We all want to do our part to save the planet, but it’s hard. We want big results, but those begin with small changes to our everyday routines.
If you’re ready to up your sustainability game it’s time to think small.
Stop leaving the lights on
It’s no secret that what people waste the most of is energy, and the lights in our home play a big role. Every time you leave a room with the light still on, you’re needlessly using energy. However, different bulb types waste energy, when you’re not in the room, in different ways, so it’s important to know the optimal way to use your lights.
- Incandescent lights, the least efficient type of lighting, give off more heat than light, so never leave them on when you’re not using them (and consider switching to more energy efficient bulbs.)
- Halogen lights also waste energy when on, so always turn them off when you leave a room.
- CFL lights only begin to conserve energy if you’re not going in-and-out of a room. Only switch them off if you’re not coming back for 15 minutes or more.
- LED lights are energy efficient, no matter how many times you turn them on and off, but remember to hit the light switch each time you exit the room.
Think about what you waste
A primary producer of waste in our homes is packaging. Some we can recycle, but a lot of food containers, such as those from drive thru restaurants and take out places, are not. Making the adjustment to eateries that use compostable packaging can make a difference, but your small change can be as simple as refusing plastic straws.
Even better, think about ordering out less and cooking more. You can then limit the food packaging waste you produce. While it’s not every night that you’re excited to get into the kitchen and cook, you can build a list of easy recipes to keep you on your sustainability mission. Some good options include:
- Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas
- Ravioli with Broccoli and Sun-dried Tomatoes
- Pesto Pork Chops with Buttery Cauliflower
- Teriyaki Salmon Rice Bowl
Watch your water
We like our water hot, a lot, but it uses up two essential resources, energy and water. With a few simple tweaks, you can reduce your water consumption, which in turn lowers the energy use in your home.
This involves more than just taking shorter, slightly colder showers, although that’s a biggie too. It’s also about how you use your water-guzzling appliances. Dishwashers and washing machines are the two primary culprits. To utilize these in ways that use less water and less energy, make sure you’re cleaning a full load every time. Load up the dishwasher until there’s no space left, and cram in that last pair of pants into your washing machine. This leads to fewer cycles and less consumption of our valuable resources.
Adjust your thermostat
Changing the temperature on your thermostat just one or two degrees is another way to lessen your energy consumption. This small change can have a big impact when it comes to your monthly utility bills as well.
A single degree change, over a prolonged period, can reduce your energy use by an entire percent. If you can move it more, even larger savings. Of course, this impacts the temperature of your home, but you can use non-energy-consuming methods to stay cool and keep warm as well.
- In the winter, keep a thick, plush blanket on your couch to curl up with and keep warm.
- Put up blinds or thicker curtains on your windows to keep the sun, and the heat, out of your house in the summer.
Opt for locally-sourced
It might not seem like it works toward sustainability to use local, but think again. When you buy produce, meat, or any grocery items from different countries, and even states, it has to travel a long way to get to you. That means a lot of CO2 coming from the planes, trucks, and other vehicles handling the transportation. Instead, shop for products closer to home whenever you can, and look for items that use environmentally-friendly packaging.
And remember, as you’re shopping, to use your own, reusable grocery bags rather than bringing home more plastic ones. While most groceries will recycle those, you’re making a small change for a bigger impact by refusing to use them altogether.
Look for companies already giving back
Another small way to make a big impact is to use the products and services from businesses who are taking on a suitability mission of their own. This applies to a variety of industries, including what gasoline you put into your car.
At Stop & Shop it’s easy to reduce your carbon footprint, and think sustainably simply by pumping gas. With the Restore program, Stop & Shop offsets the emissions from the fuel you purchase by up to 30 percent. This is through an investment in carbon reduction projects and by working with local communities to plant trees and develop green spaces. To learn more about this small way you can leave a big mark on sustainability, visit a Stop & Shop gas station today.