Buy ENERGY STAR-certified, EPEAT-registered electronics, or do your own research

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Updated on October 25, 2019

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If you are in the market for a new electronic device, check to see if the product has an ENERGY STAR or EPEAT label, or check the applicable websites to see if the model you are interested in is listed. ENERGY STAR-certified products meet energy efficiency criteria and EPEAT goes a step further by requiring products to meet other environmental standards related to environmentally sensitive material, packaging, and what happens to it when it comes to the end of its life cycle. You can also do your own research on the manufacturer to see what they are doing when it comes to sustainability. Supporting companies that are reducing the negative environmental impact of their products and using energy-efficient electronics are 2 great ways to incorporate sustainability into school or work.

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If you see restaurants, stores, or other types of companies that are incorporating sustainability, consider choosing these options and make your support for sustainability known. It encourages other businesses to become sustainable as well. You may also come across a nonprofit or community organization that you believe is doing valuable work. Why not donate or reach out to see how you can support their efforts? You can consider volunteering, even if it’s only for one day, to give back to the local area you’re visiting.

Carry and use washable, reusable utensils when possible.

Many airlines are now offering passengers the option to purchase carbon offsets when booking a flight, which means you can pay extra to fund a project that reduces GHG emissions, “neutralizing” your flight. Carbon offset projects include supporting forest conservation in California, capturing GHG emissions from landfills in South Carolina, or renewable energy in Texas. Airlines are also taking measures to reduce their own environmental impact such as making planes and fleets more energy efficient and looking for alternative sources of energy.

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Using reusable bags (cloth, paper, or plastic) or hand-carrying items (if you’re only picking up a few things) both are ways to cut down on plastic waste. Many cities have banned plastic bags altogether, and some stores now charge for bags that just a few years ago were free. Even if your city hasn’t made the move on plastic bags yet, you can take matters into your own hands by remembering your reusable bags.

We tend to make too much food for parties. This is especially true during the holidays since it’s usually part of the holiday culture to make sure everyone has all the food and beverage they can handle, and then some. This excess is ultimately bad for the environment. However, tracking your RSVPs closely and keeping a headcount should help you avoid making this classic mistake that ultimately contributes to food waste. Of course, some extra food is not disastrous (everyone loves leftovers), but it is something to be mindful of.

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