Every year, we celebrate Earth Day on April 22. In fact, this year’s celebration marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets to protest an environment in crisis. Fifty years later, Earth Day is an annual event, taking place on an international scale to provide awareness about environmental issues and promote earth-friendly lifestyles.
Most of us already know a few ways in which we could make our lifestyles more sustainable: turning off the lights when we leave the room, taking shorter showers, and recycling when we can. But the ways you can make a difference toward a sustainable future are nearly endless.
As this year’s Earth Day approaches, consider incorporating these eco-friendly ideas into your lifestyle.
Go Paperless to Celebrate Earth Day
In today’s increasingly-technological society, we can do almost everything online. However, approximately 1 billion trees worth of paper is thrown away every year in the United States. While much paper waste can be attributed to offices and businesses, where we may not have as much control, the average U.S. household throws away 13,000 separate pieces of paper each year.
Are you receiving utility bills or credit card bills by mail? If not, making the switch to paperless billing is one way to help reduce your paper-waste footprint. Most online bill payment platforms will allow you to select paperless billing. Instead of receiving your monthly bill in the mail, you’ll get the same information via email or even an app on your smartphone. Plus, you never have to worry about misplacing it!
Skip the Plastic Grocery Bags
As of earlier this year, eight U.S. states have banned single-use plastic bags. Missouri and Kansas are not included in those eight states, so you may not think about it except when the grocery store cashier asks you: paper or plastic?
According to EarthDay.org, about 4 trillion plastic bags are used around the world annually; only 1% of those are ever recycled. There are a couple of simple ways to cut down on your personal plastic bag usage. First, think about whether you really even need a bag. If you purchase one or two items, you can probably carry them with you easily.
Second, when you do need a bag, you can switch to reusable canvas or cloth grocery bags. It might be a tricky habit to change into at first, and you might forget them once or twice even with the best of intentions. But keeping the bags in your car ensures they’re never far away when you need them.
Speaking of cars, personal vehicles are a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, private vehicles account for nearly 60% of emissions from the transportation sector. And transportation accounted for the largest portion of total emissions, at nearly 30%.
Depending on where you live, you may have opportunities to cut down on your personal vehicle usage. Some cities have wide public transportation networks including buses, trams, streetcars or subways. The subway, for example, produces 76% less in greenhouse gas emissions per passenger mile than the average personal vehicle, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Even if your public transportation options are limited, making the decision to carpool when possible can help reduce the number of vehicles on the road – and reducing emissions. Other eco-friendly methods of transportation: biking and walking.
Consider Solar Power for Your Home
You may have considered solar panels from a financial perspective. In Kansas City, the average customer can expect to save about $1,535 per year by switching to solar power. Generating your own energy can lead to a lower electric bill, eventually replacing it altogether. Not only can you save money, but solar panels also increase the value of your home.
When it comes to generating electricity, there are two main types of energy sources: renewable energy and non-renewable energy. Non-renewable sources of energy, such as natural gas and coal, release harmful chemical emissions and pollute our environment. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, non-renewable energy generated 83% of electricity in the United States last year.
Solar power, on the other hand, is a renewable source of energy. In fact, the amount of energy the Earth receives from the sun in one hour is more than the whole world consumes in one year. The potential for solar energy is endless –putting solar panels on just 0.6% of the United States’ total land area could create enough electricity to power the entire country.
If you’re looking for an eco-friendly energy source to power your sustainable lifestyle, a home solar power system could be the right decision for you.
Choose a Sustainable Lifestyle This Earth Day
This year, as Earth Day approaches, consider the ways you can move toward living a more sustainable lifestyle. Even incorporating one or two of these ideas and taking small steps can help make a difference, but it works best when we all take action.
By doing our part to take care of the environment – and being conscious of the resources we consume – we can protect the planet for future generations.
And if you’re considering solar panels as part of your sustainable lifestyle, get in touch with us at KC Solar. We provide custom-designed options to meet your individual needs.