Earth Day is only one month away. Though we should all live an eco-friendly lifestyle year-round, these tips can help you embrace the green philosophy at home as we strive to make our planet healthier. You’re probably familiar with the 3Rs of the environment: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Here are some the 3Rs for sustainable living in your Ottawa condo:
At home, focus on reducing your consumption of water and electricity.
- Turn off the tap when doing the dishes or brushing your teeth.
- Install high-efficiency laundry machines and dual-flush toilets.
- Wash your laundry at non-peak hours (nights and weekends) with cold water.
- Do not run the washing machine or dishwasher at half capacity.
- Switch to LED bulbs to reduce electricity consumption and extend the lifespan of your light bulbs.
- Turn off lights when you are not in the room or not home.
- To avoid wasted paper, unsubscribe from junk mail lists.
- Go paperless with your bills.
- Unplug your electrics when not in use.
When it comes to sustainability, single-use products are a major issue. As much as possible, try to eliminate single-use products like paper towel, styrofoam plates, plastic forks etc.
- Skip the plastic grocery bags. Do your shopping with a canvas bag. Not only will you save money (many stores now charge for plastic bags), canvas bags are sturdier and can hold more items.
- Try to have a waste-free lunch. Consider the difference between a) a lunch packaged in wasteful cardboard and plastic, eaten styrofoam with a plastic fork you throw away, b) a meal with tupperware containers and cutlery that you bring home, wash, and reuse.
- Skip the paper coffee cup and bring your own reusable coffee container instead. Many Ottawa coffee shops even offer a small discount if you bring your own mug. Hot drinks stay hotter longer, cool drinks stay cooler!
- Use reusable/washable cloths instead of paper towel for cleaning.
- Use a filtered water system at home instead of drinking bottled water.
When you no longer use items, don’t automatically throw them in the garbage. Donate your gently used clothing, furniture, and accessories to people in need. Recycle your electronic waste safely at an upcoming e-waste drop-off event. In Ottawa, we have a very straightforward and comprehensive recycling system. Put your paper in the black bin, plastic and cans in the blue bin, compost in the green bin, and garbage in the garbage. Though recycling is important, don’t “wishcycle” – when you toss things in the recycle bin in hopes that it is accepted at your local recycling facility. You might be surprised to learn that you can’t recycle styrofoam, wire hangers, wet paper, coffee pods, or even greasy pizza boxes.
When you practice sustainable living, you’re not just saving your money – you’re playing a role in saving the planet. What’s not to love?