When sustainable products first came into the market, many people bought them because they wanted to do something positive for the environment, or they wanted to try new things. Many people liked the idea of sustainability and the majority of consumers supported the idea. However, very few people actually realized how important sustainability was. Even ten years ago, the idea of sustainability wasn’t taken so seriously. But, sustainability and consciousness about the environment among the general population has increased and the idea has become global today.
Sustainability is not a choice but a necessity
Once companies started making sustainable products and services available for people, it became a choice between existing products or services and sustainable options. For example, consumers then could decide whether to buy a regular light bulb or an energy saving CLF light bulb. These lamps might not have been cheaper at first, but many people bought them because of the savings on electric bills. As technology improved, sustainable products in the market became cheaper and better, and started competing with products made by conventional methods. Many customers today prefer sustainable products over traditional products, if they are given a choice, even if the cost is higher. Businesses globally are recognizing this trend.
Sustainability is not only an idea supported in the United States, but it has global popularity. However, it is not without its challenges. Many companies lack the knowledge or technical abilities for researching new methods, or they might face difficulties adapting to new methods of production or might not find it profitable when they consider the overheads. Companies may face additional costs of purchasing new equipment, materials and other higher costs associated with shifting to sustainable products.
10 Things you can do to promote sustainability
By shifting to sustainable products, we could be supporting sustainability globally. Below are 10 things that you can do to promote sustainability.
Recycling is one the best things you can do to promote sustainability. Recycling and buying products made with recycled materials has many far reaching benefits. By cleaning up your house and recycling your old household trash, you instantly get a cleaner house and some extra cash. Buying products with recycled materials completes the loop. Recycling reduces pressure on raw materials, reduces mining, and the fuel and other costs associated with extracting, transporting and processing minerals. You also save valuable landfill space.
2. Make informed choices
You can make a shift in your purchasing practices by choosing sustainable goods and services. Gather information and make an informed purchase. Before you buy something,make sure you really need it. For example, you could have food in your refrigerator that you haven’t used yet.This is the first step in avoiding food waste. If you do not need a product, you could make use of some of the products you already have at home. Also, read the ingredients and make sure the food was made with sustainable methods. Some products detail how the product was made. Was it made in a sustainable way? Does the product support the environment and ecosystem? Many products, especially cleaning products, are labeled eco-friendly. Compare different products and make sure you choose the right brand that promotes sustainability. Avoid products that use excessive packaging because it is going to increase waste. Buying in bulk will also reduce packaging waste.
3. Grow your own garden
The food you purchase from the market goes through a process where food is grown, transported, and stored before it can reach the shelves of a supermarket. The food that reaches the shelves of a grocery store is not always grown through sustainable methods. You can help reduce your carbon footprint and reduce negative environmental impacts by growing your own food in your backyard. Planting vegetables in your backyard garden has many benefits. You can grow without using any chemicals or pesticides, recycle your kitchen waste as fertilizer, and enjoy freshly grown vegetables from your own backyard. It’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors, get some exercise, and also bring your family together.
4. Minimize waste
When it comes to food, about 50% of the food produced in the USA never reaches the tables of the consumers. It is wasted in the process of transportation, packaging, and marketing. Some of the food is also wasted by consumers after they purchase it, and then they throw it away. Think about the energy and resources wasted in producing, distributing, and storing food. Thousands of gallons of water are used for irrigation and thousands of gallons of gas and energy is wasted in transportation and storage. Reducing food waste can significantly help the environment as well as save you on your grocery bills.
Efficient waste management is an important factor in reducing environmental impact and promoting sustainability. The three keywords are reduce, reuse, and recycle which can significantly reduce global impact and conserve natural resources, reduce pollution, and reduce our carbon footprint. The first step to minimizing waste is to buy only the products that you need. Avoid excessive packaging and recycle everything that you can. Also separate your household trash into stuff that can be reused, before you throw anything into the dumpster. A lot of your kitchen waste can be used in your vegetable garden and many of your furniture, electrical appliances or old clothes can be rebuilt or recycled. If you do not need something, you can donate it to a recycling group in your area.
5. Watch your utility bills
Conserving energy and minimizing waste will help you in reducing your utility bills as well as promoting sustainability. Cutting your utility bill doesn’t necessarily require an upfront investment and there are really some simple tricks to it. If you are seeing high electric bills or water bills, try to find out if you have been wasting energy or water through faulty wiring, leaking pipes or faucets, insufficient insulation and old appliances. You can save on energy bills significantly if you insulate your house and replace all your faulty appliances and fittings. Also remember to turn off your lights and air-conditioning when you leave the room. Little things like unplugging your appliances while not in use or closing your windows when heat or air conditioning is on, makes a big difference in the long run to save energy, reduce environmental footprints, and will also show up as a reduction on your bills. On a larger scale and over a longer period of time, it will help us reduce the global impact and carbon footprints globally.
6. Purchase energy efficient appliances
Replace all your old home appliances with energy efficient ones. They will pay for themselves in the long run. Energy efficient appliances are better insulated and save energy, such as new water heaters, thermostats, heat pumps, air conditioning, washing machines, etc. Also, when you buy doors and windows for your home, look for energy star ratings and other energy saving features.
7. Compost kitchen waste
Try to use as much food from your kitchen as possible and employ many of the clever left-over cooking ideas given by popular cookbooks. Any unusable raw waste can make great compost fertilizer for your garden. Avoid using chemical fertilizers to reduce negative impacts on the environment.
8. Carpool or use public transportation more often
Carpooling or using public transportation more often will reduce your transportation costs as well as reduce carbon emissions from your car. If we all took the bus to work once in a while, it would have a great impact on the air quality of our cities.
9. Plant more trees
Planting more trees and plants has many environmental, economic, and social benefits. Trees improve the air quality of the place we live in by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen, and give us food and shade. A regular sized tree can clean about 330 pounds of carbon dioxide while producing oxygen for the whole community every year. Trees also combat the greenhouse effects, reduce the pressure on heating and cooling, and therefor saves energy. Trees also save us from climatic changes, natural disasters, and catastrophes.
10. Support organizations dedicated to sustainability
Find nonprofit organizations in your area that promote sustainability and join these groups. There are also many organizations promoting sustainability and environmental awareness on the internet. You can easily get involved and help these organizations promote sustainability. Joining and helping out a few sustainable organizations can go a long way in making a big difference in our local communities, society and environment.
Please try out some of these suggestions and let us know how they are making a difference in your life and also in the lives of others around you. We’d appreciate your comments and feedback, it would greatly inspire us.