BY RHIANN MOORE
Although little gestures often seem futile when people in power can’t be bothered to do their part, they can actually make a huge difference in maintaining the environment and lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Here are some basic tips and tricks to get into in 2017 (New Year, New Earth?). That way when the world meets the inevitable end, you don’t have to feel guilty.
Most of us recycle, but there are actually a lot of strange and unknown rules to recycling and when broken they can spoil an entire bin of recyclable materials, the following are the most important to follow:
- Rinse out cans: wet and sticky cans make all of your recycling plain old trash
- Don’t recycle wet cardboard, it will contaminate the entire bin
- Don’t recycle bottle tops
- Don’t worry about a little peanut butter or a beer lime, condiments can be taken out at recycling facilities, it’s liquid that’s the problem
Walk, bike, take transit or carpool
This is a classic, but it can’t be stressed enough how important it is to lessen our greenhouse gas emissions and the less people drive the better. Sometimes it can’t be avoided in one’s day-to-day life, but if that’s the case consider keeping a record of every drive you take – take a look at the end of the week and decide which drives were necessary and which could have been avoided. If the average person restricts driving to twice a week, greenhouse gas emissions will be lowered by 1,590 pounds a year.
Avoid food waste
Plan meals in advance, donate to food kitchens and keep track of how much food you wind up throwing away weekly so that you can adjust how much you buy. The absolute best way to avoid food waste is to compost. Reducing the amount of waste you produce every year means you take up less space in landfills. If you’re a gardener compost is also an excellent fertilizer.
Turn off lights/turn on more energy conscious lights
Don’t leave lights on when you’re not in the room is one of the easiest environmental rules to follow and yet it rarely is. It can be difficult to remember, but once you’re in the habit you’ll never forget.
Speaking of lights, exchange standard bulbs for CFLs, these bulbs last for way longer and use about two thirds of the energy, meaning you save on your hydro bill and you don’t have to change your lightbulbs as often.
This one’s great because once again not only are you saving the environment, you’re also saving on hydro bills. It’s also incredibly easy if you want it to be. Die-hard environmentalists can do things like stop flushing pee, or re-using shower water for plants and for flushing the toilet. If you’re less keen on those, that’s okay – just do things like time your showers to keep them nice and short, wash your clothes with cold water, scrub hands and brush teeth without the water running and fill the sink to wash dishes instead of letting the water run.