he environment is the single most important part of the planet. It provides water, our food, and the energy used to live comfortably. For this reason, it is important to do as much as you can to protect it. Luckily, there are plenty of ways for the everyday citizen to do his or her part, even while leading a busy lifestyle. From dietary changes to ecoATM recycling programs, check out these tips for reducing your impact on the environment.
1. Digital Documentation
One of the biggest things you can do for the planet that requires almost no effort on your part is to switch to digital documentation. Chances are you already get your utilities bills and bank statements via email anyway. Do you truly need a physical copy mailed to you as well? Overuse of paper products not only depletes the environment but also creates a lot of physical mess for you to organize. Switching to paperless billing makes it easier to keep all your financial documentation in one spot and reduces environmental impact. In fact, The Financial Freedom Project reports that a 2016 study showed 42% of all mail sent in the United States related to bills or bank statements. Switching to paperless banking and billing can reduce your household’s annual carbon footprint by the equivalent of using a microwave for 2.1 months straight.
2. Meat Alternatives
While you don’t necessarily need to become a vegetarian or vegan, cutting out some of your meat intake has benefits for your health as well as the health of the planet. For one thing, eating too much red meat can cause health issues such as gout, cardiovascular issues, or even diabetes. Furthermore, meat production methods are a major cause of deforestation around the world, especially in South and Central American countries. One hundred grams of meat requires 164 square meters of grazing space, which leads to more carbon in the atmosphere. In fact, livestock causes nearly 15% of greenhouse gas emissions. Switching to a meat alternative, even if just for one or two meals a week, can cut down on livestock-related environmental problems. Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat are two popular alternatives that are available at grocery stores and in restaurants nationwide.
You’re probably asking yourself “What is ecoATM?” right now. It’s almost exactly what it sounds like: a way for you to make money and help the environment at the same time. The United States alone creates billions of pounds of electronic waste each year, and much of that is due to discarded smartphones. When electronics go to traditional landfills, components like mercury, lead, and cadmium seep into the ground, eventually making their way to water supplies and causing problems for the environment and the people who use the water. An ecoATM pays you to protect the environment. The electronic kiosk allows you to deposit your old smartphone and receive cash in return. The amount you’ll receive depends on how old the phone is and what condition it’s in, but typically ranges from $20 to as much as $400. EcoATMs are also convenient. You’re likely to find one inside a grocery store or other shopping center in your neighborhood.
4. Smart Technology
Smart technology isn’t just for your phone. An increasing number of homeowners and business owners are turning to smart technology to cut costs and improve their carbon footprints. Smart technology is available for everything from your property’s lighting and temperatures to your kitchen appliances, although most of its allure is in the former two. Smart lighting allows you to turn on lights just before you get home, while thermostat technology lets you set a lower (or higher, during warm months) temperature when you aren’t home or even set different temperatures for different rooms in your home. The energy savings are good for the environment and good for your utility bills.
Improving your environmental impact doesn’t need to be a hard job. By making little changes to your lifestyle and home, you can do your part to save the planet and even save money along the way.