5 Simple Ways to Be Greener in 2020

December 30, 2019

New Year’s Day is even more special this year, as 2020 marks the beginning of a whole new decade. As you plan your resolutions, consider making a commitment to going green in the new year.

Making any kind of change might seem daunting. However, incorporating some eco-friendly practices into your daily routine is easier than you think. Following these simple steps for being greener in 2020 will put you well on your way to protecting the planet for decades to come.

Opt-In to Going Digital

In today’s high-tech world, paying bills, doing banking transactions, making appointments, and shopping is easier than ever when you do it online. Many companies give customers a choice to pay monthly bills, receive statements, and even store concert and movie tickets online via a computer or mobile device. Opting-in to these digital solutions with a couple of clicks of a mouse or taps of an app helps save trees and reduces the carbon emissions associated with physical mail delivery.

Recycle, Repurpose, Reduce

The three “Rs” of eco-friendly living, Recycle, Repurpose, and Reduce, will go a long way in protecting the planet. Pick up a recycling bin from your nearest township office or recycling center and start to recycle paper, glass, and other items instead of tossing things out and adding to the overcrowded landfills. If you’re not sure how to start or what items are recyclable, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) posts easy guidelines on its website.

Repurposing items instead of throwing them away can be fun – and it’s also eco-friendly. For example, you can turn an old suitcase into a chic end table, swap old clothes with friends and family, or make a decorative floating shelf from a stack of books. The possibilities are limitless for turning trash into treasure.

Finding new uses for old items is one easy way to reduce waste. You can also compost food scraps, buy just enough food for a particular meal or freeze leftovers in a timely manner to avoid pitching excess that won’t get eaten. Furthermore, you can reduce energy usage and cut utility bills by using a programmable smart thermostat like the Nest or using timers for your lights so they turn off during the day to conserve electricity.

Carpool, Bike, or Use Mass Transit

Ride-sharing is becoming more popular and carpooling to school or work will help save gas and reduce harmful carbon emissions. If you’re doing it with a group of co-workers or students, make a rotating schedule so that everyone drives part of the time. This will also save wear and tear on your car and reduce your monthly gas budget.

You can also cut carbon emissions by walking, biking or using mass transit whenever possible. If you want to keep track of your carbon footprint, you can find household and business carbon calculators online from the EPA.

Make the Reusable Switch

According to statistics from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, each year billions of pounds of trash and other pollutants end up in the ocean. These toxic items are killing marine life. Microplastics are a major part of the problem.

To help fight this lethal issue, switch from drinking water out of single-use plastic bottles to a reusable mug or tumbler. Similarly, use stainless steel straws instead of plastic ones, switch from paper plates to washable, reusable dishes, and opt for a reusable cloth bag in the grocery store to eliminate using those plastic handle bags. When in doubt, reusing anything is better than throwing soiled dishes, cups, napkins, baggies, and other items away.

Reduce Water Waste

Water is one of the world’s most vital natural resources. Sadly, over 844 million people in the world lack access to clean water. That’s why none of us should take water for granted and we should all find ways to reduce the amount of water we waste.

Simple water conservation techniques include turning off the faucet while we brush our teeth and washing clothes and dishes only when you have a full load. Plus, you can take shorter showers, install a low-flow showerhead, don’t rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, and always repair a leak as soon as it’s discovered.

By Lori Melton