World Environment Day: Tips and tricks towards a greener, cleaner life

You don’t need to be a tree-hugger or an eco-warrior to bring ‘green’ into your life. All you need to do is follow a few simple rules at home, in the office, and while travelling.

All it takes is some common sense, a little practicality, and the will to preserve and conserve the environment. This World Environment Day, here are a few tips to guide you on ‘the green way to life’.

At home — a greener lifestyle

  • Use compact fluorescent light bulbs instead of incandescent ones. This will reduce your energy costs and they also last longer than standard light bulbs.
  • Do not set your air-conditioning very high. Every degree warmer you set your thermostat in the summer and every degree cooler you set it in the winter will cut down your energy consumption costs.
  • Go vegetarian once in a while. Meat production uses eight times as much fuel energy as fruit and vegetable farming, and generates a lot of environment pollution.
  • Don’t use plastic grocery bags. Carry your own cloth/jute bags to the store.
  • Green your laundry by using detergents, fabric softeners, and bleaches that are eco-friendly.
  • Use alkaline manganese batteries because they are free of toxic heavy metals. Switch to rechargeable batteries that save you more money.
  • Run full dishwasher loads. You will save more gallons of water per load. Avoid pre-rinsing if your dishwasher can handle it.
  • Use the right-sized pot on your burners while cooking to save more gas/electricity.
  • Don’t run the water while you brush. Use a glass of water for the purpose.
  • Reuse water wherever possible. The wastewater from doing dishes, laundry, and showering can be used to water plants.
  • Use your microwave oven more often for cooking. They use less energy than traditional electric ovens and are faster and more efficient.
  • Do a little household maintenance from time to time. Check your hot-water heater, clean the air filters of your air-conditioners and vacuum the coils behind your refrigerator. Get them serviced regularly for optimum efficiency.
  • Try a solar power charger for all your gadgets.
  • Look for products free of added perfumes. Many scented products contain chemicals that can compromise indoor air quality and irritate the skin and lungs.
  • Plain water on a cloth works great for the vast majority of dusting chores. If you need something more powerful, choose the least-toxic product for the job at hand.
  • Hang out your clothes to dry rather than putting them in the dryer. By hanging your clothes on a clothesline, you will save a lot of energy and your clothes will last much longer. And with the weather coming to your aid, you don’t have to worry about your clothes not drying quickly.

At work – for a healthier bottom line

  • Reduce the use of plastic/paper disposables by bringing in your own plates and coffee mugs to work.
  • Desktop computers can be replaced with a laptop that uses 70 percent less electricity and generates less waste.
  • There aren’t many trees left in the world; so, use less paper wherever possible. Do not print out documents that can be easily read or edited online.
  • Carpool to work wherever possible. This reduces carbon emissions, reduces traffic jams, and provides ease in commuting.
  • Reduce company travel by encouraging employees to video conference wherever possible.
  • Turn your computers off when not in use.
  • Place bins in convenient areas where fax paper and junk mail can be placed. These papers can be recycled later.
  • Place plants around your work area to make it greener. Avoid plastic flowers.
  • Turn off the lights if you are away from your workstation for more than 15 minutes. When there is enough natural light coming in, you could even switch off the lights for longer periods of time.

For travel – reduce your carbon footprint

  • Aeroplanes burn the most fuel during lift-offs and landing. So, book a direct flight to reduce both and decrease the total distance of travel. And try to save on air travel if you can drive.
  • If you are driving or renting out cars during travelling, choose a small hybrid car.
  • If you are booking your hotel, look up on environmentally friendly options on the Internet. Many hotels all over the world use alternative forms of energy, taking efforts to conserve fuel and save water.
  • A wonderful way to see a city is on foot, but if you can use a bicycle, there’s nothing like it. In countries with small winding streets, this is the best way to explore as many places as possible without the worry of parking. And not to forget, it offers you plenty of exercise too!
  • While travelling in a foreign country, use public transport wherever and whenever possible. Get a bus schedule from your hotel and plan an itinerary. Armed with a friendly map, this is one great way of going places.

Simple, aren’t they? So, get going... and make your own little efforts towards making this world ‘greener’ and a ‘safer’ place to live in.


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