Earth Day is a reminder that living sustainably is necessary to the survival of the planet.
Last year, we looked at 3 reasons why businesses need to care about Earth Day: huge emissions, budget saving opportunities, and low- to no-cost steps. While all of these are extremely important decisions to be made, they don’t happen in one day. Ask yourself these three questions today to start living a little more sustainably.
Do you really need that?
Cutting back on what you consume is the easiest way to live a more sustainable life. The average American produces 4.5 pounds of trash every day. From all of our food, packaging, and paper waste, it’s easy to see how this quickly adds up.
The next time you buy take out, do you need the bag that comes with your food? Do you need to take 5 paper napkins, instead of 1? And do you need a plastic bag for every item you buy at the grocery store?
We face choices like this every day. Especially today, see if you can cut back on what you use.
Can you reuse it?
Every time you are about to throw something away, challenge yourself to find another use for it. Even “trash” like a plastic bag, or “disposable” items like plastic cups, can be used more than once for a number of purposes.
When I was a kid, I used the cardboard from paper towel rolls to make tunnels for my pet mice to play in. We used cardboard boxes as “sleighs” to ride down hills in the summer. As I’ve gotten older, I try to wash and reuse “disposable” utensils and cups multiple times.
How creative can you get with all the items you would normally throw away?
Alternatively, there are so many reusable items on the market that you can use instead of disposable items. When you go to a coffee shop, bring your own travel mug or keep cup instead of taking paper cups. Take a food container to the fast food shop the next time you eat out. Or, my personal favorite: invest in a reusable water bottle instead of purchasing plastic bottles every time.
Why not turn it off?
Lights, appliances, and other equipment are often left plugged in and turned on overnight and during the weekends. When you’re not there to use them, why leave them on? Make a conscious effort to turn off lights when you leave the room. Plug loads (i.e. the amount of electricity demanded from outlets) can be a significant portion of a building’s total electric consumption. Consider investing in a “smart plug” – one that will monitor electricity usage and “shut down” after a particular period of nonuse. Or, without the invest, simply turn off or unplug your equipment when not in use.
These three simple questions that you can start asking yourself today is just the first step in living a more sustainable life. Ready to take it up another notch?
Download our ebook, The Case For Water Management, to learn why water management is important in every building. This step-by-step guide then discusses how to start your own water management program on your building.