Human beings only have one planet. Everybody has a responsibility to do their part to keep things cleaner and greener.
How can you improve your ecological savvy and reduce your carbon footprint this year? Here are nine sustainable lifestyle changes to make in 2021 for a healthier planet.
1. Ditch the Straw
It’s an automatic reflex these days. You go through the drive-thru and expect a straw in your bag and think nothing of stripping the wrapper off one when stopping for a convenience-store pop.
People in the United States alone use 5 million straws every single day. Many of these don’t belong in standard recycling, nor can biological means like bacteria break them down — they stay in the environment nearly forever.
The solution? Invest in a reusable model. Many of these clip to your keychain, meaning you always have one handy when the siren song of french fries proves too much to resist on the way home from work. Some even contain a handy cleaning brush right inside the collapsable model that keeps things hygienic.
2. Bring a Bag
With the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines, many grocery stores are easing restrictions on bringing your bags — rejoice if you were one of the few who insisted on wheeling your cart to your car to pack your goods during the quarantines.
However, if you are a member of the “Darn it, I left my bag in my car and don’t want to walk back,” set, take heart. You can find reusable bags that fold up and clip to your keychain, meaning that you have no more excuses for requesting plastic at the register.
3. Use Pedal Power
If your nearest store is less than half a mile away, why drive when you can walk? If you mentioned the time factor, you aren’t alone. Today’s hectic schedules sometimes leave little room for making sustainable, if slower, choices.
However, you can slash your travel time with a bike while reducing your carbon footprint and getting exercise. You can even find electric models that produce a fraction of a car’s emissions and help power you up steep hills.
4. Investigate Walk Scores
Are you looking for a new pad? Pay attention to your location’s walk score.
Perhaps surprisingly, urban locations often have better scores than more rural ones. Don’t automatically rule out city life — you could find, like many New Yorkers, that you don’t need a vehicle or the pesky emissions associated with it at all.
5. Add a Plant
Way back in the 1980s, NASA did a study to see how they could produce a breathable atmosphere on Mars. They discovered that the humble house plant could clean toxins like toluene from the air. A new ficus is an approved impulse buy when it comes to the planet.
6. Eat Locally
Are you friends with the vendors at your farmer’s market? While grocery goods may travel thousands of miles — and produce tons of emissions during transport — these products come from close to home. You’ll reduce your emissions and feel better about serving your family fruits and veggies that you know are fresh and organic.
7. Join a Crew
Volunteering isn’t only a way to pad your resume if you have been out of work for a while. You can find neighborhood and highway cleanup crews seeking help nearly anywhere in America. You’ll meet new friends, stimulate feel-good neurotransmitter production and get a little exercise while making a sustainable lifestyle change.
8. Adjust Your Fans
If you run your HVAC system all the time, you go through tons of fuel. Why not save money on your utility bills while sustainably controlling your climate? Turn them counterclockwise in the summer to circulate air and reverse the direction in winter to pull warmer air up from baseboard registers.
9. Add a Recycle Bag to Your Ride
If you upped your road-trip quotient over the past months, you aren’t alone. Travel restrictions had more people shunning airports and turning to their rides for recreation. However, all that fun produces tons of waste, much of which you can recycle.
However, you probably noticed that not too many fast food joints, convenience stores or gas stations provide recycling bins. What can you do with all those empty pop cans? When selecting a garbage disposal system for your car, pick one with a separate section for reusable materials that you can sort in the correct bins when you arrive home.
Make These 9 Sustainable Lifestyle Changes in 2021
Protecting planet earth is everyone’s responsibility. Please consider making these nine sustainable lifestyle changes in 2021.