5 Easy Ways to be More Sustainable
By Phoebe Holz
Today, the sustainability elective went to go visit the Devereux school to talk to them about sustainability, and what they could do. We were amazed by their knowledge and passion for making the earth a better place. When we asked them if they knew any ways to be more sustainable they came up with some great responses. They talked about reusing paper and plastic bags, and even better, buying reusable bags to bring to the grocery store. They mentioned solar panels, conserving energy by turning the lights off when you leave a room, and not using lights unless you absolutely need them. They even mentioned conserving water by doing little things like turning the water off while you’re brushing your teeth. They were spot on with all of these suggestions; as Cecelia mentioned, the little things add up especially if everyone does them. Widespread little changes have a big effect, so we came up with five small ways to be more sustainable.
1) Buy Reusable Lunch Bags
As you know, lunchbox Tuesdays are a key point of our sustainability initiative at Waring. Reusable lunch bags are very important because they allow us to reduce plastic bag consumption. You may ask why one can’t just reuse the same plastic or paper bag, but there’s a good reason. If you buy reusable lunch and grocery bags, which are cheap and durable, you don’t have to buy plastic bags and with lower demand comes lower production. By using reusable bags you’re not only using less, you’re discouraging the production of plastic bags which pollute our eco-systems, hurt animals such as sea turtles, and can take up to 1000 years to decompose! Also, plastic and paper bags can only last so long before they become unusable and you have to throw them away, with reusable bags you can go years without throwing them out (I’ve had mine since seventh grade). You can buy reusable lunch bags at Target and Stop and Shop for less than 5 dollars. For a fun and sustainable option, try this cute bento box.
2) Save your Jars
Lunch bags aren’t the only aspect of a sustainable lunch, instead of carrying your snacks in Ziploc bags and wrapping your food in aluminum foil, use Tupperware instead (but if you’re using aluminum foil remember that it can be recycled). For 10 dollars or less, you can get lots of containers that will last much longer than Ziploc bags. If you don’t feel like buying them you can do a step better and reuse. When your done with things like jam, honey, peanut butter, really anything that comes in a jar wash it out and use it the next time you have a snack! It’s not only super sustainable but it saves you some money too!
Everyone knows to turn off the lights when they leave a room into order to conserve electricity, but did you know that you could be wasting electricity even when things aren’t turned on? The biggest culprits are things left plugged in like computers, phone chargers, and automatic alarm clocks. This not only wastes electricity but it’s also expensive. For more information on appliances that do this and how much it costs you, check this link: http://www.savewithsrp.com/advice/appliance/energyvampires.aspx
This problem is easy to solve- when you’re done charging your phone unplug it. If you’re afraid you’ll forget or don’t feel like unplugging your devices every time you stop using them, try a power strip. With a power strip you can plug in multiple devices and turn them all off at once, they range from very simple to fancier ones with built in surge-protectors to add an extra step in conserving energy. Try this simple one.
4) Stock Your Car with Bags
It’s easy to pop into Stop and Shop on a quick errand and end up buying a pantryful of food. In these unplanned situations, it’s easy to find yourself with lots of plastic or paper bags instead of reusables. The easy way to avoid this situation is to keep your car packed with reusable bags. I’d recommend in the trunk and the backseat, so that even if you forget to bring them back out to the car one day, you’ll have extras. This cuts down on plastic and paper bag consumption and is an easy way to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your bags. If you want to go a step further (and you don’t mind spending the extra money) these super cute bags are collapsible, and could easily be carried in a purse, glovebox, or backpack.
5) Stop the Junk
I’m sure we all get our fair share of junk mail, especially those of us who checked yes on the PSAT and are now barraged with college surveys in letter form. But the seemingly mild nuisance is actually pretty harmful to the environment, we use about 96 million trees a year on junk mail alone, so getting rid of it is not only a relief, but a great ecological move as well. To find out how visit this link:
And to unsubscribe from those pesky college surveys check out this link from college board:
These five ideas are great trick to become more sustainable, but the best way to be sustainable is to be conscious of how your actions affect the world on a larger scale. If it’s on your mind, things like bringing reusable bags to the store, sorting your waste into the right bins and turning the lights off will become a habit. Remember, an extra effort goes a long way.
If you have any questions about sustainability you can email any of our lovely seniors at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and even better- if you’re curious, have questions, or want to join the conversation feel free to drop by on Thursday focus/flex, it’s always open!