News about environmental pollution is overwhelming. Humans are destroying this planet in several ways. And when you look at the current statistics we realize that the damage is real.
One may give up on restoring our environment thinking that it’s too late. But this is where we’re wrong. I mean, it’s never too late to take the right step. There are a few things if we reduced, we significantly help the environment.
What Can We Reduce To Help The Environment?
Some of the most effective ways are reducing waste and cutting down energy and water usage. It can be achieved by actions as simple as turning off extra lights or printing on both sides of the paper.
Let’s dive deeper
1. Reduce Waste Generation
‘Reduce’ is the most efficient strategy in the 3 R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle) of the waste hierarchy.
“To reduce means to use fewer resources in the first place“
This is done by buying less and minimizing consumption. In short, the finest way to manage waste is to minimize its generation.
Every day tons of waste are generated globally and as a result, the numbers are increasing with each passing year. Most people have no idea what this waste is doing to our planet and why has it become so important to reduce its generation. Waste has the potential to pollute all our surroundings including air, soil, surface water, and groundwater. Let me show you how to reduce waste step by step.
How to reduce waste at home?
- Learn to compost garden and kitchen organic waste such as grass clippings, eggshells, and vegetable peelings. You can easily compost at home and improve your garden’s soil structure.
- Shift towards reusable items instead of single-use items e.g., reusable napkins, bags, containers, etc.
- Make your own compost bin at home. This will benefit your garden and also saves you money in the long run.
- Donate instead of discarding things you don’t need anymore such as old clothes, toys, books, accessories, etc.
- Convert your waste into usable items. If you have a taste in art it must be easy for you to make a flower vase from plastic or bottles.
- Avoid buying non-recyclable products.
How to reduce waste at work?
- Use paper clips instead of staple pins.
- Save paper by printing and writing on both sides of the paper.
- If possible, save and send documents in soft form rather than hard copies.
- Use recycled paper and assign a bin for recyclable waste.
- Say no to single-use water bottles and place a water cooler on each floor.
- Take lunch in reusable containers instead of disposable boxes.
How to reduce waste while travelling?
- You can reduce a lot of waste just by preventing littering. Take back everything you brought along and preserve nature’s aesthetic value.
- Instead of buying water bottles, take reusable bottles and refill whenever needed.
- Take eco-friendly toiletries such as bamboo toothbrushes, shampoo bars, paper soap, etc.
- Prepare your snacks in reusable containers rather than purchasing packaged items.
Here are more Eco-Friendly Travel Tips.
How to reduce waste in holidays?
- Holidays are the trashiest times of the year. When shopping for gifts, keep in mind to buy those things that are environmentally friendly.
- Try to buy things with minimum packaging or those whose packaging is made of recyclable materials.
- Use recycled wrapping paper for gifts or buy gifts that don’t need any wrapping.
- Use reusable glasses rather than plastic cups to stop plastic pollution.
2. Reduce Energy Usage
Most of the electricity is produced from burning non-renewable energy sources i.e., fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas). Unlike renewable energy sources, fossil fuels can deplete in nature and usually take millions of years to replenish.
Also, when burned, they release various air pollutants like greenhouse gases (GHGs). GHGs are the primary source of climate change. Therefore, reducing energy consumption means lesser GHGs emissions and hence less possibility of climate change.
How To Reduce Energy Usage?
A. Look for green energy resources
Green energy is defined as energy derived from renewable sources (solar power, hydropower, geothermal energy, etc). Talk to your nearby green energy supplier or install solar panels to power and heat your houses and buildings.
Moreover, you can also install geothermal heat pumps for heating and cooling. If you are thinking about high installation cost, think long term. All of them are comparatively cheaper in the long run.
B. Switch off and unplug appliances when not in use
Make changes in your daily behavior and turn off extra lights and fans. When a device is on ‘standby’ mode it is still utilizing energy. So unplug all your electrical appliances, such as TV, computer and microwave, if they are on standby mode.
C. Use energy-efficient lights
LED bulbs are 75% more efficient than incandescent light bulbs. Also, they last 25x longer than traditional bulbs. So replace your incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient LED bulbs.
D. Insulate your buildings
Insulation plays a key role in saving electricity. It helps your homes keep pleasant temperatures in summers and winters.
E. Install energy-efficient windows
10-25% of your energy bills may result from poorly maintained windows. If you are located in one of the warm regions, install double-pane or Low-E windows to reduce electrical load.
F. Use audiobooks instead of paper books
In terms of energy, charging your device every day you listen to your audiobook will probably not increase the waste as much. Read more about why Listing to audiobooks is an Eco solution.
3. Reduce Water Consumption
We are well aware that almost 70% of Earth is made of water. But the fresh, clean water is limited. Around just 2.5% only.
Furthermore, it takes a considerable amount of resources and energy to treat and supply clean water. These procedures produce carbon emissions and promote the global warming effect.
We can make a huge difference controlling our water usage. Here are few tips:
How to Reduce Water Consumption?
A. Don’t leave the tap running
Do you know when you’re brushing your teeth and leave the tap running you are wasting around 6 liters of water per minute? This is way more than what you actually need. Never leave it running the whole time.
B. Manage your shower-heads and shower time
Install water-saving low-flow shower-heads and cut down your shower time. Each minute can save gallons of water. It also helps to turn off your shower while applying soap or shampoo.
C. Get yourself a low-flush toilet
Old style flush can use up to 3.5 gallons of water whereas ultra-low volume (ULV) uses 1.6 gallons of water.
D. Collect rainwater
You can simply use buckets to collect rainwater or install a rainwater tank, depending on where you live. Use this water for gardening or other washing needs.
E. Use greywater
Greywater is the form of wastewater generated from household activities such as showers, washing machines, sinks, etc. It can be used for toilet flushing or watering gardens.
F. Avoid wasting food
Wasting food means you are wasting water too. Because a lot of water is used to grow the food that we eat. You throw an apple in a bin, you’re wasting water that was used to grow it.
Never underestimate what an individuals can reduce to save the environment. It can start anywhere and anytime. Small changes in your shopping list may not seem enough at first but over time these little efforts will add up to a positive impact. So change your habits and start reducing today.