Have you ever heard of the Three R’s of Sustainability? They are Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. In the past couple of years, we added “Refuse” and “Rot” to the R’s. These are equally as important as the original three…but we can chat about those in later newsletters. This Green Tip will focus on the first R: Reduce.
Perhaps the greatest thing you can do for the planet is REDUCE. You can reduce in many ways, including reducing your energy and water consumption, your use of disposable items like plastic cups and paper napkins, your consumption habits and your saying “yes” to plastic bags at the grocery store. All of these have simple solutions for cutting back that will help you REDUCE your impact on the environment. Many people today are seeing the effect they have on the planet and are aiming for a Zero Waste Home. I’m not saying everyone should take on such a drastic lifestyle change but learning more about the Zero Waste Home movement can certainly give you some ideas on how to live a less wasteful life. Here are some other tips for REDUCING your carbon footprint.
Simplify: Try to keep just those belongings around that you actually use or enjoy regularly. By reducing what you own and buy, you’ll lead a less-cluttered lifestyle AND you will start realizing you can live with much less.
Reduce purchases: Before you buy something, stop and think: “Do I really need this?” “How did the creation of this product impact the environment, and, once I’m done with it, will it just sit in a landfill?” Before buying something new, try the 30-Day Rule; that is, wait 30 days before making the purchase. This practice will help you determine whether it was just an impulse buy or something you need. As a consumer, you have immense power. Each time you make a purchase, you let the manufacturer know there is demand for that product, which, in turn, leads them to make more. This means more waste. Try reducing your purchases to what is absolutely necessary and see how living with less goes for a while. You can also try buying used! We all like new stuff, but buying new isn’t always necessary. Think about things you want but can buy secondhand—for example, books, clothes or kitchen gadgets. Every time you purchase something used, you help save raw materials from being used to create new products. Often, secondhand goods are in “like-new” shape, and they come without the big price tag!
Replace disposables: Wherever you can, replace disposable products with reusable ones. For example, purchase rechargeable batteries, reusable cups and food storage containers and even reusable grocery bags. By reusing, you are saving raw materials and reducing your impact on the environment.
Make your own: Making your own products like toothpaste or cleaning supplies is much easier than you think. Check out Pinterest or other places online for fun and simple recipes!
Encourage hotels to reduce waste: Great news—BGV already does this! At our resorts, we encourage folks to participate in sustainable practices like turning off lights and TVs when they leave the room, reusing pool and bath towels, setting thermostats to an energy-efficient temperature and taking their reusable bags and water bottles with them when they go out. All these practices are good to use at home, too. By helping us do our part, you can help significantly cut back on water and energy consumption!
These are just a few examples of how you can REDUCE. There are plenty of other ways to do this. Can you think of something you can do to help REDUCE your impact on this planet?