Most of us have no desire to join the off-the-grid, tree huggers that constantly try to school us in the ways of the eco-friendly. But we can also admit that some of our habits are a little more brown than we’d like, and a spruce of green is definitely in order.
First step? Fix your morning commute. Whether you’re a city dweller, or country bumpkin, chances are you make about a hundred, detrimental environmental mistakes before you ever step foot in the office. The good news is that you can seriously help the environment by changing just 5.
1. Nix the Starbucks Cup.
We like our morning cup of Joe as much as the next person, but consider how much paper is wasted when we use, then toss, just 5 cups per week. And no matter how many "eco-friendly" coffee cups are invented, nothing beats the reusable stuff.
We love this Starbucks cup doppleganger from Urban Outfitters. It looks just like the real thing, but with a porcelain cup and silicon lid.
To-Go Cup, $20. Available at Urban Outfitters.
2. Just Say "No" To Solitary Commutes.
It takes energy to get us from our homes to our jobs, so the best way to make your commute greener is to decrease the amount of energy you use.
If you live in a city with safe, reliable public transportation, experiment with taking the bus or train two or three times per week.
Or, if you are in close proximity to a co-worker, suggest a carpool with a 50/50 split on the fuel. You’ll definitely save money on gas and save a few precious gallons of fuel in the process.
Visit PublicTransportation.org for more information about your city’s transportation.
3. Become a Bag Lady.
For those that pack lunches in the morning, take a look at what kind of materials you use. If you’re a fan of small, sandwich bags think twice before you toss it after eating. Depending on what foods it has held, many bags can be rinsed out and re-used for the next day’s lunch.
Or, better yet, invest in reusable snack bags like these cute handmade, cotton zipper bags.
Re-thinking your brown paper bags can also be a major coup for the environment. Consider using a plastic grocery bag, or one of those tiny shopping bags you get from retail stores like Sephora or Victoria’s Secret, to hold your lunch.
2 Reusable Le Petit Snack Bags, $8.50. Available at Etsy.
4. Pack an Un-Organic Lunch
Fun Fact: The fuel used to import organic food outweighs the environmental benefits of buying organic, according to a study published on the BBC. The good news? You can stop feeling guilty for not buying organic.
But you’re not completely off the hook yet, since buying locally grown produce, dairy, and meat is one of the best things you can do for your local economy and environment.
We love shopping for fresh fruit and veggies at local co-ops and farmer’s market. To find one in your area, go to FarmersMarket.com for a directory of markets.
5. Get Disconnected
The TV, your laptop, DVD player, curling iron, all of that continues to use energy if it is plugged into a wall. Start a habit of unplugging things after you’re done with them, or just do a sweep of your home before leaving for work and make sure most of your appliances are unplugged. Common culprits include styling products like a hair dryer or flat iron, cell phone chargers, and computers.
So, what do you think? What are you doing to become more green?
– Whitney Teal
Go Green photo courtesy of Avon Elementary School.
Train photo courtesy of Curtis Door Systems.