Sustainability is no longer just a catchphrase. It has become a way of life, with everyone, from government to small businesses all adopting the Sustainable Development Goals into their operations and policies. As we all continue to work digitally during the pandemic, we can still incorporate sustainable practices into our lives. Here’s our top ten green tips for working from home.
- Reduce Food Waste
Having access to your fridge 24/7 is a sure-fire way to overindulge.
A global study by the United Nations confirmed that one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year – approximately 1.3 billion tons – gets lost or wasted throughout the supply chain, from initial agricultural production down to final household consumption
Careful portion control will not only help your waistline, but more importantly, reduce the volumes of food waste going to landfill or recovery. Food wastage equates to the squandering of natural resources, energy, and money, and when it biodegrades in a landfill, it produces greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to climate change.
If you do have food waste, the kitchen scraps can be turned into nutrient-rich compost, enhancing the quality of soil in your garden. It is a cost-effective solution to reducing the amount of food waste going into your garbage bins.
There are a variety of residential composting solutions; Bokashi and Vermicomposting are popular choices for small scale composting. Tip: wet your paper waste (white paper, cardboard and tissues) and add them into your compost bin!
- Create a Garden
Gardening is a useful way to maintain a work-life balance. It has proven to be a great stress-reliever and assists in improving cognitive functioning. Growing your own organic vegetables is a cost effective way to stay healthy and boost your immune system.
Tip: create a circular model for food waste by using your home made compost to improve the soil quality in your vegetable garden!
Organize your work area by converting trash into nifty desk organizers. Here’s a link for turning waste into useful products for your desk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hv9nFNd4hM.
- Green Shopping
Grocery shopping seems never-ending when working from home. Make the sustainable choice by choosing reusable shopping bags over buying plastic bags, which takes decades to decompose at landfill sites.
- Clean Out Unwanted Items
Clear out a quiet workspace for yourself, and donate any unwanted items to a local charity or people in need. You’ll have a clutter-free area, and enjoy a feel-good moment by helping another during this difficult time.
- Reduce Driving Time
Reduce your carbon footprint by combining errands when driving. This will save you time, fuel costs, and reduce the CO2 emissions from your vehicle. Every bit helps!
- Recycle E-Waste
In 2014, around 41.8 million tons of e-waste was generated worldwide. In 2018, this increased to 49.8 million tons, with a prediction that this could double to 120 million tons by 2050. Only 15-20% of e-waste is actually recycled. A quick Google search can direct you to local e-waste recyclers in your area. Items such as old printers, cell phones, printer cartridges, computers, and other appliances can be safely dismantled and recycled.
- Save on Water Costs
Water conservation has never been more critical with handwashing proven to be an effective defense against the Coronavirus.
If you don’t already have a dual-flush system, fill a cool drink bottle with water, a bit of bleach and a few marbles, and place it in the toilet water tank. This can save up to 40 liters of water a day!
- Promote Biodiversity
It is a little known fact that Biodiversity protects ecosystems against infectious diseases. According to the World Health Organization, the adverse health effects brought in by loss of biodiversity far exceeds dangers of implication of climate change to human health. The United Nations reported the average abundance of indigenous species in most major land-based habitats has fallen by at least 20%.
Take a break from your computer and explore ways to promote biodiversity within your garden. Here are simple ways to limit biodiversity loss: create a bird-feeder using recyclable materials, place marbles in a shallow bowl, and cover with sugar water to provide bees a resting place for nourishment, create an indigenous garden, or offer support to your local wildlife organizations.
The pandemic has forced people across the globe to adopt a new culture of working from home. This allows us the opportunity to rethink our way of life, and incorporate environmentally-friendly choices into our work-life balance. Together, we can create a sustainable future for generations to come.
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