10 things you can do in 2019 to live greener
Happy Earth Day (every day)! Thanks for following along on our countdown with us – we hope you learned some tips and tricks on how to live a more sustainable lifestyle. To wrap it all up, we’re summarizing what we’ve shared over the last 10 days and are wrapping it up with lists on 10 ways to live greener: At home, at work, and while you’re out and about.
At the end of this post, you’ll find a downloadable empty list of 10 things to commit to changing this year. Print it off or use it as a framework on your phone or tablet, so that you can go through this article and pick-and-choose 10 simple things you’re willing to commit to in order to live a more sustainable life in 2019.
Lookback at the #LiveBetter10 countdown to Earth Day
Day 5: The No Straw Movement
• The “no straw” movement is something that people have been talking about for a little while now. This post talks about why plastic straws are so harmful for the environment, and what you can do to stop using (or replace) them ASAP.
• Clean indoor air quality is super important for your health and the health of the environment. This post talks about how and what plants help clean the air in your home (*this post is beneficial for planning what to grow in your indoor garden, too).
• Did you know that bees are one of the most important parts of our ecosystem? There’s so much to know about these little pollinator insects – and we really get into the thick of it (the honey), in this post.
• This post provides the lowdown on what it means for a building to be “LEED Certified”. We see “LEED” on buildings in our Canadian cities, and think it’s an important certification that ensures our buildings are being designed, built and operated sustainably.
Day 9: 10 ways to be plastic free
• Plastic is a growing concern for our oceans and waterways – and is still being used and disposed of without a second thought. This post discusses the consequences of plastic on the environment, and how we can avoid using it in our everyday lives.
• Essential oils can replace chemicals in your home for cleaning and making the air smell nice – but they also clean the air and actually have a ton of benefits for your health. This post breaks down the benefits of essential oils and which ones you should use in different areas in your home.
There you have it – our 10 sustainability countdown posts summarized. Keep reading for quick tips to apply to your life this year (at home, at work, and on-the-go) to lower your footprint and make positive changes to the environment and those around you. We’ve got 30 simple ideas below, so be sure to read through them all and pick your favourite 10 (or less, or more) to commit to.
10 quick tips for living more sustainably at home
There are a ton of things you can do to live greener at home – and these are just a few. We chose these 10 tips for a more sustainable home because they’re simple, effective, and inexpensive.
1. Do the toilet dye test to see if your toilet’s leaking. If it is, find out what’s wrong and you’ll save water.
2. Use cotton dish towels instead of paper towels and napkins – to use less waste when entertaining, major cleans and minor cleans.
3. Get a water filter at home if you’re not into your tap water. It’s not necessary to continue buying plastic water bottles anymore – there are better (and less expensive) options out there.
4. Unplug electronics when you’re done with them at home, or plug them into a power bar for an easy on-and-off switch. Electronics, even when turned off, still use energy. In addition (this could count as another tip, but it’s an easy one), replace all your bulbs with LED or CFL light bulbs to save even more.
5. Plant flowers that pollinators will enjoy (like bees, hummingbirds and butterflies), and don’t be afraid of honey bees. They only sting when they feel threatened and they’re super important for our natural ecosystem.
6. Choose 3+ cleaning products that you’re going to ditch and replace with natural cleaning products instead. Even better, make some DIY products and tell your friends what works so they do it too.
7. Switch out your showerhead for a low-flow one. They’re inexpensive, work well, and result in significant water savings. If you don’t want to spend or you love your current showerhead, commit to taking shorter showers instead. Come up with a specific time limit and set a timer on your phone – it’s that easy.
8. Plant one or two of our 10 recommended plants that clean the air in your home. Learn how to care for them, and in the long-term, they’ll care for you too.
9. Invest in a diffuser and essential oils starter pack to replace your standard air freshener. Air fresheners aren’t great for the environment, your air quality or your health – plus essential oils are relaxing, reduce stress, and can actually help you sleep better.
10. Next time you need to buy a new Tupperware, don’t. Instead, pack leftovers or your lunch in a mason jar or a glass, stainless steel, or silicone container to reduce the amount of plastics you’re using.
