New Year means a fresh start, right? Have you made your New Year’s resolution yet? A new year can often call for new habits! Have you considered using 2018 to make your life a more sustainable one? There are so many ways to make your day to day life more sustainable, here are 10 to get your 2018 off to a green start!
Say no to plastic bags and bottles
Did you know on average a plastic bag is only used for 12 minutes?! Lake Erie is such a primary asset for not only Cleveland but several surrounding regions. Most of the plastic that is found in Lake Erie comes from items such as single-use plastic bottles and bags. In partnership with City of Cleveland Water and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Sustainable Cleveland launched the Don’t Break the Lake campaign dedicated to reducing plastic pollution promoting the health of our Great Lake. You can make a difference by making the easy switch to reusable water bottles and mugs. Not only is ditching a plastic bag good for the environment, but it can also be good for your wallet! Several retailers give a reusable bag incentive by taking .05-.10 cents per bag off of your purchase!
Here in Cleveland we have so many great local retailers! From the West Side Market to several local retail shops in places like the 5th Street Arcades, Gordon Square, and Larchmere. Studies show that when you choose to support locally owned, independent businesses, rather than nationally-owned businesses, more of your money is returning to your community and strengthening the economic base of Cleveland!
Stop junk mail
Annoyed by all of those random ads that come into your mailbox? Unsubscribe to them and save paper! Go online to the Federal Trade Commission to stop pesky unwanted ads!
Eat less meat
In 2003, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health launched a nationwide meatless Monday campaign in effort to educate Americans on the benefits of reducing their meat intake. There are several benefits of reducing meat consumption both for the environment and for your health. Approximately 1,850 gallons of water are needed to produce a single pound of beef, compared to the 39 gallons needed to produce a pound of vegetables. A vegetarian diet could reduce water consumption by up to 58% per person. Click here to check out some cool vegetarian recipes.
Take public transportation
Let someone else do the driving! Did you know by taking public transportation you are easing congestion and improving air quality? Choosing public transportation can help your wallet too. By switching from driving to riding on average RTA riders avoided parking fees of $1,125 annually based on median downtown rates.
Install a rain barrel
A rain barrel can provide great storm water management for your property. A rain barrel collects and stores rainwater by diverting water from your downspout after rain events. Once you have the collected water you can use it to garden, wash your car, or even water your lawn.
P.S If you are a Cleveland Water and Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORD) customer, you may be eligible for a free rain barrel through the City of Cleveland’s Summer Rain Barrel Program. Every summer the Office of Sustainability partners with the Mayor Frank Jackson’s Summer Youth Employment Program, Cleveland Water and NEORSD to host rain barrel workshops. Fill out the rain barrel program Interest form to receive updates closer to the program resuming summer 2018.
Invest in green energy
Do you want to save money, reduce pollution, produce your own power for your own home, and create energy independence for your family? Consider going solar. Join the Solar United Neighbors, the Cuyahoga County Solar CO-OP to learn how.
Buy second hand and donate clothing
The average American throws away 82 pounds of clothing and textile waste every year. This adds up to 11 million tons of textile waste per year from the United States alone. When you buy clothing second hand, not only are you reducing the impact on the planet, but also the impact on your wallet. When you purchase clothing and other items from places like Good Will you are not only saving items from the landfill but you often find great deals on any clothing item you may find yourself in need of.
Say NO to plastic straws
Americans use an estimated 500 million plastic straws EVERY DAY. If you connected all of those straws together you would be able to circle the earth two and a half times! Keeping in mind this is just from the amount consumed in the United States. Plastic straws are made of petroleum which ends up sitting in our environment for hundreds of years or being ingested by wild life leading to their death. Want to say no to plastic straws for good? Sign the one less straw pledge!
Wash your clothes in cold water
Did you know that 90% of the energy used in washing clothes goes towards heating water? By simply switching from hot to cold water you can reduce about 162 pounds of CO2 per year. That's about 8 gallons of gas.