Updated: Oct 21, 2021
Here are six great tips we picked up from a post at Sustainable America.
1. DITCH THE CAR FOR SHORT TRIPS
Americans drive a lot. In 2017 nearly 60 percent of vehicle trips were less than six miles roundtrip. Changing this could have a huge impact on the environment. Car trips under a mile add up to about 10 million miles annually. If half of these trips were taken by bicycle or by foot, Americans could save about $575 million in fuel costs and reduce carbon emissions by about 2 million metric tons per year.
2. STOP WASTING FOOD
About a third of all food produced goes to waste, accounting for about 8 percent of global greenhouse (GHG) emissions. Production of food also wastes valuable resources like water, energy, land, fertilizer, and human labor.
3. EAT MORE PLANT-BASED FOODS
Did you know that the production of meat and dairy products account for about 15 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions? In fact one study found that switching to a vegan diet and shifting the demand side of meat production could reduce emissions by up to 70 percent.
In addition to reducing GHG emissions, plant-based diets are also thought to be healthier and lead to lower rates of chronic disease.
4. START COMPOSTING
Did we mention food waste is bad? Food waste is the single largest component of solid waste reaching landfills and incinerators in the U.S., according to the EPA. Even food waste warriors end up with food scraps. Many municipalities are developing commercial composting operations for residents, but the majority of Americans still do not have access to these services.
5. CHECK YOUR CLOTHING LABELS
Over 11 percent of landfill waste comes from rubber, leather and textiles, and 60 percent of modern garments contain synthetic textiles like nylon, rayon, and polyester produced through wasteful production practices or with fibers containing harmful microplastics. As a synthetic garment is washed repeatedly these plastics are released into wastewater. There are approximately 8.3 million pieces of microplastics per cubic meter in the ocean, according to the World Economic Forum. Once they reach the ocean, plankton and small fish ingest the plastics and the toxic substances they contain. Then they move up the food chain, eventually ending up in humans.
6. USE IT UP, WEAR IT OUT, MAKE IT DO, OR DO WITHOUT
This slogan from World War II campaigns stressed the importance of conserving resources for the war effort but it applies to today as well. Make this your mantra when considering a new purchase. Do you already have something that can do the same job or do you even really need the product? As consumers we are bombarded with an array of products online and in stores but this comes at a steep price. Think like your grandmother would and see if there is a more creative way to get what you need. Sometimes a quick group text or Facebook post will bring a needed item into your life.