Simple Steps to Help the Environment
Being more environmentally friendly in your daily life doesn’t have to be difficult. If you’re looking for simple ways to be green from home, read the list below for tips on how to make your life a bit greener. You’ll also find links to local resources from community organizations that provide a service related to each tip. From stopping junk mail to finding the nearest farmer’s markets, the following list has the green resources you need!
1. Empower yourself and get rid of unwanted junk mail.
Rid your mailbox of unwanted advertisements, catalogs and credit card solicitations, and help reduce the amount of paper wasted. Create a free account at kkcb.catalogchoice.org and choose which types of junk mail you no longer want to receive.
2. Visit Habitat Restore to donate or purchase used building materials and supplies.
Help keep valuable building materials out of the landfills and affordable for reuse. Find a Habitat Restore location near you by visiting restorekc.org.
3. Obtain an ATA bus pass.
Limiting the number of vehicles on the road helps reduce the emissions of harmful air pollution and greenhouse gases. Do your part by getting a pass to ride the KC Metro to and from work, and for other travel needs. For more information, visit kcata.org.
4. Buy produce from local farmers markets.
Buying local food helps reduce your carbon footprint. The City Market gives residents access to over 140 vendors, and is located in scenic downtown KC. Others farmers markets are located in Brookside, Zona Rosa and Minor Park. For a comprehensive list of markets in the metro area, visit kcfoodcircle.org/farmers-markets/.
5. Dispose of household hazardous waste at the Kansas City Regional HHW Center.
The most familiar household hazardous waste (HHW) products are household cleaners, lawn and garden products, automotive fluids and paint-related products. If not disposed of properly, these products can do serious harm to the environment.
6. Use clothes lines to dry wet clothes instead of a dryer.
Not only does using a clothes line help the environment, but it also saves you money on your electric bill. A clothes dryer is typically the second biggest electricity using appliance, costing approximately $85 a year to operate.
7. Recycle glass containers and electronics at drop off sites.
The solution to finding a convenient place to recycle glass is simple. Visit RippleglassKC.com and enter your zip code to find a bin near you.
Recycling electronics through Surplus Exchange in the West Bottoms is similarly straightforward; visit their website for more information on their hours and processes for accepting expired electronics.
8. Avoid parking and idling vehicle engines for more than two minutes in any 60 minute period.
Litmiting idling helps the environment and protects public health. It will also reduce your fuel usage and costs!
9. Use a commercial car wash instead of soaping up at home.
Soap from washing your car can pollute local streams, creeks and lakes. The dirty water flows from your driveway into storm drains, and does not undergo treatment before entering waterways. Most commercial car washes recycle water, and the dirty water they do produce goes into the sewer system where it will be treated.
Visit Recyclespot.org, your online spot for recycling tips and information.
Looking for ways to be greener at work but don’t know where to start? The following list contains tips on how you can reduce your carbon footprint during your workday. From something as small as turning off unused lights to placing plants in your office, every little thing counts. Please be aware that your company may already be doing some of the following, so make sure you check with your company.
1. Purchase recycled and green office supplies.
There are several office supply stores that provide alternative “green” office supplies. Use cleaning supplies and restroom paper products that meet EPA’s Environmentally Preferred Purchasing guidelines or are certified by organizations such as Green Seal.
2. Teleconference/video conference/WebEx when possible to reduce travel.
If employees must travel to a meeting, encourage them to carpool with others that may be attending the same meeting.
3. Turn off unused office lights.
Turn off lights in bathrooms, conference rooms, kitchens, libraries and other unused areas whenever possible—and especially on weekends. When employees work late, encourage them to use task lighting instead of lighting an entire floor. Post a reminder by the light switches until people get in the habit.
4. Limit the use of disposable products at company-supplied lunches and events.
Ask vendors who supply company lunches not to deliver lunches in boxes. Stock cabinets with reusable dishware instead of disposable cups, plates and utensils. Send extra food from company events home with the employees or deliver the food to a local charity rather than throwing it away.
5. Shut down computers at the end of every day and turn off the monitors.
During the day, put computers and printers on energy saving settings like “hibernate” or lower the energy settings.
6. Set up an internal recycling program.
Recycle cans, bottles, newspapers, magazines and office paper. Be sure to put collection containers in central areas and at desks. Contact local vendors to determine what recycling services they provide.
7. Limit the use of space heaters.
Ask employees to dress more warmly or provide “green” sweatshirts for employees to keep at their desks to wear when they are cold.
8. Remove office water coolers.
Use tap water with faucet filters or water purifying pitchers. Kansas City has the best drinking water quality in the United States and is as good or better than bottled water.
9. Advise employees on how to use less paper.
Encourage employees to use the double-sided printing feature of their printers, fax machines and copiers. Reuse paper that has been printed on one side and create scrap notepads for staff use.
10. Place plants in your office space.
Plants replenish oxygen and absorb airborne pollutants. Plants also provide a more pleasant place to live and work.