During the month of January, the “new year, new me” mentality is top of mind for many, with popular New Year’s resolutions focused on eating better, hitting the gym more, pursuing a career ambition or taking up a new hobby. While few people actually stick to extreme goals, we oftentimes overlook other aspects of daily life where simple changes can have a significant impact on our health and the planet.
Making the conscious choice to go green in 2022 and resolving to adopt some eco-friendly actions will result in multiple positive changes to your wallet, your well-being and the region’s air quality. You might even be surprised to learn how truly easy it can be to incorporate sustainability into your everyday routine. If you’re unsure where to begin, here are a few tips to consider for greening your resolutions for the year ahead:
- Walk, Bike or Take Public Transit – Since transportation-related emissions have always been one of the biggest contributors to air pollution, the choices people make on how to get around considerably affect air quality and the health of the region. Actions like walking and biking instead of using a vehicle for short trips, taking public transportation or sharing the ride to work in a carpool or vanpool are all great ways to reduce harmful auto emissions to help keep the air quality in healthy ranges.
- Green Your Home – When your appliances have reached the end of their useful lives, opt for new ones that are Energy Star® rated to maximize efficiency. Switching out incandescent light bulbs with LEDs, putting timers on lights and investing in smart power strips will also help to eliminate unnecessary electricity use. While reducing and reusing are the most effective ways to save money and resources, recycling is another vital piece of greening your home by helping to keep waste out of landfills and turning glass, paper, plastic and other items into new materials. Set up separate recycling bins in your home so it’s easy for all family members to participate and consider purchasing recycled products to help clean the air.
- Nix Bottled Water – Did you know that up to 80 percent of single-use water bottles in the United States never get recycled? Not only does the production of plastic water bottles contribute significant amounts of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, their litter lingers for years on end. Instead of buying single-use bottles when you’re out and about, consider buying a reusable water bottle you can take with you and refill as needed to cut down on unnecessary waste and help improve air quality.
- Go Paperless When Possible – There are many places where you can opt out of paper – whether that be credit card bills, receipts or even your favorite household cleaning products. Paper towels, for example, may be useful and convenient but collectively contribute to deforestation and an ever-increasing waste problem. Microfiber cloths, cloth or cotton napkins are great alternatives to keep on hand for kitchen spills and messes that are also more sustainable and cost-effective. Signing up for online banking, opting for email versions of receipts, printing on both sides of a sheet or using the back side of old documents for scrap paper are also resourceful ways to reduce paper waste. This helps to save trees and cut back on air pollution and water consumption associated with producing and transporting paper.
- Think Globally, Buy Locally – Locally grown food offers countless benefits and also helps to reduce environmental impact. Imported food is often shipped hundreds and sometimes even thousands of miles to arrive at the supermarket. The greater distance the food has to travel, the more fossil fuels are consumed. Buying local produce reduces the amount of travel time for big transport trucks, ultimately improving the air quality by cutting back on air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
For more great tips on how we can all work together to achieve cleaner air in 2022, visit our website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair. Have a happy and healthy New Year!