Here are more ideas on you can adopt to reduce you and your family’s environmental footprint.
- Take a three-minute shower three times per week. Extra credit – Turn-off the water while you soap-up (you’ll be more comfortable than you think – especially in a smaller bathroom that heats-up quickly).
- Un-plug electronic devices (TVs, computers, standing lamps, toaster ovens, toasters, can openers, DVD players, game systems, printers, speakers, food processors, blenders, etc.) when you’re not using them.
- Purchase recycled-content materials – paper products are the easiest to find, but look for recycled content in your garbage bags, aluminum foil, and even clothing.
- Use reusable containers and carriers instead of paper and plastic bags for your lunch. Consider washing and reusing Ziplock bags. (I do, except when I stored raw meat in them).
- Reduce the amount of meat in your diet, because raising livestock takes a tremendous amount of energy and can cause an incredible strain on the local environment. One can substitute the protein acquired from meat by eating soy products, meat substitutes, legumes, lentils, nuts, seeds and whole grains instead. (Source: Mayo Clinic)
- Save money by making your home more energy efficient – use compact fluorescent (CFL) or LED light bulbs, conduct an energy audit, weatherstrip or replace leaky windows and doors, use cold-water detergent or wash your clothes in cold water, buy a drying rack and use it instead of your dryer.
- Turn off lights when not in use.
- Reduce the amount of junk mail received by taking steps listed on junk mail elimination websites such as Bee SMART.
- Choose to buy your energy that powers your home, business, or place or worship from green or renewable suppliers. According to Dominion Power’s website, “customers may purchase electricity supply from 100 percent renewable sources from competitive suppliers if their local utility company does not include renewable energy as a source of generation.” (Source: Dominion Power)
- Grow your own vegetables, shop at one of Alexandria’s Farmer’s Markets, or participate in a community garden like Chinquapin Garden.
- Stop buying bottled water. Not only is bottled water a waste of resources (making the plastic bottles, shipping the water, etc.), but bottled water is not held to the same stringent safety standards as tap water. Alexandria also happens to have some of the best water in the country. Substitute disposable water bottles for a reusable bottle that you can take with you.
- Increase the amount of materials your household reuses. For example, save wrapping paper or substitute with newspaper comics, gift bags. Consider looking for an item on FreeCycle, eBay, or Craigslist before purchasing it new.
- Visit Alexandria Recycle and Reuse network’s website for more information on recycling and reuse.
- Replace paper napkins or paper towels with cloth napkins.
I am exploring tools that readers can use to post, revise, and track their environmental pledges so that others may see them and be inspired. If anyone is familiar with such an application, please don’t hesitate to let me know.