Aside from the results we achieve with our Kelowna braces and Invisalign, and the relationships we build with our patients, one of the things we’re most proud at Straight Smiles are our efforts to be carbon neutral. At our eco-friendly orthodontic practice, Dr. Scramstad and the team utilize high-efficiency lighting, rely on an extensive recycling program, use alternatives to air conditioning and are nearly 100% paperless. All of the changes we make as businesses and individuals add up! If you’d like to live a little more green and help keep the planet healthy yourself, we’ve compiled some simple ways to reduce your carbon footprint:
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
How can you reduce your carbon footprint at home? Make this popular phrase your mantra! You’ve probably heard it a million times but it really is the foundation for how to be more environmentally friendly. Try to reduce how many “things” you buy and throw away. One way to do this is to purchase quality items that will last.
Let’s say, for example, you’re in the market for a sweater. It’s tempting to buy a really cheap one but “fast fashion” isn’t good for the environment and you end up wearing the sweater a few times and throwing it away when it starts to fall apart. In the long run, you spend more buying new sweaters every year and you produce more waste. You can reduce your impact by going for the highest quality sweater you can afford so that you can wear it for years. Or, even better, head to the thrift store and purchase a used sweater. Second-hand clothing is the most eco-friendly clothing because no more energy is used to produce it since it already exists.
In addition to buying less and purchasing higher quality or used items, reuse what you have. If it doesn’t work for its original purpose, getting creative with new purposes can go a long way. When you do have to purchase something new and it can’t be reused, then recycle it whenever possible.
Ditch Single-Use Plastics
Another great tip for how to reduce your carbon footprint is whenever you can, try to avoid single-use plastic items like plastic water bottles, straws, plastic shopping bags and plastic cutlery. The plastic production process is a leading contributor of greenhouse gas emissions and plastic can take over a thousand years to break down in a landfill. While recycling is important, it does use a lot of energy, so avoiding single-use plastic in the first place is your best bet. There so many sustainable alternatives available, including those made of glass and compostable materials. Make it a habit to bring reusable shopping bags with you and to fill a stainless steel water bottle before you leave the house.
Unplug Those Devices
It might seem harmless to leave your devices plugged in when you’re not using them, however, even when electronics are off, they still suck up energy when they’re plugged in. This is known as “vampire power” and it does contribute to your carbon footprint. Since we’re focusing on simple changes you can make when it comes to how to be more environmentally friendly, we had to include this one. It doesn’t get any easier. Just unplug your electronics or turn off the surge protector when you’re not using them.
Transportation is a major source of carbon emissions. By using a carbon footprint calculator, you can see just how much of an impact your driving has. When it’s feasible, walk or bike places instead of driving. Dr. Scramstad’s a big fan of biking to work. In addition to being better for the planet, it’s also fun and great exercise. When you do need a vehicle, taking public transportation, carpooling or ridesharing are more environmentally-friendly alternatives.
Support Environmentally-Friendly Companies
Consumers have more power than you might think and by choosing to support eco-friendly companies, you’re sending a message that being kind to the planet is something you value. When you use a company or business for a service or product, resources are utilized on your behalf. This is why opting for eco-friendly businesses (like Straight Smiles!) indirectly reduces your carbon footprint.
Eat Local, Seasonal Food
Eating fresh, locally produced food that’s in season is another of the simple ways to reduce your carbon footprint. Of course, it also tastes better and you’re supporting area farmers. When you get produce that’s not in season from a grocery store, it means it was shipped from another province or country. The fuel and refrigeration necessary for it to get to your local store has a negative impact on the environment. As for processed foods, processing plants cause pollution. When you can, go with organic options, as they’re better for the planet and your body.
These simple ways to reduce your carbon footprint are all easy to enact in your day-to-day life. If you’re ready to improve your smile in a way that’s healthy for you and the Earth, schedule a consultation at Straight Smiles today!