While every year we look at January 1 as a symbol of a fresh start and a chance to have our “best year yet”, this mindset feels more important than ever before as we move into 2021. Even though many of the challenges presented in 2020 have rolled over into the new year as the COVID-19 pandemic persists, now is the perfect opportunity to reflect on the past year and look at the things we can control as we determine what changes to make to improve ourselves and our communities going forward.
Making the choice to go green in the new year and resolving to adopt some eco-friendly actions can result in multiple positive changes to your wallet, your health and the region’s air quality. By adopting just one of many green lifestyle changes and incorporating sustainability into your daily routine, you can have a significant impact on helping people all over the St. Louis region breathe easier in 2021. Here are a few simple tips to consider for greening your New Year’s resolutions :
- 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 or taking public transportation 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 natural 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.
- 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.
- Go Paperless When Possible – Because we live in a digital world, there are many places where you can opt out of paper — whether it’s your credit card bill or receipts at your favorite store. If given the option, sign up for online banking or choose email versions of receipts when shopping. If your job requires you to use paper, encourage co-workers to print on both sides of a sheet or use the back side of old documents for scrap paper or drafts to further reduce waste. Cutting back on your paper consumption not only helps save trees, but also cuts back on air pollution and water consumption associated with producing and transporting paper.
For more great tips on how we can all work together to achieve cleaner air in 2021, visit our website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair. Have a happy and healthy New Year!