It’s easy to go right to the big issues when thinking about the environment. These are the ones too large for any individual to fix, but if we all worked together doing smaller things, we could create a positive impact that mattered.
The trick is to think small. Think about what you can accomplish, as an individual, to make changes that support a more sustainable planet. From the little steps you can take at home, to even how you fill up your car with gas, you have plenty of options to contribute to helping the world become a healthier place.
Step 1: Turn off your lights
It’s easy to get distracted moving from room to room in your house. We leave on overhead lights, lamps, even light/ceiling fan combinations. Each time you leave a light on when you’re not in the room, you’re wasting valuable electricity. Trying to remember to turn lights off each time you leave a room, even if you’re coming back, is one very small choice that can conserve this valuable resource. It may also even lower your electric bill.
Step 2: Change your light bulbs
Even when you’re in the room, you could be wasting energy based on the type of lightbulb you have. Different bulbs use energy up faster, making some more efficient than others. Pick a day to replace your electricity-guzzling bulbs with ones a little more eco-friendly to make a big difference.
Know your types of bulbs to make the best choice for your home:
- Incandescent lights are the least efficient type of lighting. They actually give off more heat than light so aren’t even that good at brightening a room.
- Halogen lights use a lot of energy to work, so any time you can not use them is a good thing.
- CFL lights can conserve energy, but only if you’re not constantly turning them on and off. These are probably the only light bulbs you can leave on when you leave a room, as long as you come back within about 15 minutes.
- LED lights top the chart when it comes to energy efficiency. If you can swap in LED bulbs for all your light fixtures, you’re well on your way to conserving energy.
Step 3: Take a closer look at packaging
Shifting focus over to the trash we accumulate at home, a primary culprit is packaging. Some goes right into the recycle bin, but a lot of containers with food residue don’t.
Focusing on restaurants and food manufacturers that use compostable packaging enables you to make a small change that can reduce your waste. Even refusing plastic straws every time you order a beverage has an impact.
Step 4: Reduce water consumption
There are two sources in your home that use a lot of water — you (and the other people you live with) and your appliances. When we shower, and we stay in for just one more minute, we’re wasting water. When we run the dishwasher when it’s only half-full, we’re also wasting water. The dishwasher doesn’t know it’s only cleaning half the dishes; it uses the same amount of water each time.
Ways to address water waste that are small and easy include:
- Shaving 1-2 minutes off your shower time, every time.
- Running the dishwasher and washing machine only when there’s a full load to clean.
- Upgrading to energy-efficient appliances when it comes time to replace what you currently have at home.
Step 5: Adjust your thermostat
We all have that perfect temperature we like to keep our house at, but sometimes it requires your thermostat to go into overdrive to maintain it. If you love a warm house in winter, invest in a few plush blankets and a thick robe, and turn your thermostat down by 2-3 degrees. It will use less energy to heat your home, and you’ll still feel plenty warm and cozy.
In the summer, keep blinds down and curtains closed to keep all that heat out, and turn up your thermostat by just a little bit. You can even invest in a battery-operated fan to keep with you during those peak hot hours of the day.
Step 6: Engage with companies focused on the environment already
Whether it’s shopping local to reduce the pollution from massive delivery trucks driving cross-country, or engaging with businesses already doing their part for the environment, how you shop has an impact. Changing what you buy is just another small adjustment that can make a difference. You’re not only supporting companies already doing their part to help, but your lack of patronage could inspire other businesses to take the next step in sustainable practices.
This extends to the brands you frequent everywhere, from grocery stores to your favorite boutiques. It can even impact your restaurant choices and where you fill up with gas.
The sustainable choice when it comes to gas
One of the easiest, small steps to take toward sustainability is participating in the SpeedyQ DRIVE™ Reduced Emissions Program. By simply fueling up at a SpeedyQ Market, you can offset up to 10 pounds of your car’s carbon dioxide emissions each time.
SpeedyQ also offers one additional way to offset CO2 in the air. After getting your gas, pop into a SpeedyQ Market and purchase either a hot or cold beverage in a DRIVE™ cup. SpeedyQ will then offset 100 percent of the carbon footprint made by that cup.
Since shopping smart is one huge way small steps have an impact, there’s no better option for which gas station to visit. Combine this with all the at-home steps to make sustainable choices, and you’re well on your way to doing your part to improve our world.