Yesterday was Blog Action Day and this year’s topic is the environment. Since it’s only two hours past yesterday in Honolulu, I’m not that late to jump on the bandwagon. I know that there are things that you just can’t avoid or live without in a modern society but I’ll relate the easy ways to be a greenie without compromising too much of your lifestyle and which wouldn’t cost the earth (pun!).
Paper, Plastic and Disposables
- Switch to email for all financial communications – shares, bills, bank accounts etc. These are usually the only things that come via snail mail these days.
- Switch to direct deposit for all incoming payments such as salaries, dividends and tax returns – you don’t need to see the cheque in hand do you? All you need is the statement that you have been paid, and that too can be via email.
- Use canvas bags for groceries instead of collecting plastic bags from the supermarket – free up kitchen clutter and go easy on the environment by not throwing so many of them out.
- Use recycled paper products – toilet paper, tissues, and printing paper. You’d be surprised at their quality, and the price is usually lower.
- Use less disposable utensils if possible – bring your own and leave it at your office to clean and re-use.
- Use compact fluorescent lights in your home. If you don’t like the harsh white light, use colour shades and cover. And although they may cost more up front, they last a lot longer than equivalent light bulbs.
- Switch off appliances at the wall when you are not home – computer, monitor, video consoles, microwave, TV. You only need them on standby when you are home.
- Turn off lights when they are not needed – no brainer really, plus you save money.
- Repair that fridge seal that no longer sticks – your food stays cooler and your electricity bills get lower.
- Switch to LCD monitors for lower energy consumption – though this is double-edged because you then have to dispose of the old CRT monitor.
- Turn off your computer when not in use. Otherwise, use standby or hibernate as a compromise.
- Don’t use screensavers – set your monitor to turn off after a period of inactivity.
- Use rechargeable batteries.
Car and Transport
When biking and walking is not possible and public transport is too troublesome, a car is a necessary evil. But you can make sure that it runs as efficiently as possible. You’d lower emissions and save money at the pump. Things that you can do:
- Maintain correct tyre pressure.
- Have maintenance done regularly – an efficient engine is a clean engine. Ask around for cheaper mechanics because you don’t have to have expensive maintenance done at the dealer you bought the car from.
Plus combine your car trips and accomplish as many task and errands in one go – fueling up, shopping, groceries, errands etc.
- If the services are available and convenient, there’s no reason not to sort and collect the recyclables from your garbage.
- Drink from the tap at home or have a water filtration tank if you do not like the taste. Use a washable bottle (stainless steel is best) and bring the water to work or the gym instead of buying bottled water. The logistics surrounding the manufacturing of mineral water is a big cause of pollution and waste – the manufacture of plastics needed, the fuel and emissions from transportation, and the discarded bottles when they are not recycled.
- Take shorter showers. I find that using shower gel is the quickest way.
- Wait for a full load and use cold water for laundry – there’s no difference for normal stains if you use quality cold-water detergents.
- If you are living alone or you have your own toilet, there’s no need to flush for every #1. If your pee is too yellow and too stinky to allow for this method, then you need to drink more water! See above. 😉
Phew. Long list. All these ideas may seem inconsequential if only one person follow them but it all adds up if one person in every house, on every street, in every suburb around the entire country does the same thing. You can make a difference.
Have you got any greenie ideas yourself?