As we enter a new year, we have a great opportunity to make the lifestyle changes needed to feel at peace with our impact on the world. Below are a few small and big changes that can make a difference in creating a sustainable life that keeps our earth happy and healthy.
There are various ways to reduce the amount of plastic waste you create, such as: using refillable water bottles, wrapping leftovers with beeswax wrap instead of plastic wrap, using silicon reusable sealable bags and bringing your own reusable straws and utensils for meals on the go. These small changes can make a big impact on the amount of plastic that is produced, and will also reduce the amount of plastic that takes millions of years to decompose and pollutes our land and oceans.
A tasty way to be more sustainable is to eat produce that is in-season and grown locally. Not only will you be eating the freshest produce with the least amount of toxic preservatives, but you will also be promoting a sustainable lifestyle by reducing the amount of out-of-season/non-local produce imported through long supply chains to your grocery store. Local farmers markets are a great way to ensure your produce is eco-friendly and supports your local community members.
Meat and dairy products are one of the highest emitters of greenhouse gasses in their production. Vegans, on average, reduce their carbon footprint by more than half as compared to non-vegans - not to mention the other health benefits gained when eating vegan! But you don’t need to go fully vegan to make a difference. You can start by making a vegan meal once or twice a week. Try out some easy recipes to start and, if you can make it a consistent habit, it will go a long way towards reducing your carbon footprint.
Organic wastes, such as food waste and yard waste, make up 25 to 50% of what people throw away. Instead of sending that waste to the landfill, you can start an at-home compost. Composting may sound too complicated or you might be worried about the composting smelling up your backyard, but composting is easier than you think and, when done correctly, it doesn’t smell bad. Not only do you reduce the amount of waste you send to your landfill, which helps reduce your carbon footprint, you also get the benefits of improving your soil. Don’t want to start a compost yourself? Look for local composting facilities where you can send your composting materials to.
Your car’s emissions on your way to work or school contributes to the decrease in air quality and increased air pollution. Listed below are a few ways to reduce the emissions emitted on your daily commute: start a carpool with coworkers in your neighborhood, get your workout in by biking to work, check emails or catch up on reading during your commute by riding the bus or train, if allowed by your employer - work from home once a week and opt for an electric vehicle (EV) when it’s time to get a new or used car. Want to learn more about electric vehicles? Our non-profit partner, the Electric Vehicle Association of San Diego, provides free monthly presentations and various online resources to help find the right EV for you.
We wouldn’t be doing our due diligence if we didn’t encourage you to produce your own clean solar energy! By powering your life with energy from the sun, you are gaining independence from the utility monopolies that exploit your energy needs and produce energy using dirty fossil fuels imported from dangerous places around the globe. The average solar system pays for itself between four to six years, not only is it a great financial investment but it will also reduce your dependence on fossil fuels. For more information on producing your own clean solar energy, request a free solar power quote or call 1-800-SULLIVAN.
The detrimental effect of fast fashion is well documented. The fashion industry accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions and the industry also uses trillions of gallons of water each year. Despite fast fashion being publicly criticized for the past few years, the industry continues to grow. Instead of contributing to the fast fashion industry, try shopping at secondhand clothing stores before buying new clothing. You can donate items of clothing that you haven’t worn in years so other people can get use out of the item instead of buying new clothing themselves. When you do need to purchase new clothing, avoid fast-fashion brands that use low quality and cheap materials that will fall apart after a couple of washes. Instead, make sure the clothing uses high-quality materials that will last for years.
There are many ways to reduce paper waste from the home to the office. But one of the easiest ways that pretty much everyone would enjoy is opting out of junk mail. Does anyone enjoy having a stuffed mailbox that has 0 useful items. You can use DMAChoice to opt out of junk mail. DMAChoice won’t eliminate all of the junk mail, but it can help reduce the amount of junk in your mailbox, while also reducing your paper waste. There are also plenty other ways to reduce paper waste at your home and at your office. Checkout some of those lists to see if there are any easy ways for you to reduce your paper waste!
One of the easiest ways to reduce your electricity usage (and your electric bill!) is to switch from incandescent bulbs to LED lighting. LEDs can cost a little more than incandescent light bulbs, but LEDs can reduce the energy usage by up to 90%. LEDs also have a lifespan of 10-20 years whereas incandescent bulbs last around 2 years. So if you haven’t already, consider switching to LEDs the next time your incandescents need to be replaced. You may have to pay a little more upfront, but with the energy savings and longer lifespan, LEDs have a payback of just a couple of years.
One of the biggest impacts you can make this year in creating a sustainable future is to vote! By voting for candidates and bills that promote clean energy and long-term planning for climate change mitigation, you are promoting a sustainable future and making it a priority in your local, state, and national governments.
Sullivan Solar Power is dedicated to providing clean energy solutions for homeowners and supporting sustainable practices that will allow future generations to enjoy our beautiful planet. We hope these sustainable New Year’s resolutions have inspired you to create an eco-friendly lifestyle. Our Sullivan team applauds all your green efforts and wishes you a very sunny and bright new year!