Sustainability Series: 6 Steps You Can Take Today to be Eco-Friendly – Part 1

by Denise McGuigan January 01, 2019

Sustainability Series: 6 Steps You Can Take Today to be Eco-Friendly – Part 1

It’s more common for businesses to consider their role in the environment and society, helping set a better standard for conducting business. With businesses taking a step-up, it’s important that we do the same at home, spurring some questions: does this make me a hippie? Will it be expensive and difficult?

The answer to all these questions: not necessarily. You are not necessarily a hippie, and it will not necessarily be difficult or expensive to change your behaviors. In fact, it can actually save you money, especially in the long-run, when done correctly. This mini-series of articles will help you make small changes today that will have lasting impacts – and don’t forget to check out Part 2!

You sure you need that…?
You may have heard of the 3R Model: “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,” with reduce listed as most important. Many of us love to shop. Who doesn’t want that a full fridge or more clothes? However, next time you decide to make a purchase, think twice. if you’re throwing out food each week, rethink your grocery list. If this is your second pair of jeans this year, maybe you need to buy higher quality clothing to reduce spending later. This will save you money and reduce your waste at the source. From purchase power to water usage, the reduction philosophy will ensure you’re making a more positive impact.

Reuse It
Judging by the 3R Model, this one comes as no surprise, and can be interpreted in different ways. An obvious example is to trade plastic water bottles for reusable water canteens, helping to reduce plastic pollution in our oceans. I interpret “reuse” as fun DIY projects, using discarded items like pallets, mason jars, old tires for your garden, wood…allowing for creatively endless possibilities.

Throwing out food? Compost it.

Composting may sound intimidating in the office or at home, but it’s very rewarding and has huge environmental benefits, helping reduce demand for landfills as they rapidly reach capacity. Landfills are unjustly located in low-income areas; are smelly; emit Methane into the atmosphere; are not aesthetically pleasing; and can leach toxins into the water supply. It can also help reduce your trash and costs on trash bags, and increase plant yields.

Though it’s the third “R,” we purposely placed composting first. Recycling is complicated due to contaminated bins and, with China no longer accepting our recyclables, they are ending up in the landfill anyway. Even so, we recycle anything we can, and love using recycled materials for our awards.

Donate it
As the saying goes, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Many organizations donate used items to those who need them. We partnered with Soles4Souls so employees can donate used shoes right in our office! You can even make extra money selling items, or simply offering them for free on The FreeCycle Network – great alternatives to sending unwanted items to the landfill.

Go paperless
Enroll in the paperless option for your bank, utility and insurance company. Going paperless is more secure, efficient, and better for the environment. You can also send evites and ecards– it’s quicker and better for the environment!

No matter which of these steps you begin taking today to have a more eco-friendly lifestyle, it is all about having the desire and dedication to change your mindset and habits. We know you'll do great! Once you master these, be sure to check out Part 2 to this article!

Photo credit: WasteZero

Denise McGuigan
Denise McGuigan


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