Climate change has become a hot topic. Companies are starting to announce targets for getting their products to net zero or neutral emissions, governments are feeling pressure to address the crisis, and more and more people are becoming aware of the serious repercussions of everyday decisions. While opting for no straw in your drink at the local bar or restaurant or making use of reusable shopping bags on your grocery run are great ways to get started, there are even more products out there to help you reduce your carbon footprint.
Peter Lowes is a Real Estate professional, restaurateur, and environmental advocate. In 2019, Lowes founded TEA Together, which stands for Teaching Environmental Awareness. Through this non-profit, Lowes offers scholarships for the post-secondary level to support future environmental stewards in their research and education. The organization also advocates for climate education in curriculums for all ages.
Lowes is passionate about finding creative and sustainable lifestyle changes that reduce his carbon footprint. Here are five of his top choices to take you from the average reusable bag totter to domestic eco-warrior.
Low-flow Shower Heads
Water usage might not be at the top of your list when it comes to reducing your carbon footprint, but it can make a huge impact. Something as simple as changing your shower head can actually reduce your water usage in the shower up to 75%. Lowes recommends checking out some of the exciting innovations coming out in this area.
Nebia, for example, is a Kickstarter-funded startup backed by some giants in the tech sector (we’re talking Tim Cook of Apple and Eric Schmidt of Google). The shower head maximizes the water going through its system by atomizing it, providing twice as much coverage compared to a standard shower head. It also claims to save 65% more water.
You could also check out shower heads by Niagra, which claim to use up to 75% less water than your standard shower. It accomplishes this through patented pressure compensation technology to make the most use of less water.
Enjoy your morning shower with less guilt, says Lowes, by investing in this simple home upgrade.
Did you know that temperature control in the home accounts for the most energy usage for the average American household? That’s more energy than your appliances and electronics combined. So, if you’re looking for ways to cut down on your energy usage or looking to save a couple extra bucks each month, consider a programmable thermostat.
With a programmable thermostat, you can set your home climate to be even more eco-friendly when you’re not around. For example, if you know you’ll be at the office for most of your day during the winter months, you can have your thermostat set to reduce its heating efforts for the hours you’ll be away. It can even warm up the house just before you get home so you never have to be uncomfortable while still saving money and energy.
Lowes recommends checking out Nest’s thermostat, which works with Amazon Alexa voice control. It also comes with an app that can tell you how much energy you’re saving and how. If you’re new to programmable thermostats, it also conveniently shows you a leaf icon when you choose an eco-friendly setting.
Beauty Products with Less Packaging
Have you ever considered reducing the amount of waste you produce? All those plastic bags, containers, and packaging from everyday items really adds up. Over 80 billion plastic bottles are thrown away every year from shampoo and conditioner alone.
The good news is that you don’t have to contribute to the plastic waste in landfills and oceans. There are great products out there that use much less packaging and are equally as effective and luxurious. One New Zealand beauty startup called Ethique makes sustainable beauty products in bar form. Everything from shampoo, to conditioner, to moisturizer, to self-tanner can be purchased in a bar form conveniently off Amazon. Lush Cosmetics also offers great bar shampoo and conditioners among other products at their retail locations and online.
The great thing about beauty products that come in bars is that they are made using less water too, says Lowes. You can feel good about opting for these products on many levels.
Second Hand Clothing
Garment production is a surprisingly polluting sector that many people don’t like to talk about, says Lowes. Particularly with fast fashion and ever-changing trends, the demand to keep up with cheaply made garments made by the millions is concerning.
Instead of opting for many cheaper options, consider choosing well-made basics as the base of your wardrobe. These garments may cost a little more in the beginning, but they should also last you much longer than fast fashion.
Shopping second hand is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, says Lowes. You can support your community by shopping local and reduce emissions that would normally be created through production and shipping. You don’t have to sacrifice fashion either since many consignment shops carry amazing brand names. Saving money on the retail price and ensuring your unique look are added bonuses.
When you turn off an appliance at home, you might think you’ve stopped using electricity. Surprisingly, that’s often not the case. Even when you turn off your coffee maker or television, it continues to draw power from the outlet. You can stop this by purchasing inexpensive plug-ins for your outlets that control the power being sapped by your appliances and electronics.
Belkin makes some great products that do just that, says Lowes. When you turn something off you can also flip a switch on the socket and it stops energy from flowing through the outlet. It’s a great way to save money and energy in your home or even at work. These energy saving devices are often available at your local hardware store and even online through sites like Amazon.
Whatever your main eco-concern, there are interesting products coming out every day to help you address it. If it’s time to up your game from reusable straws and grocery bags, consider some of these super easy home fixes recommended by Peter Lowes.