Earth Day: How We Can Help From Home
It’s Earth Day, 2020 and I think Mother Nature is happy with us at the moment. Citizens of India can see the Himalayas for the first time in decades and animals are “partying” in Yosemite National Park. There are always upsides to negative situations and the clean air and lack of humans out and about is definitely giving the Earth a nice break, but what happens when this pandemic is over? Will we take this as a learning experience? Helping our planet thrive doesn’t have to cost a ton of money or consume a lot of time and we’re here to help you make more conscious decisions in your home to help save our planet.
Recycling & Composting
We get it, recycling can be confusing. What goes where and is it actually worth it? The answer is yes, it is worth it and once you take the time to quickly educate yourself a little more, recycling life gets easier and you can educate others too! The most important thing to remember is that you need to clean out any food products from your recyclables. There are several online resources to help you learn how to recycle properly and make it fun for the family!
Composting is a bit of a level up, but it helps in so many ways! You reduce the amount of greenhouse gases entering our atmosphere, negate the use of chemicals in your garden, and make your soil rich and full of nutrients! If you love nature, flowers, or growing your own produce, this is a no brainer. However, even if planting isn’t your thing, but you still want to offset your carbon footprint, composting is an amazing way to help.
Obviously, composting looks a little bit different if you don’t have access to personal outdoor space, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Composting indoors is just as easy and beneficial. Now, composting indoors seems more like a science project, but you have a couple options to choose from. First, you can choose to compost with a worm bin. Maybe this sounds a little too off the wall for you, but if you know you won’t be tending to your compost regularly, this may be the better option. If you want to be active with your indoor compost and don’t quite love the worm idea, there are other ways to achieve the same goal. Look around your house for an empty bin or bucket, or invest in a new compost bin and get to work!
There are a ton of things you can toss in your compost bin or pile, but do be wary and don’t throw just anything in there. Food scraps are great, but you don’t want things to get soggy, so offset some of the wetness with shredded paper or other carbon-filled items. Additionally, if you’re composting indoors, be aware that if you add too much of one thing (i.e. onion peels), your space may begin to get a little smelly. Coffee grounds, fruits, veggies, paper, and trimmings from plants are great items to add to your bins. Be sure to stir your bin or pile often and make sure that the items you add are cut or ripped into small pieces, as they break down easier this way. Keep meat and dairy out of your compost unless you are interested in Bokashi composting.
We all know that we should be switching your light bulbs to energy-efficient LED bulbs, but what else can we do to save energy? Start by unplugging all electronics not in use, turning off the lights when you leave the room, and taking the time to engage in activities that don’t involve electronics. There are many technology-driven products out there such as the Nest Thermostat that can help set up routines on when to automatically turn on and off lights, the A/C or heat, and more. Building these habits will help the planet, your relationships, and your electric bill!
Here are some other ways to help!
- Set timers or have motion sensors for all of your outdoor lighting, especially for the holidays.
- Ensure your HVAC system is correct for your needs, including the size of your home and that it’s functioning properly.
- Use a programmable thermostat to keep the temperature consistent.
- Wear appropriate temperature clothing. If you’re cold, put on socks and use a blanket when you can!
- Make sure your windows and doors are properly sealed so you don’t have to crank up the heat or air to keep your indoor space comfortable.
- Plant trees and gardens to grow your own produce and create carbon dioxide.
- Take 10 minutes or less showers when possible.
- Repair leaky faucets and pipes.
- Since many of us are working from home right now:
- Turn off your monitors when you’re done with work.
- Avoid using a screensaver and opt for sleep mode.
- Use a power strip to turn off all devices at once.
- Scrape dishes without water instead of rinsing them before putting them in the dishwasher.
- Wash your clothes in cold water as often as possible.
- Don’t over-dry clothes and use a drying rack or clothesline for delicate items or blankets. PS: Clean out your dryer vent, not only does this save energy but it can prevent home fires.
- Carpool or use public transit as often as possible. Hop on the bike or take a walk downtown to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions.
Watch What You Shop
Sustainability isn’t just collecting reusable grocery bags and carrying around your nalgene bottle (but please continue to do these things). There are other options that don’t alter your life in huge ways but can help alter our planet for the better.
Grocery shopping isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it is important to pay attention to the items you’re buying. Try these things!:
- Eat a vegetarian or vegan meal at least once a week.
- Opt for non-dairy milk or creamers. They usually taste the same or even better!
- When not eating vegetarian or vegan, buy well-sourced, local meat and fish products.
- Make a grocery list and don’t over-buy. 40% of food is wasted in the U.S.
Retail therapy is real, but so is the fast fashion industry. If we continue to buy and toss clothing at the rate we are, our planet will see the repercussions. Here is some advice:
- Shop for classic pieces that will last.
- Try thrift shopping and buying secondhand. Poshmark and Thred Up are awesome resources for buying gently used clothing online.
- Opt for a clothing company that makes clothes with recycled materials.
- Rotate your closet often and donate what you no longer wear.
There are tons of regular household items that are terrible for the environment. Try looking into how you can switch things up from these not-so-friendly products:
- Single-use plastics
- Cleansers or toothpastes with microbeads
- Tissue, wipes, and paper towels
- Plastic food containers
- Dryer sheets
- Diapers & many more.
Reducing Your Carbon Footprint when Buying a Home
New social distancing measures have also changed how home buyers will find and close on a new home. Real estate agents are adopting new ways of conducting business and are embracing the use of technology because of COVID-19 and are realizing that these new practices can easily stick. For example, agents are showing homes to buyers one at a time rather than hosting large open houses. On the other hand, agents can provide clients with as many online tools as possible to view the house without having to see it in person to narrow down their lists to the final options. These tactics will inevitably lower foot traffic and force home buyers to do more research online, preventing endless hours in the car driving to and from showings and saving everyone time, money, and harmful emissions. An article about the future of real estate, written by our CEO, Reno Heine, predicts the further use of technology in the industry, but the realities may come much sooner due to COVID-19.
This Earth Day, make some small changes in your life that will help the planet recover and continue to thrive. You don’t have to plant one tree everyday (although that would be cool) or take extreme measures, just be conscious of the items you’re buying and think about how you can offset your footprint. Stay tuned to see how LemonBrew Technologies is helping the environment and our clients make better decisions for Mother Earth.