I have always been frugal, and I make an effort to not buy things that are unnecessary. I make a vague effort to buy things that are better for the environment – not nearly good enough, but it’s on my mind. This summer I am going to be interning with the Office of Sustainability here at IU, and so if I’m going to talk the talk, I need to start really walking the walk. I’ve always wanted to be better about my green living, and now is the perfect chance to learn everything I can and learn to how to be an influence on others.
Here are some things I do now to live sustainability:
- I avoid frozen dinners and food with excessive packaging
- I only buy things when I really need them – 90% of the time
- Currently using up all my random soaps and shampoos instead of buying new ones, so I can replace them with eco-friendly products
- Shop at the co-op and at farmers market when I can/when my wallet allows
- We keep our thermostat below 68 degrees, and I insulated all my windows with plastic
- Recycle, recycle, recycle–I probably recycle too much and some of the stuff the recycling truck takes probably ends up at the landfill anyway
- Last summer I grew a small garden with tomatoes and basil – this year I can’t do that, but I’m going to have some potted herbs
- Reuse grocery bags as trash bags – and my roommate and I only need to take out the trash one a month or less
- I don’t use paper towels, plates, disposable silverware, or disposable cups whenever possible. At work most people use styrofoam cups for drinks but I always use a glass instead-it’s not that hard to wash it when I’m done!
- I save restaurant to-go containers for an extra use. The aluminum ones make great baking pans!
- Collect rainwater for watering when it’s warm
- My lawn mower is battery powered and I don’t water the lawn
- I never-ever purchase bottled water. I have a brita that I really only use to make myself feel better – I rarely change the filter, but the tap water is fine so I don’t worry about it.
- Instead of buying ice for coolers, I freeze (reusable) waterbottles so that I’m not wasting water by dumping out all the melted ice – I can just drink the water when it melts!
There are other things, I’m sure, but there are a few of the easiest ways that everyone should be reducing their footprint.
Today, I took a quiz to estimate my carbon footprint on myfootprint.org. It told me that if everyone lived like me, we would need four more earths like ours to support everyone. I know this is just to sort of put things in perspective, and I’m sure I could have done much worse, but it was definitely a wake-up call that I need to be doing more.
So, my new project is to be more sustainable. I’m going to reduce waste in my own home, try to re-purpose some things, reduce my energy consumption, drive even less than I do now, and be super cognoscente of where my waste is going. I hope that along the way I can share some of the things I learn.