It can be a challenge to figure out how to help the environment. The good news is, bettering the planet doesn’t have to be expensive or drastic. Rather, sustainable changes consist of small intentional actions that are easy to commit to while still leaving a lasting impact.
Here are some changes you can incorporate into your daily life that will make a big difference.
Reduce Food Waste
When food ends up in landfills, it generates methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), food waste is estimated between 30-40% of the food supply. As a result, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates greenhouse gas emissions from more than 42 coal-fired power plants.
Here are two easy ways to help combat food waste:
- Donate or get creative. If you have excess nonperishable canned goods or household items, consider donating them to a community pantry, food bank, local church, or community center. Feeding America also has a nationwide network of food banks and programs that help millions of people find food. Or you can put your creative skills to the test by tackling the leftovers in your fridge. If you’re making a large pan of lasagna or a pot of green chili, extra portions can be frozen and thawed for future meals.
- Compost food scraps. Compost is created by combining organic wastes, such as banana peels, leftover foods, and eggshells, to provide enrichment for the environment. By composting wasted food and other organics, methane emissions are significantly reduced. The EPA also has a handful of resources to help you get started. Learn more from Pitkin County Landfill.
Buy Second-Hand Items
While there are some social advantages to fast fashion, the environmental impact is far more severe. Investopedia reports that the industry uses 93 billion cubic meters of water per year and emits more than 10% of global carbon emissions. Purchasing items second-hand helps reduce the consumption of mass-produced goods and fast-fashion clothing.
Donate to A Cause You Care About
Some organizations help their communities by letting customers and employees participate in giving back to causes they care about. FirstBank announced a new campaign that allows customers to put “banking for good” into action by supporting nonprofits committed to saving critical parts of our environment.
For every consumer checking account opened from June 5 (World Environment Day) to September 16 (World Ozone Day), FirstBank will donate* to a planet-saving cause.
Plant Trees – Help reforestation efforts with One Tree Planted.
Conserve Water – Promote water conservation and sustainability for rivers and waterways with Western Resource Advocates.
Save Bees – Fund honey bee research to enhance honey bee health and improve crop
production with Project Apis m. When customers open a checking account, they will also receive a Recovered Ocean Bound Plastic (ROBP) Visa® debit card, and be automatically entered into a weekly drawing to win $500.* To learn more, visit efirstbank.com/green or efirstbank.com/verde (Spanish).
Bike or Walk More Frequently
Now that summer is here, it is the perfect time to bike or walk. Cycling uses minimal fossil fuels and is a pollution-free transportation method. Bikes also reduce the need to build, service, and dispose of cars. Choosing a bike over a car just once a day can reduce the average person’s carbon emissions from transportation by about 67%. Not only is biking good for the environment, but it’s also good for you too.
Participate in a Cleanup
A community cleanup brings volunteers together to clean, repair, and improve public spaces or other areas that have been neglected, polluted, and misused. Cleanups help reduce pollution and support the health of animals in the area. Every piece of trash collected to be recycled or put into a landfill means there is one less unsafe item that could potentially harm wildlife. This also creates a safer environment for children when visiting parks in their communities.
Manage Money Purposefully
Unnecessary spending can be bad for the environment and expensive for you. An increase in demand naturally drives the rate of production, which in turn, leads to land use, deforestation, and the emission of harmful pollutants. Before purchasing, learn more about the company’s sustainability goals. Being conscious of where you spend your money can also help you save and impact the planet.
Adopt a Green Thumb
Whether you want to start your own backyard garden or volunteer at a local community garden, there are plenty of ways to help plant fruits, vegetables, flowers, and trees this summer. In fact, nonprofits like One Tree Planted make it easy for individuals and businesses to give back to the environment, create a healthier climate, protect biodiversity, and help reforestation efforts worldwide by planting trees.
Help Out Pollinators
Did you know over 100,000 invertebrates and over 1,000 mammals, birds and reptiles act as pollinators? However, the most commonly known are bees, butterflies, moths, and wasps. Unfortunately, they are in decline worldwide due to habitat loss, invasive species, parasites, and pesticides. Luckily there are ways to help by supporting organizations like Project Apis m., dedicated to funding research and efforts supporting honey bee health and securing pollination of our favorite healthy foods.
Stop Purchasing and Recycle Plastic
It may seem cliché, but conscientiously buying products without plastic, and recycling the plastic that would otherwise land in the ocean or a landfill are ways to help save the planet. Look for tomatoes and fruit not encased in plastic and purchase eco-friendly shampoo and laundry detergent online. WATCH THE PITKIN COUNTY LANDFILL VIDEO TO LEARN MORE ABOUT RECYCLING AND COMPOSTING IN OUR VALLEY.
According to Earthday.org, in 2022, there was a recorded 8 million metric tons of plastic in the ocean. The amount of plastic trash that flows into the ocean each year is expected to triple by 2040. FirstBank has partnered with Second Wave®, which upcycles recovered ocean-bound plastic into goods like shampoo bottles, outdoor furniture, and debit cards. New FirstBank customers will receive a ROBP Visa® Debit Card.** Nonprofits like Western Resource Advocates (WRA) focus on advocating to fight climate change and advance clean energy to help protect the region’s unique lands, waterways, and wildlife.
While these small changes can help benefit the planet, see how FirstBank is helping the environment and encouraging its customers to do the same.
To learn more about FirstBank’s new campaign and how you can help donate to a cause of your choice, visit efirstbank.com/green or efirstbank.com/verde (Spanish).
*FirstBank will donate $3 per FirstBank checking account opened online or in-person, up to $60,000, towards One Tree Planted, Project Apis m. and Western Resource Advocates. Offer is available to new and existing customers. The offer is only valid from June 5, 2023, through September 18, 2023. Customers who open a checking account will receive a notification following the campaign to participate in the voting portion to select a nonprofit to receive the funds, which will take place from September 18, 2023, through September 30, 2023.
**$10 per card, per year (For certain checking account account holders, the Visa debit card fee will be waived for those who are 25 years of age and under at the time the annual fee is charged)
***NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. Certain restrictions and requirements apply. The FirstBank Go Green Checking Promotion begins June 5, 2023, and ends September 18, 2023. Promotion is available to new and existing FirstBank customers. To be eligible to win, participants must open a FirstBank Consumer Checking Account and make a deposit of at least $1.00 USD during the promotional period. You may also be eligible to win by mailing a 3″ x 5″ piece of paper to FirstBank. For complete mail-in details, see the Official Rules. Fifteen (15) grand prizes will be rewarded. Each grand prize consists of $500 USD. The odds of winning are based on the number of eligible entries received. Limit one entry per person during Promotion Period. All promotion winners will be randomly selected throughout the promotion period, see the Official Rules for details. Must be 18 years or older and a U.S. citizen or permanent U.S. resident. Promotion winners may decline the prize and an alternate winner, or winners will be selected. All prizes will be deposited into the winners’ checking account within 90 days of September 29, 2023. FirstBank employees and their immediate families are not eligible to enter. Winnings are subject to IRS/tax reporting.