~ Simple Changes To Reduce Your Impact on The Planet ~
Without a doubt, everyone should know by now that the impact we are making on our planet will have serious repercussions if we don’t start to make changes now. But that doesn’t mean you have to sell your belongings and move to a yurt! You can make small, and simple changes that will have a low impact on the environment but still allow you to maintain your lifestyle. The best way to start is to target the following key areas:
- Install faucet aerators on your taps and reduce water flow by up to 50%. Aerators are inexpensive (approximately $5.49 at HomeDepot) and very easy to install. (Effortless Tip: turn off the tap while you brush your teeth – you can save about 20 litres each time you brush!)
- Get low-flow showerheads. A five-minute shower with a low-flow showerhead uses only 35 litres of water, instead of the old school ones that use about 47 litres. (Effortless Tip: turn off the water while you lather on the shampoo and soap.)
- Replace your toilet with a low-flow or dual flush toilet. The average household flushes up to 30% of their water consumption. (Effortless Tip: Donate your old toilet to Habitat for Humanity, instead of adding it to the garbage dump. Also, don’t flush the spiders and used tissues. Save the water for when you really need to flush.)
- Take a bag with you when you shop! Canadians take home over 55 million plastic shopping bags EVERY WEEK! All of which end up in landfills and our bodies of water. (Effortless Tip: Reuse any shopping bags you have hanging around to line the garbage bins instead of buying brand new ones.)
- As much as possible, eat whole foods, not packaged ones. When that isn’t easy or convenient, buy products that are returnable, reusable, or refillable over single-use items. (Effortless Tip: Take a reusable container or mug with you when you are getting take-out)
- Compost! You can cut your household waste in half just by throwing the scraps of fruits and veggies, coffee grounds and tea bags, eggshells and paper towels into the compost pile. For a complete list of what you can compost, go here. (Effortless Tip: It really doesn’t get any easier than tossing food items into a separate bin!)
- Turn down the fridge. The refrigerator is the biggest culprit of all the appliances for energy consumption, sucking up approximately 25% of your usage. Adjust the temperature to between 2 and 3 degrees celsius for the fridge and between -18 and -15 degrees celsius for the freezer.
- Hang your clothes to dry. The dryer is the second largest energy-zapping appliance in your home. Give it a rest by hanging your laundry on a clothes lines outdoors or on a drying rack inside.
- Replace old appliances with energy-efficient ones. Some of the new models use 50% less energy than their predecessors, and still do the same job, if not better.
LOWER YOUR Green House Gas EMISSIONS
- Idling gets you nowhere! If every Canadian driver removed 5 minutes a day of idling, we would save 680 millions litres of fuel and over 1.6 million tonnes of GHG emissions.
- Take earth-friendly transportation. If it’s convenient, walk or bike to work or school. Health Canada recommends at least 20 minutes of activity daily, so you can save the earth and your health all in one. If that’s not an option, considering taking public transit, or perhaps take the car part of the way, and walk or take transit for the remainder of your journey. Don’t forget about carpooling.
- Take the train. If you’re travelling close to home, take a bus or the train instead of flying. You will reduce your GHG emissions by 90% on a single trip!
MAKE A FEW LIFESTYLE CHANGES
- Eat less meat, especially red and non-organic meats. If you are new to the concept of vegetarian meals, try just one meal a week, like Meatless Monday. Once you are accustomed to that, or if you’re already there, add more meat-free days. (Did you know: the production of just ONE hamburger, uses enough fossil fuel to drive a small car 32 kilometres!)
- Reduce your foods’ footprint and eat local. Besides the manufacturing of food, the transportation of it is one of the greatest contributing factors of the greenhouse gas emissions. In North America, the average food item travels 2,000 km. Each person in your household can cut 40 kg per year off their emissions simply by eating local when possible and eating what’s locally available in season.
Recycling image via Carlton University Electric Power Line photo credit GHG Photo via CBC