With major issues like climate change looming overhead, the world might be in big trouble and our habits are at the heart of the matter. While our governments are scrambling to make changes in policies and consumer practices that will hopefully turn the tide, you can also make a difference by changing your behaviour. If you aspire to live a more green and sustainable life, the team at Bentall Kennedy Residential Services has put together this list of common habits that are bad for the planet. Making small changes to your everyday routine can have a big impact on Earth.
Leaving Lights On
From front door and communal lobby lights, to condo hallways, night lights, and interior decor lighting, electricity is one of the largest forms of energy waste in developed countries. While the dark of Canada's winter makes it necessary to have lights on more often, there are strategies to help cut down on electricity waste. You can make a difference by buying high efficiency light bulbs to replace traditional incandescents. You can also have fewer lights on at any given time. Turn your lights off when you leave the house. Install timed motion-sensor switches, instead of traditional ones, so your lights turn on and off automatically. Learn more.
Using Too Much Plastic
Half, or more, of presumably recyclable plastic goes straight to the landfill. You'd be surprised to learn that things like straws, plastic wrap, food containers and jars, blister packs, detergent bottles, food take-out containers, water jugs, medicine cases, plastic cutlery, and more often doesn't get recycled. There's also a large problem with contaminated plastics that would otherwise be recycled – such as containers that are dirty or still have food in them. And don't forget all those plastic grocery bags. Try drinking less bottled water, get reusable takeout containers and grocery bags, clean your recyclables before recycling them, and avoid PVC plastics. Learn more.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), toilet flushing accounts for about 30% of in-home water usage. Toilets consume more water than any other individual type of appliance. They consume more than showers, dishwashers, or washing machines. With climate change and droughts affecting countries such as South Africa and Brazil more and more, a lack of freshwater has become a major environmental issue. Most Canadians don't take the growing issue very seriously though – most likely because our country is home to over 20% of the world's freshwater supply. As a result, it's common to "flush every time" here. But with these stats, and the rise of long term water planning becoming a real need, it's a good time to follow California's hippy motto: "If it's yellow, let it mellow…" Learn more.
Eating Factory Farmed Meat
Shocking as this may be, the biggest cause of pollution is not cars, or oil, or even coal. It's industrial (red) meat farming. Combine the effect of clearing once forested land for cattle grazing, committing crops from arable land to feed those cattle, the chemical runoff from fertilizers and pesticides required to grow that feed, waste from slaughterhouses, and the literal waste produced by the cows themselves, and you've got a big problem. Eating organic, free range meats can slightly reduce this impact. If you are more adamant to make an impact, reduce your meat intake, or stop eating red meat altogether to cull the demand for factory-farmed beef. Learn more.
Doing small laundry loads too often
Most of us probably do our laundry a bit too often. This results in a lot of wasted water. Make sure to wash only full loads to avoid excessive water use. You can also wash your loads in cold water as often as possible to reduce energy consumption. Buying eco-friendly detergents can help reduce chemical runoff. Also avoid using dryer sheets if possible, or look into recyclable or compostable variants.
Sustainable living doesn't have to be hard. The Bentall Kennedy Residential Services blog team hopes these tips inspire you to break some bad-for-the-planet habits, and implement better ones. For more information about Bentall Kennedy properties in your city, please visit our website.