If we all pay a bit more attention to our surroundings we’ll leave Earth in a better condition to our children.
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 maintenance 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 hifi system in order to protect them more from lightning etc.
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 anyways.
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 cup or you could maybe wait until you reach the office and use your favourite porcelain cup.
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?)
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 how to use it afterwards.
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.
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.