These things may seem small and insignificant, but they add up. If we all start doing our part and making little concessions here and there, we can make a huge impact globally!
- I have taken note of all of the things in my apartment that use energy, especially ‘phantom’ energy. I have all of my computer/stereo equipment plugged into one power bar. I unplug it before I leave the house and at night, to save energy. I won’t, however, be unplugging my fridge or my alarm clock!
- I recycle as much as I possibly can. That means washing out and flattening milk containers, tearing labels from cans and choosing products that come in recyclable containers, ie: eggs in cardboard instead of styrofoam. Each week I make sure that my recyclables bag is larger than my garbage bag.
- I make coffee instead of buying it as often as possible, and save my coffee grinds for my garden by putting them into a lidless container (to dry out and avoid mold) beneath the sink. The nice thing about coffee grinds is they always smell good! When I do buy a coffee, I bring my own mug.
- I take full advantage of my large south-facing windows and deck by growing lots of plants and vegetables.
- I have almost completely switched to non-chemical based personal care products for everything. That includes organic soap, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo/conditioner, shaving cream, and makeup. I’m still on the hunt for a good organic face moisturizer. Visit Skin Deep to see how your products rate on the hazardous scale. You might be surprised!
- I use a toaster oven instead of my regular oven for many things, especially small casserole dishes, baked potatoes, and roasted veggies.
- I only use the large element on my stove top for large things. No point in heating a large element for a small pot, it won’t boil any faster!
- I turn off my computer monitor and office lights while on lunch and coffee breaks. I shut down my computer every night. I use a one-bulb lamp instead of the multiple-bulb overhead lights.
- I try to print as little as possible. I always print double-sided.
- I recycle everything I can. Even though I’m at work and it “doesn’t make a difference to me” it still makes a difference to the environment to recycle instead of throwing recyclables in the garbage. Especially plastics and things that won’t degrade in the dump.
- I bring my lunch to work in reusable containers, using as much glass and as little plastic as possible. I don’t put my plastic containers in the microwave.
- I drive a 2-door Toyota Yaris. I only use it when necessary, and try to walk and cycle as much as possible. My car does not have air conditioning or power windows.
At the Grocery Store
- Buying organic can be expensive, but I think it’s more important to buy things that are grown close to home, than just looking for the organic tag. I check to see if organic produce is on sale. I look at where things are grown, and try to buy in-season vegetables and fruits. I try to buy as little from California and Mexico as possible, especially if I’m buying produce that is capable of growing locally. Not only is it better for you and better for the environment to buy foods that are grown locally, but its better for the farmers who are growing them as well. I like to support local economy.
- It’s hard to remember to bring your own reusable bags, but I have a stash of them in my car, and if I forget to replenish it, I only buy what will fit in my purse. Sometimes I’ll ask for paper bags, and then re-use them by filling them with recycling. I don’t place veggies into clear plastic bags before they go into the cart. That’s what washing them is for! I also opt out of having my meat double-bagged. I’ve never had a package of meat leak.
- When I buy products off the shelf, I look at the packaging. Can it be recycled? Buying a 4-litre jug of milk uses less plastic than two 2-litre jugs, and if the expiry date is far enough in the distance I can use it all up.
- I only buy what I know I can eat. Throwing out food is a waste because it took energy to grow it, pick it, transport it to the store, place it on the shelf, keep it cold/warm/lit/dry/wet, sell it, transport it home and keep it in the fridge.
Do you have any ideas? Please share them!