While it’s easy to think about all the extreme changes you’re going to make in the New Year as the old one comes to an end, by the middle of January, most of us are already finding reasons to skip the gym or break the spending freeze. However, now is the ideal time to reflect on other aspects of daily life where simple, eco-friendly changes can still have a significant impact on our health and the planet.
By adopting just one of many possible green lifestyle changes and incorporating sustainability into your daily routine, you can reduce your carbon footprint and help people all over the St. Louis region breathe easier in 2024. Here are a few tips for making green New Year’s resolutions you can keep:
- Minimize “Phantom” Energy – If you’re unfamiliar with the term “phantom” energy, that means the electricity that different types of devices drain, even when you think you have turned them off. Since the average home has dozens of devices that cause a constant trickle of phantom load, the first month of a new year is the perfect time to audit your home. Take a close look at everything plugged in: TVs, cable boxes, game consoles, chargers, etc., as the small step of unplugging these devices when not in use can make a big difference. Otherwise, invest in power strips with switches that allow you to easily cut off power without unplugging, protecting your devices and potentially slashing up to 20% off your energy bills.
- Support a Cycle of Reuse – Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is crucial for our air quality, and one effective way to contribute is by ensuring that items you no longer use avoid ending up in overcrowded landfills. Rather than dumping everything into plastic trash bags to throw out, consider donating your clothing, electronics, furniture, books, and other household items to second-hand stores or local charities and nonprofits who will repurpose or refurbish donated items, giving them a second life and further reducing the demand for new things and the resources needed to make them.
- 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 food travels, 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.
- 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.
For more great tips on how we can all work together to achieve cleaner air in 2024, visit our website, like the Clean Air Partnership on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair.