Now more than ever, we’re seeing and hearing about our environment, especially climate change, and what we can do to combat it.
At the end of September climate strikes were taking place around the world, with millions of people attending, and millions more watching from home. In Canada, hundreds of thousands of people attended climate strikes lead by leading climate activist Greta Thunberg. Even if we only heard about these events on the news or social media, these events left many people wondering, what can I do to help stop climate change?
Luckily for us, the smallest changes can have a large positive impact on this initiative.
The key to understanding our impact on the environment and making more environmentally friendly decisions is learning how to be a more mindful consumer, specifically in what we purchase and how we make those purchase decisions. Now being mindful isn’t just about cutting our consumption or stopping our use of things that are deemed environmentally harmful. This approach can be difficult, costly and is not always 100% realistic or feasible.
Being a mindful consumer is about seeking out alternative products or ways that have less of a negative eco impact and can be changed to or implemented easier. For example, one of the most popular changes reported on in mainstream media in recent months is reducing the use of plastic drinking straws and substituting them for paper or metal straws. Many restaurants have already adopted this change.
The saying Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, can help guide us in a more environmentally friendly direction. Here are some easy ways you can be more mindful consumer:
- Carry around reusable bags and opt out of using store provided plastic bags. Many stores now charge for plastic bags, and some have stopped providing them altogether, to deter people from using them. Reusable bags are available almost everywhere, and they come in a variety of types, colours and sizes. Some types can be washed, and others can fold up into a palm-sized pouch to fit into a purse or pocket. Plus, by bringing your own bag you’re helping the environment and saving money.
- Research what household products you can put in your municipal recycling or green waste programs. Many more things can be recycled than you’d think – but make sure to clean things thoroughly as leftover food residue can ruin the recycling process which means things will end up in the landfill instead.
- When you decide you really don’t need something anymore consider donating it to a local thrift store or shelter in your area. These places are often always looking for donations to either give away or resell to the public. By reusing items, we can avoid producing more and more things that will use energy to make and end up in a landfill.
- When purchasing new things consider where they are coming from, and if there are alternatives that are better for the environment. These can be as little as switching from plastic utensils to bamboo utensils at your next backyard barbeque. They serve the same purpose and may be a little more costly, but bamboo utensils are compostable, and bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world, so the source replenishes quickly.
- Consider purchasing higher quality items that can be used for longer periods of time. These items may be more expensive up front, but being of better quality, they will last longer so you don’t need to replace them often. This saves you money and has less impact on the environment. For example, consider buying wooden or metal furniture for your house instead of cheaper furniture made of particle board. These pieces will be more expensive but will last you a lifetime, instead of needing to replace the cheaper ones every few years or every time you move because they can’t be put back together again.
- Consider whether or not you could reuse an item if you had it repaired or gave it a little spruce up. Shoes and clothes are things that can be repaired quite often and saved from being thrown out. Also, instead of throwing out old wooden furniture consider giving it a makeover (repairing, sanding, staining or painting) and making it like new.
- Use a self-storage unit to keep your seasonal equipment, and excess furniture and goods instead of throwing them out and buying them new again when you need them next. Items like pool toys and seasonal furniture are often way too easy (and affordable) to throw out and buy them again next summer, especially when you have no room in your home, shed or garage to store them in. The reality is that these items will sit in landfills for years and years. Self-storage units can inexpensively keep your belongings safe while they aren’t in use and allow you to reuse them whenever you need them. Don’t buy cheap, store cheap!
We hope we’ve inspired you to make some changes to help save our precious environment for our generation and generations to follow.
We’ve been offering safe, flexible and affordable self-storage for 20+ years, so if you have any questions about the benefits of self-storage and our self-storage facility, we’re just an email, text or phone call away.
Your friend in self-storage,