Go Green!

So. Think you have what it takes to be green?

We can’t all be all cool as Yoda or Kermit the frog, but there are lots of other options that are even better. Here you can find all sorts of suggestions and ideas to incorporate into your everyday life so that we can all enjoy the amazing natural wonders this world has to offer for just a little bit longer.

Trash

Read: less of it. If you are buying something new, choose the product that has the least amount of packaging, with hopefully most of that being recyclable.

The best option is buying used. Every time something is purchased new, demand for it increases and more are produced. Especially with electronics, opt for something that has already been purchased and isn’t going to be used otherwise. Not only are you saving it from the landfill, you’re saving all of the materials that would have been used in the product had it been bought new.

Reduce-Reuse-Recycle: in that order. Recycling last. If at all possible, don’t make the trash in the first place! Trash sucks.

Food waste is even worse. Fully one-third of food produced worldwide is wasted every year– and in your own house, it’s pretty easy to remove entirely. Check out your cupboard or fridge and make a list of what you need before you go, so you don’t get something you already have. FIFO! First in, first out. If something is on the verge of going bad, use it for your next meal! And when all else fails, compost. Don’t send food waste to the landfill!

Don’t use anything one-time only. Ziplock bags? Unless it’s all slimy it’ll probably work just as good as a new one. To-go containers? Wash them out and use them as storage. Water bottle? Refill it! Once whatever you’re using is completely toast, recycle! For weird materials that don’t fit your areas recycling codes, check out Terracycle.

Transportation & Carbon Emissions

Your vehicle emits a huge amount of carbon into the atmosphere– at 25 mpg, every hundred miles you drive puts 66 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere. Considering the average person drives 12,000 miles in a year, that’s almost 8,000 pounds of CO2. Need some groceries? Likely it’s only a couple miles away. Walk, bike or run to do your errands when possible– which is more often than most people think!

Thousands of miles are driven transporting foods and goods to your local supermarket and stores. Chances are there aren’t any banana farms nearby in Colorado– but who doesn’t love bananas?  Buy local whenever possible to reduce these hidden carbon emissions.

Driving isn’t the only source of carbon emissions– there’s a decent chance the electricity in your home comes from coal or other fossil fuels. Cut back on your electricity usage– there are tons of ways. Google it. Some obvious ones are turning your lights off and using natural lighting during the day, not leaving the television on all night or when you aren’t home, and unplugging unused electronics.

Water

The average American uses 100 GALLONS of water every day. Cut down on your shower time, turn off the faucet when washing dishes and brushing teeth, make sure your washing machine and dishwater all full before running. Just be conscious of your usage. Water is a finite resource.

Vegetarian and vegan diets require drastically less water than one heavy in meat. One pound of beef requires 1,847 gallons of water to produce. Broccoli, although not quite as delicious, requires 34 gallons/lb. (Another fun fact– per calorie, broccoli actually has more protein than beef, at 15 g/100 calories. Beef has 11 g/100 calories. But 100 calories of broccoli is quite a lot.) I certainly will never be accused of being a vegetarian, but try to cut back on meat when possible. No one needs a burger or steak seven days a week.

Resources

Want to find out your carbon footprint? Check out this calculator and find out how many earths it would take to support the population if everyone lived like you did. Chances are it’s quite a bit more than you’d expect.

Check out this guy— Rob Greenfield has inspired thousands with his crazy, whacky and awesome projects to be an example of sustainable living, and has tons of ideas for how to do so in your everyday life.