Three Easy Steps to Reducing Your Carbon Footprint
It’s no secret, the environment is a mess from greenhouse gases to overflowing landfills. While there are bigger steps needed by the whole of the world, there are still a bunch of little things YOU can do to add up to a bigger impact. Here are three easy, economic ways to a solution.
REUSABLE WATER AND COFFEE TUMBLERS
It’s been reported in 2011 we produced 300 million tons of plastic waste each year. About 8 million of that winds up in the ocean in the form of plastic water bottles. The convenience of having clean drinking water at hand, ready to go anywhere at any time is appealing. But switching to a reusable water bottle can save an estimated 1,460 water bottles each year. But why stop at saving just plastic water bottles? Why not drop the paper coffee cup as well? Australia reportedly tosses 1 billion paper coffee cups every year which is particularly important as the plastic lining that keeps the cups from falling apart renders them non-recyclable. Switch to a reusable, thermal coffee mug and not only will you be saving the environment, but your coffee will stay warm during that morning commute. Go the extra mile and find a tumbler that locks its liquid inside (can you say parenting hack?)!
REUSABLE COFFEE FILTERS AND NO MORE K-CUPS
Okay, this one may take a little more convincing as the ease and effortlessness of Keurig or other single cup brewing machines have infiltrated nearly every kitchen in the world. The fact of the matter is K-cups are harmful for the environment as they are not recyclable OR biodegradable. In 2014 it was estimated you could wrap the entire earth 12 TIMES with K-Cups lined end to end. Consider switching back to the traditional multiple cup brewers of the past and opt in for a reusable filter to keep waste off the planet. And if your office can’t bear to part with its beloved coffee-for-one system, invest in one or two reusable filters for the office so there’s always a clean one in rotation. It’s a little more work than popping in a pod and pressing play, but the benefits far outweigh the convenience. Remember, it take a million tiny snowflakes to create an avalanche.
DISPOSE OF DISPOSABLE CLEANING SUPPLIES
Single use isn’t just a thing of the coffee world. It exists everywhere from make-up sponges to disinfectant wipes to toothbrushes and much more. Switching again to reusable items such as rags or towels for dusting, mopping, wiping and drying can cut down on single-use item waste. An inexpensive solution is a cheap set of tea towels cut into quarters and assigned for jobs such as dusting, counters, dishes, floors, etc is a perfect place to start. You can also repurpose old clothes like t-shirts, socks and underwear that are worn out. Keep a bag or bin of these rags in your utility closet and when they get dirty they can go straight in the wash and start all over again. Using tea towels to dry fruits and veggies will also save on paper towel waste (unfortunately, meats are excluded due to the bacteria). However there is one disposable cleaning item that can be salvaged! Green, or naturally based, disinfectant wipes across multiple brands are being made compostable, meaning the organic material breaks down and become fertilizer. (Coffee grounds are also compostable, along with fruit and vegetable scraps and leaves.) Your compost still needs its own container, like recycling, but there are centers in many cities where your compost can be delivered, if you opt not to keep and use it for yourself.
There is no easy solution to solving all the problems facing the environment. But just like a puddle starts out as a single drop of water, so do our efforts of reducing waste on the planet. One person at a time.