issues with the environment too. f you live within walking distance of a destination take off on foot instead of a vehicle. In 1969, nearly 90% of children aged 5 to 15 who lived within a mile of school walked there-Today, only 31% do. Alternative, walk whenever you can and break the dependance on your car. Walking will help keep you fit and help you appreciate your car when you actually do need it.
4. Carry your own drink container: When you can, start bringing your own container for drinks. In the U.S. alone 60 million plastic water bottles are thrown away each day. Fiji Water required 9 oz. of fossil fuels in its manufacturing and transportation in the United States when they first started. They have sense taken steps to improve those numbers, but still require up to 45% greenhouse gas emissions through the Panama Canal to ship bottles to the east coast of the United States. Scary enough, bottled water costs up to 10,000 times as much as tap water. An alternative, using your own water bottles, coffee mug, or thermos when you can. Using a reusable container will not only help reduce waste and trash greatly, it will also help cut down on unnecessary packaging materials brought home. Some places even offer a discount when you refill your own container for coffees or teas.
5. Switching to renewable energy: No matter how much we try we just can’t avoid using some power daily. You can help in the efforts by switching to renewable energy through the use of solar, wind, or water hydroelectric energy. Solar energy is nothing new and with companies like Home Depot and Zoro it makes it easier to add them to a residential home or small business. Every two minutes the sun gives the earth more energy than we use in a year. Solar panels (Photovoltair (PV) Technology) harnesses energy from the sun’s rays to create electricity. One solar panel sized 1.5 inches by 26.37 inches will run you about $500. Best way to start the transition would be to buy one when you can and add to it as you can afford to. An alternative, if solar energy isn’t quite your thing, or you aren’t ready to commit, some power companies are offering alternatives. Check your local energy company’s web page to see what choices are available in your area.
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