7 Easy Ways to Live an Eco-Friendly Lifestyle
In today’s climate, speaking both literally and metaphorically, the word “eco-friendly” can have many definitions. For us at The Modern Agent, “eco-friendly” simply means doing our very best to live our lives with the littlest negative impact on our natural habitat. Just by considering small gestures in your everyday life you can easily make a positive impact on our environment and possibly influence others to do the same along the way.
Start making a positive impact today by adding these 7 easy ways to live an eco-friendly lifestyle.
1. Reduce leaking electricity
Eco No No:
You may not realize it but many of your home’s appliances and devices continue to use electricity while in standby mode. Typically these types of devices aren’t energy-intensive, but their large number in the average home makes them responsible for a whopping 10-15% of the average household electricity bills in the USA.
Try to get in the habit of switching off or unplugging electronics, appliances, and chargers as often as possible. Not only is this kind to our environment, but you will also notice the difference in your monthly electricity bill.
EXPERT TIP: when buying a new product, look for the “ENERGY STAR” label to ensure compliance with environmental codes.
2. Don’t waste food
Eco No No:
Did you know that between 33-50% of all food produced globally is never eaten? And that 800 million people go to bed hungry every night? Each and every one of them could be sufficiently fed on less than a quarter of the food that is wasted in the USA, UK, and Europe each year. It takes a landmass larger than China to grow the food each year that is ultimately never eaten – land that has been deforested, species that have been driven to extinction, indigenous populations that have had to relocate, soil that has been degraded – all to produce food that we then just throw away.
If you cook your meals try to measure the amount of food you will eat properly. When ordering delivery, add a note to the restaurant to cancel all plastic utensils and packaging. If you do have extra food, consider using an app like Olio, available on Android or iOS. The app allows you to share food and other items you don’t need with neighbors. So rather than throwing it out, or letting it spoil, let others in your community enjoy it.
3. Install a smart thermostat
Eco No No:
The largest energy consumer in your home is your heating/cooling system. And who can remember to turn it up when you leave?
Let a smart thermostat help you control the energy your A/C consumes. The Nest Learning Thermostat learns what temperature you like and builds a schedule around your lifestyle so you never have to remember to turn it up upon leaving. It is also the first thermostat to get ENERGY STAR certified.
4. Live in a LEED-certified building
Eco No No:
Buildings have a substantial impact on the health and wellbeing of not only its occupants but also the planet. They use resources, generate waste and are costly to maintain and operate. As humans that need shelter to survive, we will always need buildings so let’s find an eco-friendly way to live in and construct them.
Green building is the practice of designing, constructing and operating buildings to maximize occupant health and productivity, use fewer resources, reduce waste and negative environmental impacts, and decrease life cycle costs. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. Available for virtually all building, community, and home project types, LEED provides a framework to create healthy, highly efficient and cost-saving green buildings.
5. Use reusable towels for cleaning
Eco No No:
Every person in the USA uses 40 pounds of paper towels EVERY YEAR! That’s the equivalent of 80 rolls per person, per year. That’s one roll every four and a half days for every man, woman, and child. Additionally, producing all of that paper consumes a lot of resources, including 110 million trees per year and 130 billion gallons of water, all requiring huge amounts of energy to manufacture and deliver it from the factory to the store. After a single-use, all of that goes directly into a landfill.
At home, use reusable cloths for most cleaning tasks. They work better than paper towels, they cost less in the not-so-long run, and they can be rinsed or thrown into the wash for reuse.
6. Sign up for alternative energy
Eco No No:
Most of the electricity in the U.S. is made from dirty, polluting, non-renewable sources such as coal. In fact, making electricity is the #1 industrial cause of air pollution in the U.S. and creates more CO2 than any other sector.
Clean energy, on the other hand, is 100% pollution-free and produced from renewable sources that are naturally replenished and virtually inexhaustible. Creating energy from natural, renewable sources like the sun, wind and water is the better way to go.
If available in your area, you can sign up for alternative energy from your utility provider. There are many companies providing clean energy, here are just a few in the New York region: Clearview Energy, Green Mountain Energy, and CleanChoice Energy. Be sure to check your local area for clean energy providers.
7. Don’t buy single-use plastic packaged products
Eco No No:
Single-use plastics, or disposable plastics, are used only once before they are thrown away or recycled. These items are things like plastic bags, straws, coffee stirrers, soda, and water bottles and most food packaging, things you likely use in your daily life without even noticing when you toss them into the trash.
Half of the plastic we produce each year is disposable. Petroleum-based plastic is not biodegradable and usually goes into a landfill where it is buried or it gets into the water and finds its way into the ocean where it causes havoc on marine life and ecosystems.
Instead, use reusable bags when shopping. Great examples to keep on hand are by Loqi or Baggu, they are easily folded into their personal zipper pouch that can be tucked virtually anywhere for quick access. Use refillable water bottles like the ones from Dopper and Swell. And be mindful when ordering food for pickup or delivery, skip the plastic utensils and use your own.
Just getting started
All around the world, and here at home in the US we are seeing extreme weather events and evidence of climate change occurring almost daily. Our way of life in its current state is unsustainable, and we must take action immediately if we want to keep the ecosystems in which we live in balance. Each and every one of us can make a difference, just by making small changes every day.