How to Live Sustainably
More than three-quarters of Americans want to learn how to live a more sustainable lifestyle. As increasing numbers of people learn about the impact humans are having on the environment, the need to be eco-friendly continues to grow. Plastic pollution, the loss of biodiversity and climate change are just three of the many factors that drive the growing need for sustainable design and green living.If the idea of lessening your environmental impact leaves you scratching your head and unsure of where to start, you’re not alone. Check out these six actionable tips as a jumping off point.
Rely On Reusable
Anyone looking to incorporate eco-friendly living into their lifestyle can start by making easy swaps. Plastics are a good place to start. Billions of pounds of plastics are currently swirling in our oceans, making up roughly 40 percent of the ocean's surface. Plastic bags take anywhere from 15 to 1,000 years to break down and the United States alone produces up to 100 billion plastic bags every year. Imagine how much of an impact it would make if everyone switched to reusable bags.Not only do around 60 million plastic water bottles end up in the trash every day, they also contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, with fossil fuels required for both production and transportation. Refilling reusable bottles can help slash those numbers.How are companies helping? Consider the differences between the fast furniture industry, which contributes to millions of tons of furnishings ending up in landfills every year and CORT Furniture Rental’s business model. CORT reuses almost all of its rental furnishings. Around 97 percent are discounted and resold to consumers after being rented, giving them a reuse rate up to six times over traditional furniture sales models. Even better, this produces 49 percent less greenhouse gases.
Buying local is great for your community. It helps support the local economy by creating jobs, keeping more money in the community and creating a unique locale. Turns out, it’s also a solid component to any plan for living green. More than 59 percent of local, independent businesses use recycled materials some or most of the time. It also reduces the transportation costs generated every time something has to be shipped.Take traditional grocery shopping for example. Much of the food you buy has to travel at least 1500 miles to get to your dinner table. Buying locally grown food not only reduces transportation costs and food mileage, it also leaves you with foods that are generally fresher, treated with fewer preservatives and grown with fewer pesticides.
Rent More, Buy Less
Living more sustainably requires a shift from stark consumption to taking a more active role in the sharing economy, which can help support eco-friendly living by reducing waste, minimizing the carbon footprint and reducing the amount of resources being used. Perhaps that’s part of the reason that rentals are such a hot trend. Retail is quickly being reshaped as consumers clamor for the ability to rent more and buy less.From traditional retailers to rental companies to startups, everyone is getting in on what’s being dubbed the “rental economy.” Consumers are clamoring for clothing rentals — particularly high-end, designer fashion — and furniture. Furniture rental is particularly popular among consumers looking to live green. More than 9.7 million tons of furniture ends up in landfills every year.By renting, consumers are able to stay on top of trends, switch their style up frequently and access furniture on demand — all without the headache and commitment that comes with ownership. More importantly, when you’re finished with the rental, it doesn’t end up in the landfill. Instead, it goes on to the next consumer as part of the sharing economy.
Increase Energy Efficiency
Sustainable design should be a factor when you’re living green. Somewhere around 69 percent of greenhouse gases emitted from U.S. homes come from electricity usage, with another 32 percent coming from home heating. To increase your home’s energy efficiency, consider the following tips:
- Fix leaky faucets, which could save up to 1,600+ gallons of water per year
- Seal air leaks around doors, windows and ducts to save up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs
- Opt for EnergyStar appliances and electronics to save up to 30 percent of energy use
- Insulate pipes and your how water tank to save up to 20 percent per year on water heating bills
- Plug electronics into power strips that you can turn off when you're not using them to save up to 12 percent on your annual electric bill
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
It’s an idea that’s been around for a few decades now but it remains a relevant and important concept that’s integral to sustainable design practices and eco-friendly living. Reduce by making sure you need that item before you buy it. Reuse whenever possible. Recycle when you can.It’s important to make purchasing choices that align with these goals. Case in point: Furniture rental reduces both consumer waste and the resources needed to mitigate overflowing landfills. It also takes recycling to the next level as rental furniture goes on to be rented again and ultimately sold at a discount.
CORT Furniture Rental understands the importance of making eco-friendly choices. Not only do they minimize waste for energy efficiency and use sustainable products as much as possible, CORT also relies on vehicle maintenance and smart delivery truck routing to reduce emissions. You can take similar measures by changing your driving habits to drive less and keep up with vehicle maintenance to increase efficiency by up to 40 percent. Other tips for living green include:
- Paying attention to labels and opting for Fair Trade certified goods when possible to support the companies who are working to increase sustainable production.
- Turn big purchases into an opportunity to make a positive environmental impact. For example, do you need a new car? Get the most fuel-efficient model you can afford to reduce your carbon footprint and save money on gas.
- Know who you’re buying (and renting) from. Support companies that support living sustainably.
Green living never looked so stylish. Invest in beautiful furnishings that help minimize your negative environmental impact. Sound too good to be true? CORT Furniture Rental is committed to sustainable business practices and helping you achieve your eco-friendly living goals. Learn more today.