You’ve decided to take the Switch to Sustainable Challenge, but what will you switch this year? You can choose to make a major switch or a minor one, but I recommend taking baby steps toward larger goals. Accomplish one switch and you’ll be inspired to keep going. Be sure to commit to one switch a to sustainable and enter to win some amazing price packages for participating! Here are 7 ways to switch to sustainable to get you started.
7 Ways to Switch to Sustainable
1. Switch Your Light Bulbs. A standard, single incandescent light bulb is inexpensive in the short term, but will cost 5 to 10 time the purchase price in electricity. Light Emitting Diode (LED) and Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) have a higher purchase price, but will mean HUGE savings in the long term. Check out this comparison chart from eartheasy.com to see the savings for yourself.
Did you know? Electric lighting burns up to 25% of the average home energy budget. Switching to energy efficient light bulbs could save you $6500 dollars (50,000 hours and 25 light bulbs).
2. Green Your Commute. Bike, Walk, or Ride Public Transportation to Work. You can see something different in people who kick the car habit. Avoiding traffic headaches and parking garages isn’t just good for the environment; it’s great for your body and brain too.
Did you know? According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, more than half of the air pollution in the nation is caused by mobile sources, primarily automobiles. (Source)
3. Thrift Shop. If you are looking to remodel, consider checking out Craigslist, Freecycle, antique stores, local garage sales, and local Facebook groups first. You won’t believe the treasures you can find for cheap or even free! This goes for clothing, toys, appliances, and more.
Did you know? In 2011, the EPA reported 9.8 million tons per year in furniture waste. (Source)
4. Vacation Responsibly. Volunteers are creating a 3,000 mile bike trail from Maine to Florida and many states have beautiful bike trails your family can explore together. You don’t have to rent a car or bring yours on vacation. Challenge yourself to ride a bus, train, subway, or ferry on vacation to get around!
5. Eat Local. You do not need to grow everything you eat or have a large yard to plant a few herbs or vegetables. Consider creating an urban garden, inviting your neighbors to participate in a community garden. Maybe a Community Supported Agricultural group is more up your ally. However you go about it, eating locally and seasonally is great for the environment.
Did you know? The average fresh food item on our dinner table travels 1,500 miles to reach us. When we eat locally, we reduce the fuel and emissions and help our local economy. (Source)
6. Go Tree-Free. This sounds more daunting then it is and you are probably already have some tree-free habits. These look like cloth napkins, reusable white boards, recyling paper for notes, reading books, magazines, and newspapers online or through the library, using an e-reader, and reusing newspaper and gift bags.
Did you know? Wrapping paper use equates to the loss of approximately 100,000 trees each year. (Source)
7. Stop Junk Mail. Some days, my only mail is junk mail. Most of this mail is from companies I’ve never heard of and includes flyers for items I don’t plan on buying. Just thinking about the amount of junk mail in my recycling bin makes me cringe. Just a few clicks and phone calls on your part can stop junk mail.
Did you know? Creating and shipping junk mail produces more greenhouse gas emissions than 9 million cars. (Source)
What are some of your favorite ways to switch to sustainable? Check out my Earth Day Challenge Ideas for more inspiration!
Have you entered the Switch to Sustainable Challenge and Giveaway yet?
Disclosure: Affiliate links are included in this post. Proceeds go to support my blog. I am a sponsor of the Switch to Sustainable Challenge.