-Delaney Pals ’18
A common preconceived notion is that one has to make great sacrifices in their life in order to be sustainable. However, there are many little things you can do each day that will help make a big difference, without having to drastically change your lifestyle, or even leave your couch! The list below highlights easy things you can do to help the environment:
- (Red)Meatless Monday: By cutting just one meal of red meat out of your diet, you can drastically reduce your carbon footprint. You can decrease it even further by making that meal completely vegetarian. According to The Guardian, “red meat requires 28 times more land to produce than pork or chicken, 11 times more water and results in five times more climate-warming emissions.”
- Bring a reusable mug/cup with you: Many departments on campus have free tea/coffee/cocoa and hot water, so save the $2.50 and the disposable cup by bringing your own!
- Decrease your use of K-Cups: K-Cups are not recyclable in typical recycling collections and they end up in landfills. Reports indicate that the number of K-Cups sold in 2014 could circle the globe 10.5 times. If cutting K-Cups out completely is not an option, you can collect them and recycle at the International Office or buy a reusable K-Cup.
- Keep your windows closed when the heat is on: Even though opening the window might make it feel cooler inside, the heater will keep cranking heat to keep the room at the temperature to which the thermostat is set. So a more environmentally friendly option is to turn down the thermostat instead of opening your window. Cuddle up in a blanket if you’re still cold!
- Wash clothes on the brights or cold setting: Households that switch to cold water save 1600 pounds of CO2 emissions per year.3 These emissions come from heating the water used to wash clothes, so switching to cold water (which is shown to be as effective in washing clothes given our efficient detergents) helps you reduce these emissions. To save even more energy – and help your clothes last longer – avoid putting your clothes in the dryer and instead use a drying rack.
- Use your energy-efficient dishwasher: Studies have shown that hand washing dishes uses 27 gallons of water on average and 2.5 kW hours to heat the water (for 12 place settings), whereas an energy-efficient dishwasher only uses 4 gallons of water and 1 kW hour of energy per load. So load up your dishwasher, not only saving you time and energy, but also helping the environment!
- Bring reusable bags to Price Chopper: And recycle your old non-reusable bags there as well!
Check out this list from the UN Sustainable Development Goals to learn about more easy things you can do each day to decrease your carbon footprint and help the environment without dramatically altering your lifestyle. If every person implements some of these minor changes in their lives, together we can make a big difference.