(BPT) – Climate change may be one of the most daunting issues of our time, but small actions do add up to a positive difference. While complex problems demand complex solutions, one thing is simple: every individual can reduce their own water and carbon footprint through small behavior changes. Here are five easy life hacks to reduce your environmental impact every day.
1. Turn off the faucet:
Believe it or not, 42% of American adults admit to leaving the faucet on when brushing their teeth, according to an October 2017 Google Survey conducted by Red Fuse communications. Just brushing for two minutes in the morning with the water running can waste up to 64 cups of water, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Colgate “Save Water” campaign has a reminder on every box of toothpaste to help people drop this habit, preventing this precious resource from literally going down the drain.
2. Abandon your straw:
From those to-go coffee lids to our lunchtime salad bowls, it seems like everything involves plastic. BBC Earth estimates that 12.7 million tons of plastic end up in the world’s oceans every year, creating one of the biggest ecological issues of our time. One easy way you can help? Forgo plastic straws entirely or, if you can’t do without it, buy a reusable one.
3. Celebrate “Meatless Mondays”:
You might be thinking, can substituting a veggie patty for a burger actually help save the planet? In short, yes! The United Nations’ 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change cited livestock production as a major contributor to global warming, creating more greenhouse gases than all the planes, trains and automobiles in the world. Researchers at Penn State found that you can reduce your CO2 footprint by almost one full ton per year by celebrating Meatless Monday. So fire up the grill and bring your sustainable appetite.
4. Take public transportation:
Skipping rush hour traffic has more benefits than just reducing stress. According to the Federal Transit Administration, transit systems such as subways and metros produce an average of 76% fewer greenhouse gas emissions per passenger than commuting solo in a car. Added bonus — you can finally finish that book you’ve been meaning to read for months.
5. Reduce food waste:
You’re not only hurting your wallet when groceries go to waste — rotten food produces harmful methane gas, which is 32 times more potent than CO2. Make sure you know your expiration dates and don’t be afraid to pick up less choice vegetables in the produce aisle to save them from the dumpster. Remember, ugly veggies can still make sexy soup.