It can seem like a challenge to pursue a sustainable lifestyle when you live in a city like Philadelphia. Here, you’re surrounded by 1.5 million people, towering buildings and thousands of cars. Amid the hustle and bustle, what can you do to help improve the environment?
Luckily, sustainable living can happen anywhere, and living green can start with you. By following this simple sustainable living guide, you can decrease your carbon footprint at work, at home and on your daily commute.
Going Green at Work
Going green at work doesn’t have to mean you’re employed in a job that directly focuses on sustainability. Even if your job has nothing to do with the environment, there are still steps you can take to be more green at work:
Pack your lunch: Instead of eating at your workplace’s cafeteria or buying a quick fast food meal, pack your lunch and use locally-bought foods when possible. In addition, make sure you use reusable lunch bags and containers so you don’t have to throw out excess trash after every meal.
Bring a reusable water bottle: Rather than using — and throwing away — a plastic cup or bottle every time you drink water, bring a reusable water bottle to work. A reusable water bottle takes seconds to clean and can save countless wasted paper cups.
Use the stairs: Taking the stairs instead of riding the elevator might seem like an insignificant change, but every time the elevator operates, it uses energy power. Try cutting back on electricity usage by spending a few extra minutes on the stairs.
Recycle: If your employer doesn’t recycle, you can bring your own recycling containers. Leave the containers by your desk or workspace, and instead of throwing out the unnecessary papers that accumulate on your desk, toss them into your containers and recycle them after work.
While these tips can help anyone make their workplace a little more green, you can enact even more change if you can implement company-wide sustainable policies. Strategies such as becoming a paperless company, using clean energy sources, stocking reusable dishes and utensils in the break room and letting more people work from home can all help build a sustainable workplace. Consider creating a work committee to advocate for these changes in your office.
Going Green at Home
Making your home more sustainable is easier than you may think. If you need ideas, follow these simple tips for greening your home:
Switch to clean energy: The energy sources we use can make a huge difference in our environmental footprint. By switching to clean energy sources such as solar or wind, you can greatly reduce your impact. In Philadelphia, programs like Solarize Philly are making it easier than ever to switch to solar power.
Plant a tree: We all know that trees help the environment, absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. Planting a tree in your yard can do a lot to help your immediate environment. Philadelphia’s Parks & Recreation department makes it easy to get trees, with their program TreePhilly offering free trees for Philadelphia residents.
Take advantage of other free green opportunities: Like free trees, there are several other Philly-centered opportunities you can use to make your home more sustainable. If you don’t have a recycling bin, you can get a free one from the Philadelphia Streets Department. Philadelphia’s Water Department offers free rain barrels, and the Fairmount Park Organic Recycling Center will provide you with free composting materials. With all of these free options, it’s easy to be green.
Clean your street: Making your home more eco-friendly doesn’t have to stop at your house — it can extend to your neighborhood, as well. Taking your broom and sweeping up the street in front of your house will both make your street look nicer and clear up any trash outside, helping wildlife.
Buy local food: Because locally produced food doesn’t have to travel nearly as far to arrive in stores and markets, it comes with fewer greenhouse gas emissions. As a bonus, locally produced foods are generally fresher, and your purchases help support your local economy.
Grow your own food: Even better than buying local produce is growing your own! Because locally produced food still requires transportation, you can completely eliminate some of those emissions by starting a garden. If you don’t have room at home to grow food, join a community garden.
Cut down on plastic use: Cutting down on the number of plastics you use can also help you be more sustainable. Drinking from refillable bottles and buying reusable products are great ways to start.
Whether you simply want to focus more on recycling or totally redesign your house to use clean energy, every step toward sustainable living can make a difference in both your life and the environment around you.
Going Green With Transportation
Rather than simply hopping into your car to visit a local attraction or eat at your favorite restaurant, consider the other options you have to make your transportation greener:
Biking: In a city, biking is a simple alternative for driving. It helps cut down on harmful emissions from your car and gives you a great opportunity for daily exercise. The city of Philadelphia has implemented plenty of bike lanes, making it easier than ever to start biking.
Walking: If your destination is close enough where you can walk there, avoid using your vehicle. It might take a few extra minutes, but walking will prove better for both the environment and your health.
Public transportation: Public transportation within Philadelphia is always running, whether you’re using it or not. Rather than adding your own vehicle’s pollution to the air, choose to take the subway or the bus to get to where you need to go.
Trains and buses: If you’re going on a longer trip, such as an excursion out of the city, consider taking a train or a bus. It may not be possible in every situation, but taking a train or a bus is just another way to reduce your car’s impact.
Carpooling: If you have to drive, you can try to carpool with co-workers or friends. Reducing the number of vehicles traveling to the same destination also reduces how many harmful emissions are released into the air.
It might take a little planning to restructure your travel around biking, walking or using public transportation, but as you do so, you’ll know you’re improving the world around you.
Start Your Sustainable Journey in Philly
Sustainable living starts with you. At work, at home or on the road, there are plenty of important things you can do to transition into a greener life. At Streamline, we can help you find a home where you can begin your sustainable journey. For more information on finding a home in Philly, contact us today.