Many of us are getting turned on to the concept of sustainability. People are doing their part to save the environment. They are changing the way they live in order to produce less waste, create less pollution, and use less energy. It’s not only just about us, but about our children, grandchildren, and future generations. Below you will find a compilation of some of the best tips on sustainable living. In making this list, I chose tips that would be easy and inexpensive to follow. Follow these simple steps to save money and to lead a more sustainable life! Best of all, we’re preserving this beautiful world for our future!
The 3 R’S: REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE
- Reduce Purchases: In general, think before you buy any product – do you really need it?
- Replace Disposables: Wherever possible, replace disposable products with reusable ones (i.e., razor, food storage, batteries, ink cartridges (buy refill ink), coffee filters, furnace or air conditioner filters, etc.).
- Buy Used: Buy used products whenever possible
- Bulk Purchases: Avoid products that are packaged for single use (i.e., drinks, school lunches, candy, cat and dog food, salad mixings, etc.). Instead, buy in bulk and transfer the products to your own reusable containers.
- Buy Only What You Need: Buy only as much as you know you’ll use for items such as food, cleaning supplies, and paint.
- Avoid Creating Trash: Avoid creating trash wherever possible: when ordering food, avoid receiving any unnecessary plastic utensils, straws, etc. (ask in advance), buy ice cream in a cone instead of a cup, don’t accept “free” promotional products, buy products with the least amount of packaging, etc. Every little bit of trash avoided does make a difference!
- Shopping Bags: Bring your own.
- Use your own coffee mugs and water bottles.
- Junk Mail: For ideas on how to reduce junk mail, check out Catalog Choice
- Switch from disposable to reusable products: food and beverage containers, cups, plates, writing pens, razors, diapers, towels, shopping bags, etc.
- Donations: Donate and buy used items as you are able to
- Wash and Reuse Plastic Bags
- Recycle. For a complete list of the items you can put in your blue bag in Truckee, visit: The Town of Truckee
- Natural Fertilizer: Leave grass clippings on the lawn as fertilizer.
- Composting: Start a compost pile with yard trimmings and food scraps. You will be sending less waste to the dump. Plus the process of composting produces fewer methane emissions than the process of waste disposal that takes place at your local landfill. Learn more at Wikipedia’s Compost page.
- Pack-it-Out: If you are traveling and no recycle bins are available, pack your recyclables home with you whenever possible.
- Hazardous Waste: The other key aspect of dealing with waste effectively is to dispose of toxic products at a hazardous waste facility. For a list of special hazardous recycling days in Truckee, visit The Town of Truckee
Other ways to go green:
- Reduce your carbon footprint: The Carbon Footprint Calculator helps you to determine your carbon dioxide emissions from major sources: home energy consumption and transportation by car and plane. This information can be tracked over time, allowing you to gauge the impact of actions you take to reduce your carbon footprint.
- Use cold water in your washing machine, which can save up to 80 percent of the energy required to wash clothes. – and line dry clothes in the hot Truckee summers!
- Save an average of $90 a year by shutting down your home computer every night. Also, shut it down if you don’t expect to use it for the next two hours. Turn off the monitor if the lag is going to be at least 20 minutes.
- Hit the switch! Turn off all lights that are not in use. Install CFL light bulbs. They use less energy and last longer than traditional light bulbs, saving you money on two fronts.
- Set your hot water heater to the lowest possible setting.
- Turn your thermostat down at night. Use extra blankets to stay warm
- Plug computers, appliances, and other consumer electronics into power strips. These are devises that may continue to siphon valuable energy even when they are turned off. By flicking the switch on a power strip to the off position you ensure this waste does not occur.
- Eat less meat. Meat is the least energy efficient type of food.
- Buy local. The food you find at the grocery store has been shipped an average of 1500 miles. That’s a lot of gas! Visit your local Farmer’s Markets –
- Walk or ride a bike. Be healthy!
- Make sure you the tires on your vehicle are full. This will lead to increased fuel efficiency.
- Go toxin free. For a list of toxin-free household items, visit Natural Health Lifestyles
- Reduce air pollution. An alternative to backyard burning is Truckee’s green bag program.
- Play more in nature! Time outside is good for everyone. And make sure follow Leave No Trace environmental ethics while enjoying the outdoors!