10 simple ways to go green at work
You can’t always help what others do in your workplace, but you can always control what you do. Things like learning how to properly recycle and turning your screen off at the end of the day are little things that can go a long way in reducing waste and energy consumption. Here’s 10 quick tips for being more eco-friendly at work:
1. Set your printer defaults to automatically print double-sided, and reduce your margins to save paper.
2. Unplug electronics when you’re done with them at work, like your phone charger and the kettle, and be sure to turn your screen off before you leave for the day.
3. Take the time to learn what waste should be recycled, composted and thrown out so that you’re recycling properly. If you’re noticing a lot of plastic in the garbage (as an example), think about putting a poster or two up explaining what should be recycled vs. thrown away.
4. Get an air-cleaning plant for your desk or workspace. It’ll improve the air quality you’re breathing in, and you might find you catch germs and sickness less often than before!
5. Pack your lunch in a reusable container, and if your workplace doesn’t have a kitchen with cutlery, bring your own from home.
6. Use Google Docs or Dropbox to create and share documents with coworkers, instead of printing off multiple versions of a single document as new updates are made.
7. Take transit, bike, or carpool to work rather than driving or ordering a car on your own.
8. Need new work clothes? You might be surprised what you can find for work at thrift shops. Lots of people want to change up their work wardrobes – just be sure you’re donating to, and shopping at, thrift or goodwill stores. You’ll save money and reduce waste, especially if you love to shop!
9. Use old paper for notes before recycling instead of using blank pages. You’ll save a ton of paper this way!
10. Turn off lights when you leave a conference room or shared space. Better yet, talk to your employer about installing automatic lighting – it’s not super pricey, and saves money in the long-run!
10 ways to reduce waste while you’re out-and-about
Going shopping for the day, taking your kids to the zoo, or running errands? We have busy lives and are constantly on the go – so it’s important to make sure you prepare before leaving your house so that you can be green even when you’re out. Here are some ways you can do that:
1. Carry around cotton mesh bags (in your backpack, purse, or laptop bag) to ensure you’re using less single-use plastic bags.
2. Invest in a reusable water bottle for when you’re on the go. You’ll spend less money, use less plastic, and increase your daily H2O intake, which is never a bad thing.
3. If you’d always prefer to have a straw in your drink, purchase and carry around a reusable straw. Most come with their own cases and cleaning pipes these days, so it makes it easy to go green and use less plastic.
4. Take transit instead of driving, ride-sharing or cabbing to reduce your 2019 carbon footprint. If you’re going somewhere that’s tough to take transit to, try “Uber Pool” instead of getting a private ride. If it’s not too far and you have a bike, go for it! The weather is only improving as the days go on.
5. Pack a zero waste lunch. Whether running errands or going for a hike with your friends, it’ll save money and waste if you pack food ahead of time. Think about how much waste a fast-food place produces – everything is wrapped in plastic or paper!
6. Recycle! This one seems obvious – but it’s important to remember that just because you’re not home, doesn’t mean you should ignore recycling when you’re in public.
7. Think twice before buying, and if you’re not sure, take a picture of it on your phone and force yourself to think about it for a week. This can mean electronics, clothes or home décor items – but if you really want it, you won’t forget about it. And sometimes impulse buying leads to a lot of waste, so this is a great goal to strive for in 2019.
8. Pay attention to the clothes you’re buying to ensure they’re ethical and sustainable. Good companies that are dedicated to sustainable production and labour do exist, like this list of fashion brands that discourage “fast-fashion” and waste.
9. Pay attention to food labels when you’re shopping to ensure you’re buying sustainable food that’s safe for you and the environment. If you’re eating out, ask for no straw and seek out restaurants that promote healthy and sustainable food processes.
10. Pick up garbage when you’re in public areas. If you go to the park and see a piece of garbage, throw it out or recycle it properly. Same goes for parking lots and other spaces – it doesn’t take a lot of time but it has a positive impact on the environment.
It's all here – 30+ tips on how you can commit to living more sustainably in 2019 at home, at work, and when you’re in public. Let us know what you’ve committed to this year, using #LiveBetter10 on social media!
To download and fill out your list of 10 sustainable changes to commit to in 2019, click the button below: