Modern society can be hugely wasteful of resources, whether through uneaten food, unnecessary packaging, or excessive use of energy. Embracing a more environmentally friendly position means looking at every area of your daily life and considering if there’s a way of approaching it with greater thrift. More and more often, individuals are looking to make sustainable changes to their everyday routine to facilitate a lifestyle of greener living. Does this sound like you? If so, you may be questioning where to begin. Not sure which direction to look for products to fit these lifestyle upgrades? No worries. We’ve put together a comprehensive collection of products with greener features to help get you started.
What Does Going Green Mean?
Going green means embracing a way of life that helps preserve the environment by reducing, reusing, and recycling items. It means reducing the amount of pollution that enters the soil, water and air. It also means energy and water efficiency, enhanced air quality, a healthier lifestyle, and positive impactful changes in the community to help save the planet. With a greener planet, you and I can look forward to a cleaner environment and a brighter future. With better quality of air, surroundings, and food, we are more likely to be healthier, to be around for longer to fulfill our life aspirations and enjoy our relationship with our loved ones. If you’re new to the concept of greener living, figuring out how your daily choices can make an impact may seem a bit daunting at first, but it’s a lot simpler than you may have imagined. Now is the perfect time to start thinking greener. Your commitment to greener living and making greener purchases can set a pattern that affects the future: your own and that of the planet.
Keep it Clean
The products you use to clean your own personal space are a great place to start in your green journey. When you are standing in the cleaning supplies aisle at the grocery store, it can be tough to make a quick decision between the many cleaning sprays available. Make an impact with soaps that are safer for the environment by looking for the Green Seal. When you see a product with a “Green Seal” ecolabel, you know it has passed a strict set of standards. Green Seal-certified products such as our favorites linked here check all the boxes when it comes to an eco-friendly approach to cleaning your home. You can be sure these products meet the following criteria…
- Avoid harmful chemicals
- Incorporate reduced, reusable, or recycled materials
- Deliver uncompromising performance
Green Seal-certified products come from naturally derived formulas, or formulas which use less-harsh chemicals, and that is always the way to go for a greener clean!
CottageCare.com has noted in their study on paper towel usage that we currently use more than 13 billion pounds of paper towels each year in the U.S. and that number is growing steadily. This means that every day more than 3,000 tons of paper towels are wasted in the U.S. alone. Globally, discarded paper towels result in 254 million tons of trash every year. Make the earth friendly choice to switch your home or business to recycled paper towels and help alleviate this growing problem.
According to the NIH (National Institute of Health), the benefits of recycling cannot be stressed enough. Recycling reduces the use of natural resources by reusing materials, which has become critically important for the following reasons…
- 94% of the natural resources used by Americans are non-renewable. Non-renewable, natural resource use has increased from 59% in 1900 and 88% in 1945.
- Recycling saves non-renewable resources. For example, by not recycling paper, 80% more wood will need to be harvested by 2010 to meet growing paper consumption demands. However, through active paper recycling, only 20% more wood will need to be harvested by 2010.
- It takes 95% less energy to recycle aluminum than it does to make it from raw materials.
- Making products from recyclables results in energy savings. Recycled steel saves 60% production energy, recycled newspaper 40%, recycled plastics 70%, and recycled glass 40%.
Natural resources are being depleted and landfills are being filled at an increasing rate. Our current system of production, consumption and disposal has become unsustainable. It is imperative for everyone – from individuals to large organizations – to rethink our ideas and our relationship to trash disposal. By reducing the amount of trash produced and reusing existing materials, we can all make a difference by protecting the environment, conserving natural resources, and sustaining the planet for future generations. How can we do our part to make this happen? In addition to your standard wastebaskets, set up dedicated recycle bins in your kitchen and other common areas. Encourage others in your home and office to recycle items like cans and water bottles. Companies should make sure that paper bins are within reach of employees. According to Jennifer Okafor in her article, “How to Reduce Paper Waste in the Office”, one of the reasons why people do not recycle is because of the extended process of refuse sorting. People recycle more once it’s convenient! Make it easier for workers to recycle office waste by meeting them wherever they happen to be (e.g. at their desks) with a bin. Together, we can make a difference for ourselves and future generations!
