6 Ways to Go Eco-Friendly in Less Than 24 Hours
In honour of Earth Day, we bring you six easy ways to change your daily habits. Here’s how to go eco-friendly in less than 24 hours
Avoid microbeads in your morning shower. When the beads go down your drain, they end up polluting rivers, lakes and oceans. They're eaten by fish, which moves the toxic chemicals up the food chain, among other environmental effects.
Make your own scrub: Mix coconut oil, ground coffee beans and brown sugar together for an easy and effective formula.
Make your commute carbon-free by walking, telecommuting or cycling. "The transportation sector in Canada accounts for 25 percent of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions," says Deb Doncaster, president of Earth Day Canada. Doncaster estimates that not driving one day a week can save one tonne of greenhouse gas emissions yearly. Have to drive? Consider carpooling.
Cut a deal with your employer to telecommute on a semi-regular basis. This is a win-win (who wouldn't want to work in sweatpants?).
Pre-coffee thoughts are hard, but being mindful that your morning java is Fairtrade Canada certified matters. It means that farmers are given a minimum price to protect them when the market is low and everyone on the supply chain meets economic, social and environmental standards.
Fairtrade also gives farming co-ops a premium for community investment, like building a health centre or school.
Toronto alone estimates that one million coffee cups are disposed of each day, so bring a reusable coffee tumbler for your brew.
Make your lunch meeting meatless. Livestock-based farming is responsible for about one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions. "You could drive a Hummer and be a vegetarian and have less of an environmental impact than if you eat meat but ride your bike everywhere," says Doncaster.
Picture a plastic water bottle that's one-quarter full of oil - that's about how much oil was used to make it. Bring a stainless steel water bottle for daily hydration.
Opt for Ocean Wise certified seafood for a sustainable dinner. "Overfishing is the number one issue facing oceans today," says Teddie Geach, a seafood specialist for Ocean Wise. The certification means that the fishery meets the program's standards, like having a limited amount of bycatch (unintentionally caught fish), making sure there's no overfishing and only fishing species that are in abundance.
Check for Localize labels at your grocery store when you're picking up dinner. They are currently available in 250 Canadian stores and tell shoppers how local their food is by showing a score on the label.
Trekking to evening errands, social obligations and your kids' activities adds up. "About 50 percent of commutes are less than five kilometres, while 25 percent are less than two kilometres," says Doncaster. Walk, bike or take transit for short trips.
Doncaster urges more community involvement for a sustainable future. "If we're connected, growing our own food, engaging with our neighbours and spending time with our communities and families, that goes a long way, from a sustainability standpoint and for our health, well-being and happiness."