Whether it’s picking up trash in your neighborhood, breaking free from single-use plastics, or changing from paper bills to paying online, make this the year you turn Earth Day into a year-round effort. Don’t stop after Earth Day 2022. Here are eight ways to incorporate saving the Earth into your everyday life:
Delete your old emails
This may surprise you, but your inbox contains thousands of old and unread emails that harm the environment. If every person deleted 500 old emails, it would free up storage space and save kilowatts of power.
How is this possible? According to sustainability experts, it’s estimated that the average office worker receives 121 emails per day. Each email contributes 0.3 grams of CO2. So, keep deleting those old emails and also unsubscribe to newsletters you don’t read.
Incorporate zero-waste bathroom products into your home
Things like shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste, and deodorant can all be more environmentally friendly just by switching to plastic free or refillable brands. Check out brands like Ethique for a plethora of eco-friendly toiletry options.
Also, did you know 1 million toothbrushes are thrown away in the U.S. alone? Moreover, 50 million pounds of toothbrushes are added to landfills in the U.S. annually. Check out WooBambo for a variety of long-lasting bamboo toothbrushes.
Switch to cloth rags over paper towels
It takes 17 trees and 20,000 gallons of water to make just one ton of paper towels. How much paper towel do households in the U.S. use? A lofty 6.5 million tons in just one year.
The most sustainable option is to thrift rags or cut old towels into rags, though purchasing cotton rags can be a great exchange as well.
Use your home utilities earlier in the day
According to Cisco DeVries, CEO of OhmConnect and energy expert, peak energy times like 6 p.m. when everyone is home from work cause a surge in energy demands. Because of this, CO2 intensive auxiliary “peaker” plants fire up instead of the typical conventional plant. This leads to two to three times the amount of carbon emissions in the environment, and even a pricier energy bill. Seasonal peak demand occurs when weather gets hotter or colder than normal and heating and cooling demand is at its highest. During hot spells, added heat from clothes drying, cooking, and dishwasher use can make your air conditioner run longer as it works to remove the excess heat and humidity.
Peak times depend on where you live. Protect the environment by reducing energy use when local peak conditions exist. Since peak demand differs by geography, season, hour and day of week, and generation mix, your local utility is the best source of information on when conditions peak. As a rule-of-thumb, after 9 p.m. and before 9 a.m. are off-peak in most situations.
Don’t do small loads of dishes or laundry
Only running full loads of laundry and dishes can make an impressionably large impact on yearly water usage. According to the University of Michigan’s Planet Blue, “The average washing machine uses 13,500 gallons of water per year. That is as much water as you will drink in your lifetime.”
Utilizing this tip in your everyday life will save not just the environment, but also your water bill.
Switch to online billing
From the paper used to print your bills and the emissions used to get them to your mailbox, the universe is paying a higher price on your monthly energy or water bills than you are. Switching to electronic billing can take away this hefty burden and even make paying your bills more efficient for you.
Donate your time
Not everyone has access to plastic-free, zero-use products or the latest and greatest eco-friendly gadgets — and that is OK. Spending some time in your local park safely disposing of trash can be a tremendous way of helping the environment, and free too.
It is the little things you can do that will make a great impact in your community.
By Meagan Brown, TDS Communications Intern