Make Saving the Planet Your New Year’s Resolution: Here’s How
With 2022 drawing to a close, the new year ahead brings virtually unlimited possibilities. By working together, we can make 2023 a year filled with hope, prosperity, and change, all by doing little things every day in our small corner of the world to make a difference.
One of the most significant ways you can make a positive impact on our world, not just in the present but for future generations, is to take a closer look at your carbon footprint to see how you can set about reducing it in the new year. Becoming more environmentally conscious and being mindful about water use, energy consumption and waste can help reverse the negative effects that everyday modern conveniences have had on our planet. You can use the three R’s—reduce, reuse and recycle—as your blueprint to make 2023 a greener year for you and your family.
The concept of “reducing” anything is rather subjective, as it first depends on how much of something anyone has. Reducing your carbon footprint refers to reducing the total amount of greenhouse gasses you produce during your everyday activities. This can mean sometimes riding your bike to work instead of driving, minimizing the number of loads of laundry you do per week or even cutting down on the use of hard-to-recycle plastics, such as disposable water bottles.
The best news of all is that reducing doesn’t have to be synonymous with depriving yourself of something. There are many ways you can reduce your carbon footprint without feeling that your life has been largely negatively impacted. You can start small—pick one thing you could reduce in your household that wouldn’t affect you greatly and go from there. Perhaps you can cut down on car trips by walking to the grocery store on your corner when you only have a few items on your list, or riding the light rail train to your office once a week. Maybe you can see if raising your thermostat by just five degrees in the summertime to reduce air conditioning usage impacts you greatly. It can even be something as simple as buying local, seasonal produce to offset the carbon emissions from delivery trucks. All of these things may not seem like much one by one, but if everyone in the world reduced their carbon footprint in even a small way, it could help counter global warming, which is a chief contributor to the negative effects of climate change,such as disastrous weather events, wildlife extinction, droughts and more.
Our society has come to depend on the consumption of disposable products for the sake of ease and convenience. Who among us hasn’t purchased plastic forks and knives for a party or diapers for our babies that were made to be used once and thrown away?
Though single-use products can be a real timesaver, not to mention a way to ensure a clean, sanitary experience every time, the effects of disposable products on our planet have been devastating. Our landfills are overflowing with nonbiodegradable plastics including shopping bags, water bottles and detergent containers that will take up to 1,000 years to decompose and release toxic chemicals into the surrounding land and water.
One of the simplest solutions to our plastic pollution problem is to purchase reusable alternatives. By making a small change such as bringing reusable bags to the grocery store or investing in a refillable aluminum water bottle, you are helping to cut down on the amount of plastic waste that ends up in our landfills and, more worryingly, our oceans. There are a wide variety of reusable products on the market these days that not only can help you make a difference in saving our planet but can also save you money in the long run. After all, buying a $30 water bottle once is far more cost-effective over time than purchasing a $5 12-pack of bottled water every time you go to the big-box store.
Even “disposable” headphones and headsets can be used more than once; in fact, a teacher could bulk-buy disposable headphones and headsets for their class at the start of the year and each student could use one pair through the school year and beyond. For this, you’d have to start with a quality pair of disposable headphones and headsets, such as HamiltonBuhl’s HA-2 SchoolMate Personal Stereo headphones, to ensure that they retain their superior sound quality all year long.
By staying conscious of your role in the consumption of non-reusable products, you can search for reusable alternatives that could make all the difference in the health of our planet without making a big impact on your life. It admittedly may not be as convenient to wash and reuse some of these items as it is to throw away their disposable counterparts, but you’ll still have everything you need to make your life comfortable and enjoyable.
We’ve talked about how to reduce the amount of carbon emissions you produce in your everyday life as well as how you can reuse items to cut down on the number of disposable, non biodegradable plastics in the landfill, but what about those items you simply have to discard? By being diligent about recycling, you can ensure that the things you no longer need are being repurposed into new items rather than just ending up on top of a trash heap.
Of course you already know that you can recycle aluminum cans, glass bottles and jars, paper and even some plastics depending on your city’s capabilities, but did you know you can also recycle electronics? That’s right—your unwanted, outdated or broken computer monitors, laptops, TVs and more can be recycled into new electronics and appliances. Plus, headphone and AV recycling programs, like those offered by the Cyber Acoustics Recycling Program and AVID Done With It program, reduce the carbon footprint left behind by outdated classroom equipment. That huge rat’s nest of charging cables and extension cords that you’re never going to use can be successfully repurposed into something new. Even smaller items such as disposable headphones or headsets can be recycled.
One more inventive way to recycle, not to mention to reduce your carbon footprint by offsetting carbon emissions from factory production, is to purchase your clothing and shoes at a thrift or consignment store. Secondhand clothes and home goods are often donated or sold to these stores in gently used condition. In fact, you can sometimes find brand new items with the tags still on! By shopping at second hand stores, you are not only recycling clothing and other household items but also getting quite the bargain and saving lots of money, as well as making incredible, unique finds that suit your tastes and personality.
Reducing, reusing and recycling can be simple yet effective ways to make a difference in the future of our planet. Make it your New Year’s resolution to be more eco-friendly in 2023!