Living sustainably benefits Mother Nature, of course, but it can also benefit you—and your bank account. Best yet: it doesn’t have to be difficult.
So, in honor of Earth Day (April 22nd), we at Masiello Employment are revealing our Top 9 (Painlessly!) Sustainable Steps you can take to make the world just a little bit greener than it was before.
- Stop Junk Mail. Americans receive so much unwanted mail annually that, over your lifetime, it’s estimated you’ll spend eight months opening it all—and only about a quarter of it will be recycled. It’s time to put your mailbox on a diet! Direct Mail Association represents thousands of companies who advertise via direct mail—go to DMAchoice.org and remove yourself from much of the unwanted mail you receive with their opt-out service. (Mother Nature, and your mailman’s back, will thank you.)
- Drink Tap Water. Each year, something like 30 billion (yes, billion) plastic water bottles are sold in the United States, and barely 20-percent are recycled after use. The shocking secret? Most of these bottles contain municipal water—the same you get from the tap. Avoid the middle man, and his mark-ups, by investing (once!) in a good-quality home water filter and a BPA-free reusable water bottle, and use both every day to keep healthy and hydrated.
- Dispose Your Use of Disposable Items. It’s certainly convenient to use and then toss a houseful of items, from razors to K-Cups®, but there’s a real, and hefty, price to pay: overflowing landfills. Next time you go shopping, consider the end life of each product and purchase a sustainable alternative if available (like a reusable razor or a K-Cup® Reusable Coffee Filter).
- Trash the Way You Create Trash. You can substantially reduce the trash you create, and all the expenses around it, in two ways: (1) by donating or reselling all items deserving of a second life, like your old computer monitor or those pants that no longer fit, and (2) by shopping smarter for your groceries (nearly 40-percent of all groceries are thrown out—that’s a waste of your money!)
- Reconsider How You Get Around. The United States is a country of drivers—if you must use a car to get from here to there, reduce your energy consumption by keeping your tires properly inflated, respecting the posted speed limit (the slower you drive, the less energy you use), and combining trips when possible. For local jaunts, think about walking, cycling, or riding the bus.
- Support Local Farmers. Chances are, many of the ingredients that made up your most recent meal traveled around the world to end up on your plate. Not only does all that travel burn up lots of precious (and costly) energy, but the food itself suffers from the journey—often picked well before ripeness, it’s probably bio-engineered to withstand transport and is severely lacking in flavor once it arrives. Instead, enjoy fresh, great-tasting produce from local farmers; if possible, search out local sources for meats, poultry, and seafood, too.
- Support Local Business Owners. Sure, the big box stores lure you in with unbeatable deals, but you’re sacrificing important things—like a sense of community and personal service—to save a few bucks. The next time you need something (whether it’s a book to read this summer or a bottle of wine to drink tonight) go first to locally-owned businesses in your area. Though you might pay a bit more, the experience and the end-result for you, and for the business owner, is worth it.
- Get Political. There’s certainly power in each one of us making sustainable choices in our daily lives, but we make substantial change when we work together through legislation. No matter what party you affiliate with, we all benefit from a sustainable culture. Contact your city and state officials and request more sustainable efforts; to make things happen, stay in touch with these officials, vote for those who share your same goals, and take action to get the word out to others.
- Reduce Energy Use at Home. Do things every day that support energy conservation, like using lights only in the room you’re in, turning off all appliances you’re not using, setting your thermostat lower in the winter and air drying clothes instead of using the dryer. Over time, these easy actions become habits—and you’ll only notice them when your electricity bill comes in…lower than usual.
Finally, when it comes to your job or job search, sustain your sustainability by looking for ways to be eco-friendly in your day-to-day, from carpooling with co-workers to packing your own lunch. Happy Earth Day, everyone!