Do you want to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle? Well, you’ve come to the right place. To find out which environmental actions are most cost-effective, we have to break down the greenhouse gas emissions per sector. According to CNBC’s interview with Bill Gates, making things, like cement, steel and plastic accounts for 31% of GHG emissions. Electricity accounts for 27%, agriculture is 19%, transportation and shipping is 16%, and temperature regulation is 7%. This means the largest three sectors are industry, electricity generation, and agriculture.
There are several zero-waste products out there, but unfortunately many are expensive. Luckily, there are several online marketplaces that allow you to purchase more affordable options. EarthHero, Seek Bamboo, and The Waste-Less Shop are just a few options. The reason zero-waste products are better for the environment include the fact that they are reusable, which reduces demand and shipping, and they are often compostable or infinitely recyclable. Additionally, zero waste glass jars can be recycled or repurposed into useful items. Wait, you may ask. What about recycling plastic? Unfortunately, recycling plastic is not as important as people have been taught. This is mainly because of the astronomically underprepared infrastructure. Currently, only about 9% of plastic gets recycled, which mostly consists of type 1 (PET) and type 2 (HDPE) plastic. Even if we could somehow recycle all of our plastic, the material can only be recycled 2 to 4 times before it loses its strength and integrity. Fortunately, more sustainable products are coming – and they are coming in large quantities. Follow my blog to find more articles about these new and upcoming alternatives.
As you saw above, transportation accounts for 16% of global emissions. Driving less is effective because it not only prevents your car from emitting exhaust, but it reduces congestion to ease the flow of traffic. This also applies to people that own electric cars. Electric cars are much more environmentally-friendly than their gas-powered cousins. However, they do use much more energy than a person on a bike because of their weight and high-powered motors.
For short distances or for traveling around campuses, skateboards are great options. They are compact and much faster than walking. A great sustainable skateboard company is Bureo. They make cruising skateboards from recycled fishing nets bound for the ocean. You can get a complete skateboard for under 150 dollars from them.
If you need to go longer distances, an electric scooter or bike can get you there. Electric scooters are 100% electric; you barely need to exert energy. Electric bikes are a little different. Several models come in a pedelec (pedal electric cycle) format, in which the rider peddles with an automatic electric motor for assistance. Then there are models that have a throttle to zip around like a motorcycle. Regardless of whichever type you pick, you should always look for a replaceable battery. A replaceable battery gives you the flexibility of carrying an additional battery for more range. Additionally, you can buy a new battery if the old one gets worn out, therefore reducing waste, cost, and recycling difficulty.
Food Awareness and Energy
Agriculture has gotten much more efficient over the years. With a growing population, it will have to be taken to a next level. Fertilizer runoff fuels toxic algal blooms, while an ever-increasing population demands more deforestation to make room for food production. In other words: there has to be a better way. Vertical farms are one solution. Instead of growing out, they grow up. Today’s most advanced vertical farms have robots automating the agricultural process. This happens while every variable is controlled, such as humidity, lighting, and nutrients. With the ability to create the ideal conditions for optimal growth, crop productivity is also greatly increased. Because of the space-saving capabilities of vertical farms, it is possible to grow produce inside the same city in which it is sold instead of shipping it from Argentina. Think about that! Instead of shipping fruit and greens 6,000 miles from a foreign country, you can simply ship it five miles to a grocery store. The cost, time, and fuel used is decreased by so much, it is almost laughable.
For an ultra-local food source, you can also consider having a garden. Garden planters can fit into amazingly small places. As long as the place gets plenty of light, it would make a great garden location. My personal favorite plant to grow is arugula. A fast growing, unique tasting, and hardy salad leaf, it makes a great salad when mixed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It also produces an abundance of seeds to use next season. There is a great appeal to have a garden, as you are essentially growing your own free food. Because home gardens often have healthier soil than industrial farms, it also tastes much better and has more nutrients.
Unfortunately, vertical farms use quite a lot of energy. The lights, air conditioning, and pipe systems can become energy hogs. That is why having a abundant renewable source of electricity is essential. If it is available in your area, you can purchase energy from renewable providers. Solar panels are also reducing in cost at record speeds, and are now one of the cheapest ways to generate electricity. Also, many companies are experimenting with residential wind turbines.
Thank you for reading this article! I hope you are inspired to take action! Make sure to follow my blog to get updated whenever I publish a post.