Start the Morning Right
Coffee is known for its ability to promote wakefulness and increase alertness. Let’s face it…most of us struggle to put one foot in front of the other before we have had our first cup. According to healthline.com, there are multiple health benefits to this morning ritual. Drinking coffee has been linked to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and liver, heart, and neurological diseases, and it may also benefit mental health and help you live longer! As if that wasn’t enough, there’s also something especially soothing about starting the morning off with a fresh cup of 100% certified organic coffee. Because it’s not treated with toxins, organic coffee can be higher in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. It’s safe to say that organic coffee is the healthier, better option for you!
Another aspect to consider when shopping for your favorite coffee is whether it is Fair Trade Certified. According to GroundsForChange.com, farmers who grow fair trade coffee receive a fair price, and their communities and the environment benefit as well. Fair trade certified coffee directly supports a better life for farming families in the developing world through fair prices, community development and environmental stewardship. Support the Fair Trade Certified initiative and start your day off on the best foot with one of our favorite eco-friendly options.
For added greener value, consider sipping your morning beverage from one of Keurig’s hot cups made from renewable resources. According to Jodi Helmer with FoodPrint.org, we use an estimated 16 billion disposable coffee cups each year. The single-use cups (along with lids, sleeves and stir sticks) are often made with hard-to-recycle materials like Styrofoam, polyethylene or polypropylene that are sent straight to the landfill. However, the Green Mountain lineup of eco-friendly cups uses renewable resources and has less of an environmental impact, making it our first choice for coffee on-the-go.
A Bright Idea
While energy saving light bulbs are more efficient and help consumers save money, their real benefit is to the environment. Switching over to energy-efficient lighting can be a surprisingly simple change to implement. Replace your current bulbs with energy-saving LED bulbs and set yourself up to save on energy costs over time, while simultaneously doing your part for the world around you. According to SEPCO (Solar Electric Power Company), there are numerous environmental advantages to LED lighting.
- Energy Efficient – LED lights are up to 80% more efficient than traditional lighting such as fluorescent and incandescent lights. 95% of the energy in LEDs is converted into light and only 5% is wasted as heat. This is compared to fluorescent lights which convert 95% of energy to heat and only 5% into light!
- No Toxic Elements – LED lights contain no toxic elements. Most offices currently use fluorescent strip lights which contain noxious chemicals such as mercury.
- Fewer Lights Needed – LEDs have a better quality of light distribution and focus light in one direction as opposed to other types of lighting which waste energy by emitting light in all directions, often illuminating areas where light isn’t required. National Geographic has addressed this issue at length due to the negative impact caused by light pollution. Light pollution, or artificial light at night, is the excessive or poor use of artificial outdoor light, and it disrupts the natural patterns of wildlife, contributes to the increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, disrupts human sleep, and obscures the stars in the night sky.
- Lifespan – A longer life span means lower carbon emissions. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) shares their insight into how carbon emissions contribute heavily to climate change in their article “Basics of Climate Change”. One way to combat carbon emissions is through the use of longer lasting products. LED Lights last up to six times longer than other types of lights, reducing the requirement for frequent replacements.
Make Note of This
A couple of sticky notes here and a few pages of meeting notes there, and you realize just how often you’re taking notes and jotting things down. You might as well take these notes using products that have green attributes. In an effort to support a cleaner environment, many companies such as Avery and Post-It have launched eco-friendly lines to suit all of your office needs.
Avery has made great strides with their latest labels that are designed to have little or no damaging effect on the environment. These eco-friendly labels and recyclable labels help customers meet their sustainability targets while also reducing the impact of manufacturing processes, materials and products.
Post-It has shown their commitment to going green with their own line of recycled products. These notes come in a variety of colors and sizes so you can be sure to find one to suit your needs, while staying true to your commitment to the environment. Post-it Super Sticky Notes are made with 30% recycled paper that is sourced from certified, renewable and responsibly managed forests, making them the perfect choice for your office, home, and everywhere in between.
According to StopWaste.org, the impact of paper waste in the workplace has significant ramifications for the environment. Of all trees harvested for industrial use, 42% go to making paper. Unfortunately, the degradation of forests is only part of the story. The pulp and paper industry is also the largest industrial user of water, the biggest water polluter, and the third largest emitter of global warming pollution in most industrialized nations. One way to lessen the impact is to print documents and photos on paper that has recycled content. Consider utilizing the automatic two-sided printing function on all home and office printers, and use remanufactured ink cartridges, which help prevent waste in landfills.