10 Green Resolutions for 2020Published: January 7, 2020
As everyone is setting their goals for 2020, Boardwalk is looking for new ways to help the environment. There are plenty of minor lifestyle changes that could make a massive difference for our health and the wellbeing of our planet.
We spoke with Boardwalk’s sustainability committee to find out what we can do to make a difference in the new year.
1. “Control heat usage in your home. Try putting on a sweater or extra layers rather than turning up the heat in your apartment or townhome.” – Lisa Smandych, Boardwalk Associate, Alberta.
In Canada, frigid temperatures start as early as October and with them come the feared heating bill. Traditional heating methods consist of using fossil fuels – coal, oil, and natural gas. Not only are the costs to harvest these fossil fuels high, but so is the damage they cause to the environment. Some forms of heating our houses are more efficient than others, but with a few simple tricks we can spend a bit less and reduce our carbon footprint.
2. “Another resolution may be to take advantages of the services offered through our municipalities where we can separate our garbage into compost, recycling and garbage in order to have as little as possible go to our landfills.”, continues Lisa.
Many Canadian cities have established recycling programs, making it easy for residents to recycle. Some cities like Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto provide residents with their own recycling bins to sort their garbage. The bins are then picked up on a weekly basis along with your garbage.
3. “Recycle or reuse old gift-wrapping paper, boxes and bags when wrapping gifts.” – Oxana, Boardwalk Associate, Ontario.
Put simply, wrapping paper isn’t great for the environment. Sure, they look pretty, but lots of glittery wrapping papers and glossy gift bags are tossed into Canadian landfills each and every year. Unfortunately, many of these items are mixed with wax, metals and clay, making them unrecyclable.
4. “Prepare coffee at home and use a reusable mug instead of buying coffee in a disposable cup every morning.” – Philippe Boivin-Jean-Rene, Boardwalk Associate, Quebec.
Not only will this environmentally-friendly tactic help save the planet but it will also save you money! If you prefer the coffee from your favourite coffee shop, it’s likely you can still use a reusable mug. Many coffee shops even offer discounts to customers who bring their own cups.
5. “You can subscribe to pay all your bills online instead of receiving the paper version at home.” – Rod, Boardwalk Associate, Alberta.
In addition to saving the environment, you can save time. Receiving and paying bills online each month reduces this chore from hours to minutes. Many large companies even offer the option of receiving your monthly statements and bills online.
6. “Upgrade your current lightbulbs to high efficiency LED bulbs.” – Emilio, Boardwalk Associate, Alberta.
This is an easy fix. LED bulbs have a significantly longer lifespan, operating an average of 50,000 to 10,000 hours more than traditional light bulbs. Even better, they consume very low amounts of power, meaning you’re saving money on your energy bill too!
7. “Another switch could be as simple as turning your water off while brushing your teeth or shaving.”, adds Emilio.
Turning the water off while you brush your teeth or shave is one of the easiest ways to reduce water consumption. It may not seem like much, but when it comes to conserving water, every little bit helps. You can save up to 200 gallons of water per month by making this easy change in your daily routine.
8. “Repair leaky faucets and toilets. Water scarcity is one of the biggest challenges in global sustainability, and toilets are generally the biggest source of water consumption in a typical office environment.” – David, Boardwalk Associate, Alberta.
A leaky toilet can waste about 100 litres of water a day. Leaky faucets can also be very wasteful. In most cases, getting your toilet and faucets repaired is an easy fix. You may not notice it at first, but you will save a significant amount of water each day. Check out our article on easy ways to save water in your apartment for more information.
9. “Avoid fast fashion. This one will be hard for me as I love clothes! We all love a bargain, but our appetite for cheap clothing that we only wear for one season is very destructive.” – Sheila, Boardwalk Associate, Alberta.
Fast fashion is one of the most polluting industries in the world; it ruins fertile soils used for cotton instead of food, requires the addition of petroleum-based synthetic and potentially toxic fabrics and dyes and uses tons of energy for the farming, manufacturing and distribution worldwide. The demand for cheap, on-demand clothes also contributes to the inhumane sweatshop conditions of garment workers in second and third world countries.
“I’ll start considering whether I really need that cute dress on sale. When I do shop for clothes, I’ll try to opt for timeless styles that won’t go out of style so quickly. I’ll also choose clothing made of higher quality, sustainable materials and focus on domestically—made items whenever possible. I’ve also started visiting consignment shops and on-line auction sites; it’s amazing what you can find in brand new condition at a great price while also keeping clothes out of the landfills!”, continues Sheila.
10. “Shopping with reusable bags is a simple way to reduce ocean pollution, reduce consumption, prevent deforestation and reduce dependency on fossil fuels.”, adds Sheila.
Plastic bags are one of the most prevalent forms of litter, and over 4 billion bags pollute our environment and kill many birds and marine animals every year. They’re non-biodegradable and require the use of crude oil and fossil fuels to produce. From their production to their tendency to end up in landfills, plastic shopping bags are very harmful to the environment.