I’m issuing myself a 30 day challenge. They’re all the rage these days and, in this case, I think it will be extremely effective (and more enjoyable than the 30 day squat challenge I did last month). Over the next 30 days, I’m going to make my household more sustainable. My objective is to incrementally change my habits, and my household’s, so we are having less of an impact on our environment. I have a feeling that we may also save some money and feel healthier!!
Why am I doing this?
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) just released their Fifth Assessment Report, so I’ve been thinking a lot about the state of our world, climate change, water resources and throwaway living…it’s depressing and overwhelming. In fact, I think one of the biggest barriers to sustainable living is just how overwhelming and unattainable it seems. Couple that with an attitude that one person can’t make a big difference – and it all seems futile. At least it seemed futile to me earlier this week when I sat down to do some research on water resources and ended up almost in a state of panic looking at articles on water scarcity and extreme weather events. I decided that I needed to refocus all of that energy I was spending on worry. So I stopped and googled “5 things you can do right now to reduce your carbon footprint”. I found several sites like this one with some easy ideas to decrease your carbon footprint. We’re already a fairly low impact household, but there are always ways to cut back more.
Over the next 30 days, I will find 30 ways to make my household more sustainable and I’ll write about them. I have a few constraints – we don’t own our house, we rent. Which means that I can’t make any major changes to the house. I also have a four month old baby, so as much as I’d love to turn the furnace right down to save on heating, I’d prefer to keep her warm (but she’ll have to suck it up and put on a sweater when she’s older!).
Day 1 – No More Flyers
This one was ridiculously easy and something I had been meaning to do since our landlord replaced the mailbox in the fall. Junk mail is a nuisance and a waste. I’m still trying to track down some sources for the amount of waste junk mail creates every year, but an article on McGill University’s MacDonald Campus Students’ Society website suggests that 100 million trees and 28 billion gallons of water are used every year in the US to create junk mail. A number of other sites quote 41 pounds as the amount of junk mail received by the average North American household each year. That’s a lot of paper going straight into the recycling bin!! Canada Post is legally required to deliver any mail with your address on it, but all you have to do to stop receiving un-addressed admail is place a note on your mailbox (or on the inside of the door, if you have a community mailbox) stating that you don’t want to receive admail. Honestly, I wouldn’t bother buying a “no flyers please” sticker…that seems like a waste too. I used a sharpie and the back of a business card with a misprint that was going in the recycling bin.
What’s that? You like looking through grocery store flyers for sales? No problem! There are apps for that (I like Flyerflo) and most grocery stores, drug stores and big box stores put their flyers online every week. Websites like Save.ca offer all of your flyers on one site. You want coupons? Many stores and some manufacturers (especially ones like P&G and Johnson & Johnson) have online coupons that you can browse through and print only the ones you want. I personally like apps like Checkout 51 and SnapSaves that offer virtual coupons – you buy items on offer that week and send them a photo of your receipt. You are VERY unlikely to miss out on any amazing deals if you refuse admail!!
If we all keep accepting admail and throwing it straight in the recycling bin (or worse, the garbage) it will just keep coming.