How to care more for the environment

Goal
If we all pay a bit more attention to our surroundings we’ll leave Earth in a better condition to our children.
How?
Electricity:
In the past, I was working in a huge office building which had an open space plan. During most evenings all the lights were left switched on, even when nobody was nearby. I have two concerns here. Someone is leaving home knowing (or not checking if) they are the last one to leave and leaving the lights on. I’m quite sure nobody would leave the lights on at home. Yes, it does use electricity, so imagine that leaving them on in the office is a problem on a lot bigger scale. Also I,’m not quite sure why are there no smart ways to verify if the lights are still needed. Companies who own these office buildings would also benefit from these, as switching the unnecessary lights off would reduce electricity costs and maintenancse costs as well.
Don’t forget to unplug your devices if you leave for a vacation. Left chargers in the power outlet consume very little energy, however still a good idea to unplug. Also it’s better to unplug your TV or expensive hi-fi ystem in order to protect them more from lightning etc.

Plastic consumption:
Just consider if you really need that plastic bag the next time you’re shopping. Why not take your reusable bag every time? I keep them in the car. Are you sure it’s necessary to bag your bananas into plastic bags? Aren’t they packed by nature? You’ll peel them anyway
Also, consider bringing your metal / glass bottle to your workplace rather than getting one or more new plastic bottle every day. In most bigger cities the tap water is as high quality as the bottled one (please do your research if you’re unsure). Yes, PET bottles are recyclable, however it still takes a lot of time and energy (consider: you have to take it to a collecting point, you most probably will use gas if you take the car, huge trucks will collect it and take it to a nearest or a far away recycling station, which will use electricity to recycle the bottles).
Next time consider if you really need that coffee on the street with throwable paper favorite or you could maybe wait until you reach the office and use your favorite porcelain cup.
Water consumption:
Do you think it’s important to have a shower for 15 minutes? I usually shower for 2 minutes maximum. And mostly with cold water. This helps the environment and helps me to not spent too much time either. Oh yes, I do spend 45 seconds more when I was my hair, ladies with longer hair have a disadvantage here.
Driving your car:
Do you really need to take the car to go anywhere? People who walk 30 minutes or more a day are not just more happy however more healthy as well. Public transportation in some cities are a lot better than going with the car: no waiting in the traffic, cheaper (this depends), you can actually do something useful like reading, and you might be meeting your friends or colleagues.
Well, I don’t want to change your life, however, I bike to work almost every day and I enjoy it a lot. It takes maybe 5-10 minutes longer + shower time, however by the time I reach home, I trained already 50 minutes. So actually I’ve saved time compared to by going with a car. Even better, when the weather is good I can just visit the lake on the way home, so I can add 30-60 minutes of swimming to my training time. It’s hard to beat this efficiency.
So I’ve listed three alternatives, try the ones you like!
Useless products / clothes
We all bought them, even when inside we knew that it’s not important or useful for us. So next time you’re planning to buy something: ask yourself: do I really need it? Is it useful? If yes, go for it! If no, forget it, you can always get it later if you change your mind. I actually have a clothes to buy shopping list: this way I can easily plan my wardrobe, think through what fits to what, and I can always check it quickly if a piece I see is on the list or not. If not, I’ll consider adding it later, however, most probably I don’t need it.
Consider: if you don’t spent x money you actually saved x + taxes, as if you spend it and want to get the same amount on your bank account you’ll need to get more money, pay the taxes and you’ll be in the same financial situation.
I know you have some clothes which you really like, however almost never use. If you didn’t wear a piece of clothes in the last year more than once or twice, consider donating it, as it makes no sense to keep it. (ignore this if you need the clothes, just don’t have a lot of opportunity to wear it..although you might be thinking on how to make more opportunities: how about going to the theatre?)
Recycle:
Recycling is a good way to protect the environment a bit more. In Switzerland and Hungary, there are slightly different systems in place on how to recycle.
Things to recycle:
PET bottles, other plastic bottles, PLA, metal cans, glasses, wood, bigger metal pieces. Plastic bags. Cardboard boxes.
In Switzerland recycling 90% of the things are free.
Another good idea is to reuse anything which you can. For example I receive some letters / invoices by post. I don’t throw out the envelopes, however, I use them as note paper. The A5 size is ideal to list daily todos or just quickly note down something which I’ll consider later. I also reuse yogurt cups as paint mixers. This way I’m saving some money and help the environment, two birds, one stone. Whenever a company is using reusable packaging I’m quite happy. For example, my roadid came in a reusable tin container, and they even have a section on their website showing a lot of different ideas about how to use it afterwards.
Paper:
I hate receiving bills on paper, specially when they are paid by automatically from my bank account and they amount to be paid shows: xxx. So whenever possible just switch to electronic billing and it’s a good time saver to switch to an automatic payment system from your bank account. You can still review the electronic bill monthly f you wish to.
Dangerous waste:
Please consider taking the following items into a proper place to recycle or get rid of: batteries, car batteries, used oil, chemicals (drugs), electronic devices. Most gas stations take batteries and all pharmacies should take back drugs which are expired without any costs.
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Written by András Kapros
Business coach, well-being coach, aspiring master life coach | András is helping IT and creative professionals to transform their business idea into reality. After 15+ years of experience as a freelancer, and managing IT teams (Front-End, User Experience) in multi-cultural environments in Switzerland and Hungary he took the next step. He transformed his life as well as his career. In 2019 he started working as a business and well-being coach. His Master Life Coach Certification is in progress and will finish within this year. He started his youtube channel in 2020 producing one video per week on topics: entrepreneur mindset, getting unstuck, being efficient, increasing focus. He spent more than 3500 hours on studying personal development and productivity. He wrote and published his first self-help book from scratch in three months. He loves mountain biking, snowboarding, and he is vegan.