We’ve been thinking a lot about the environment lately and things we can do in our everyday lives to reduce our impact. So on Earth Day, we wanted to share a few small changes that PicCollages team members have made in their own lives to make a difference.
Here are 8 simple things you can do that can have a big impact on your carbon footprint.
1. Invest in a travel mug
We love coffee. We’ll admit it. But we also know that our caffeine habit can have some pretty negative consequences. An estimated 50 billion paper coffee cups are used once and tossed away each year – and that’s just in the US! And the vast majority of these cups can’t be recycled 😱 Investing in a stylish travel mug is a great way to reduce a huge amount of waste over the course of a year. Plus, many chains offer discounts to customers who bring their own mug, so you’ll be saving money in the long run!
2. Read ebooks
If you’re an avid reader, reading ebooks instead of paper books can be a great way to reduce your impact. Paper accounts for a huge amount of the waste filling our landfills, and the publishing industry comprises about 11% of freshwater consumed in industrial nations. But it also takes energy to make an e-reader. So in order for this to reduce your impact on the environment, you’ll have to read at least 22 books on your Kindle or Nook.
3. Eat vegan or vegetarian 1 day/week
Meatless Mondays, anyone? Going vegan or vegetarian, even just one day a week, can have a big impact on the environment (and your health!). How big, you ask? If everyone went vegetarian for just one day, the U.S would save 100 billion gallons of water, and we would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1.2 million tons of carbon dioxide. So check out these awesome vegetarian blogs for some recipe inspiration. We promise, you won’t even miss meat when you’ve got these dishes!
4. Remove Bottle Caps
This sounds a bit counterintuitive, but hear us out. When you keep the bottle cap on and throw it into the recycling, extra liquid gets trapped because it can’t evaporate. This adds weight to the bag, which means that more energy is necessary to transport the recyclables. Once it arrives at the plant, it makes a big mess and can cause injuries. Here are some options to recycle bottle caps effectively.
5. Shop at your local farmer’s market
Did you know that food in the U.S. travels an average of 1,500 miles to get to your plate? 😮 That means lots of pollution from transporting it from the farm to your local store and lots of trash from extra packaging. When you shop at your local farmer’s market, the food is being transported a shorter distance, so there’s less impact on the environment and your food is fresher. Plus, you’re supporting local farmers who generally use growing methods that minimize the impact on the earth. Win 👏 win 👏 win.
6. Use cloth napkins for all meals
High quality cloth napkins can last for years, will save you money in the long run, and they’re just plain adorable! Huge amounts of trees and water are used to create paper towels, and as they decompose, they release methane gas into the air. Invest in a set of cloth napkins that will help keep your meals fun and waste-free.
7. Use a tote bag instead of plastic bags
Over 100 billion plastic bags are used every year in the US alone – and many of them are used for less than 10 minutes. And these single-use bags are difficult to recycle because they aren’t accepted by curbside pickup programs. One way to help curb the use of these plastic bags is by switching to a reusable tote. Now, this isn’t a perfect option since it takes a lot of resources to make cotton totes, but it used frequently and over a long period of time, using a tote bag can have a less harmful effect on the environment.
8. Use sustainable gift wrap!
When you’re giving someone a gift, you want the wrapping to be thoughtful and beautiful. But single-use wrapping paper, no matter how cute it is, is such a waste! Luckily there are lots of creative, sustainable options that you can experiment with instead. A few of our favorites?
- The Japanese tradition of furoshiki, or the art of wrapping a gift in a beautiful fabric, scarf, or bandana which can be used again & again.
- Recycled bags and boxes.
- Fabric gift bags that can be reused or re-gifted.
- Plantable gift tags.
What are some of your favorite tips and tricks to become more environmentally friendly? Create a collage and share it with the #mypiccollage so we can see your creations!