Living More Sustainably
1. Focus On Being Healthy
Getting and staying fit will save you money, increase your happiness, and give you additional energy to take on more resolutions.
–Make your own meals. Despite low-sodium and low-fat labels on processed foods, nothing beats homemade food when it comes to nutrition and value. Be sure these meals include some fruits and vegetables (from local sources when possible).
— Walk or bike to where you need to go. Flagstaff is very walker and biker friendly, with sidewalks, bike lanes and the urban trail system linking up nearly the entire city.
2. Help Build Your Community
It can be hard to feel a sense of community in today’s fast-paced world, but there are simple things you can do to help build your community.
–Participate, as a member or volunteer, in local organizations and events. You’ll meet your neighbors and help to improve the community.
–Invest in local businesses. Shopping at local businesses helps to create and sustain jobs, preserves the unique community character, and increases funding for city services.
3. Reduce Your Waste
The average American generates 56 tons of garbage per year and Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottle every hour.
–Always try to reduce what you consume. When buying an item, look for good quality construction and minimal packaging.
–Reuse the three B’s: bags (for grocery and retail stores), beverage containers (mugs and water bottles), and batteries.
–Recycle all plastic, metal, paper/cardboard, and glass. Plastic film, including shopping bags and packaging, is recyclable at major Flagstaff grocery stores.
4. Conserve Water
Water is one of Flagstaff’s most precious resources. On an annualized basis, Flagstaff citizens use about 116 gallons of water per person per day.
–Install a modern, low-flow shower head. Look for models with a flow rate less that 2.5 gallons per minute and/or with a shut-off valve to use while you’re lathering up.
–Install faucet aerators at kitchen and bathroom sinks. Aerators are inexpensive and simply screw onto your existing faucets to limit water flow to 2.2 gallons per minute or less.
5. Save Energy & Fuel
–As perhaps the most obvious resolution to be more sustainable, hopefully you are already taking steps to reduce your energy and fuel consumption. Here are a few pointers to help you save even more energy, and money!
–Eliminate energy phantoms. Most entertainment and office equipment uses energy even when it isn’t turned on. Plug electronics into power strips and turn the strips off when the equipment isn’t in use.
–Lower the thermostat on your hot water heater to 120 F. For each 10 F reduction in water temperature, you can save between 3 percent to 5 percent in energy costs.
–Drive sensibly. Aggressive driving can reduce your fuel economy by 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent around town, and is also dangerous.
Source — Nicole A. Woodman, city of Flagstaff Sustainability Manager.