My pet peeve has always been people who have access to clean, filtered water and who chose to spend hundreds of dollars in plastic non-reusable water bottles.
Let’s do a calculation. Today I forgot my S’well Water Bottle at home, so I had to buy a plastic water bottle for $1.35 at work. Let’s say I did not own a reusable water bottle and bought one plastic bottle each day. That is $27/month assuming that I work 20 days a year. Instead of spending that $27 on water bottles, I would rather spend it on a dinner date. As an alternative,I can just use my own water bottle that I bought one time and refill the filter water we have for free everyday.
My other issue with these plastic bottles is that they take a significant amount of resources to make when you can just buy a bottle one time and use it for years. According to the Pacific Institute, 17 million barrels of oil were used to make the 31.2 billion liters of water Americans bought in 2006. Therefore, yes we can recycle the plastic but think of the energy it takes to make these water bottles themselves.
- Buy a reusable water bottle
- Get a filter for your tap if you prefer filtered water
- Budget how much you actually spend on these water bottles. If it is greater than $50 a month for a couple, I think it is time to reconsider your usage.
I am someone who strives to reduce food waste not only because of it being detrimental to our environment but also because there are many people who live in a food desert. Wasting food seems wrong when there are many people who do not have access to grocery stores and healthy food in their own neighborhoods. A food desert tend to be found in impoverished areas such as in Philadelphia, my current city. Many times in these low-income neighborhoods people only have access to their local convenience store resulting in them eating unhealthy foods. This may result in diet-related diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
I researched an organization in Philadelphia called the Food Trust which started the Healthy Corner Store Initiative in 2004. Some of the approaches include linking corner store owners with local farmers and fresh food suppliers and also increasing the selling and marketing in the corner store of healthy items.
If you live in a neighborhood without a grocery store with fresh fruit/vegetables, a subscription service such as Imperfect Produce may help as it also fights food waste. Other opportunities could involve joining a CSA (community supported agriculture). These ideas could be costly, which is why I think the best option is that more corner stores start selling some fresh fruits/vegetables.
Waking up to a warm cup of coffee is my favorite thing in the world. Since I workout every morning, my motivator is starting my day semi-slowly as I sip on my warm beverage. I have three different coffee makers, but my go to weekday method is with my Keurig. I love that I can make just one cup of coffee with the press of a button. However, these lovely little machines can be detrimental to the environment if used the common way.
The typical K-Cups are not recyclable or biodegradable. This is because the K-Cup has several integrated components (plastic with a filter, grounds, and plastic foil top). I love my Keurig, but I don’t like environmental waste. Therefore, here are two solutions for those of us who love quick coffee, but do not want to harm the environment in the process.
- Compostable OneCups! San Francisco Bay Coffee has OneCups which are compatible with the Keurig machine. The coffee is delicious and smooth, and the cup is completely biodegradable! This is a great option but may be expensive for those of us on a budget.
- Reusable Filter and your own beans. This is my go to choice as I love using my reusable filter and filling it with my La Colombe grounds everyday. There is no plastic waste with this, and I can just wash out the filter and reuse it each day. This method is also much cheaper than buying expensive K-Cups or even the one cup.
It is easy to enjoy things like the Keurig machine and still be environmentally friendly. Helping our environment is not as challenging as it may seem, and I am here to help you with hacks that not only save money but also help our earth.
Over the last few years from graduate school and other events, I have learned that money talks. Therefore the best way to encourage people to live a more sustainable lifestyle is to educate through the viewpoint of saving money. Energy Efficiency saves energy and money. Here are some tips on how you can save energy at home and thus also save money.
- Check Energy Star for rebates near you! Many utilities offer cash rebates for installing pieces of energy efficient equipment such as highly efficient furnaces and boilers. These highly efficient furnaces and boilers save energy, and they will also save you money as your gas bill will be much lower. Some electric utilities even offer lighting rebates for LED bulbs.
- Insulate your home. Insulation lowers gas bills by retaining heat in the winter and keeping heat out in the summer. Staying warm, lower bills, and not wasting energy? This is my kind of measure.
- Reduce your hot water use. Using a large amount of hot water effects gas consumption. Ways to reduce hot water consumption include only using the “cold water” setting on your washing machine and also installing low flow aerators and shower heads.
Helping the environment, saving energy, and saving money all come hand in hand. Lower bills are always a plus and if that means we are also reducing energy consumption, I say go for it!
It has been a long time since I have written a blog post! I will continue to update this blog regularly, and all opinions here are my own and not any organization that I belong to or have belonged to in the past.
As many know, I am passionate about not wasting food in our daily lives and also on a larger scale. I came across an article from Greenbiz
about how food waste also wastes energy. According to the article, if we stop wasting food in the USA, America would save 2% of its annual energy budget. In a previous article
, I wrote about intersecting policy and technology, but here I would like to talk about what we can do as residents of the United States.
- Plan your meals ahead of time before going to the grocery store. This may prevent you from buying foods you do not want or need.
- At a restaurant, split your entree with a friend or take part of your entree home.
- Use vegetable scraps to make vegetable broth.
- At the grocery store, buy the vegetables that look ‘different’ since most people are scared of imperfect looking fruits and veggies and will avoid them. Alternatively, subscribe to a service such as Imperfect Produce in which you can get the ugly produce delivered just to your door!
It only takes a few actions to make a difference. What is your next step?
It is no secret that people waste food. This problem is common amongst households and industry. However, how much of our food is actually wasted? According to the NRDC, 40% of the food produced in the United States is wasted. This creates environmental problems because when food is deposited into landfills, it decomposes by anaerobic bacteria and releases methane gas. Landfills already have their problems as can be seen in the case of the exploding landfills in Mexico. Although food is not the sole waste in landfills, it is a large part of it, for everyday Americans waste enough food to fill the rose bowl. Besides the environmental harm and harm to food security, wasting food also wastes resources such as the water used in food production.
Though the USDA and EPA, have food waste recovery programs, the United States does not have any strict anti-food waste policies. However, in the private sector, companies are taking initiative to mitigate the problem. A start up, Fruitcycle, makes apple chips out of the rejected apples at orchards. This company has taken measures to stop food waste at the initial farm step. Leanpath is a food service technology company that created a food waste monitoring system for restaurants and the industry to use.
Through the companies, it is evident that technology and business are working together. The government should work with the private industry in order to create policies that will help prevent such a high percentage (40%) of waste in our country. In order to mitigate this crisis, the intersection of technology, business, and policy must be explored in the coming years.