You want to become more eco-friendly but you are not sure where to start? Here is a fun eco-friendly 1-week eco-challenge that will help you get started. In this challenge, you will find daily tasks that will enlighten you of the diverse aspects of environmentalism.
Some of these tasks might be easy, but they’ll serve as a reminder that we must be mindful of our impact on our environment every day. Other tasks, although not difficult, will take us out of our comfort zone.
Ready to begin? Here we go…
Monday’s Eco-Challenge: This morning, you’ll get to enjoy your coffee
Ah.! Coffee. My workday begins with a coffee, maybe you prefer tea?. Don’t brew your own at home? That’s OK, you still can enjoy your cup of joe, just bring your refillable cup to your usual coffee shop. Ask them to fill it up instead of using a throw-away cup. Read on to find out why.
You might think that paper a cup is made of cardboard, but it contains plastic. Check out this interesting Facebook post from Fundy Region Solid Waste.
Tuesday’s Eco-Challenge: you’ll need to dig out that needle and thread
Sewing does seem like a lost art these days. It shouldn’t be. Repairing your clothes will keep them out of the landfill.
According to the Recycling Council of Ontario, North Americans send 9.5 million tonnes of clothing to landfills every year. They also state that 95 % of that clothing could be reused or recycled.
So, your task this week is to select a piece of clothing from your wardrobe that needs mending and fix it. If you don’t’ know how to sew, check out the videos below.
If you don’t have any clothes to repair, what about broken shoes or boots? Source out a shoe repair place, and get them fixed.
Check out these “how-to” sewing videos:
Wednesday’s Eco-Challenge: you’ll be working towards reducing your energy consumption
Ok, so we are half-way through our 1-week eco-challenge. There are lots of ways to reduce your energy consumption around the home and the workplace. Today’s challenge is to look at ways to reduce energy.
Have you heard of Phantom Power? Believe it or not, your appliances continue to draw power when they are plugged in, even if they are off. You can reduce your energy consumption by unplugging your appliances (coffee maker, toaster, TV, computer, etc) while not in use.
Almost 65% of your energy dollars go to heating and cooling.Source: https://www.hydroone.com/saving-money-and-energy/residential/tips-and-tools
Here is another small task you can take to lower your consumption. Adjust your indoor temperature. If it’s summer, crank up the temperature 2 degrees warmer than you usually do. If it’s winter, lower it by 2 degrees. Shed a few layers, or cozy up with a blanket.
Water heating consumes about 90% of the energy needed to operate a washing machine.Source: https://www.hydroone.com/saving-money-and-energy/residential/tips-and-tools
And a final task, do your laundry with cold water. There are no excuses not to these days as there also many options for cold-water laundry detergents.
Thursday’s Eco-Challenge: let’s ditch the car
For Thursday’s challenge, I want you to try and ditch the car. A great place to start would be to rethink your commute to work. Here are some choices; ride your bike, carpool or rideshare, take public transit or if you have a flexible workplace, perhaps you can telecommute instead.
If you live in a more rural setting, ditching your car might be more difficult, however, If finding alternate commuting options to work is too challenging, perhaps you can be creative in ditching the car in another way. For example, I like to run errands during my lunch hour. Instead of driving around to get my errands done, I’ve committed to do them on foot when possible.
So, why should we ditch the car?
According to the Canadian government:
…air pollution continues to be one of Canada’s highest environmental priorities and challenges. Emissions from the more than 18 million passenger vehicles in Canada is a large contributor to air pollution, from Volatile Organic Compounds, Nitrogen Oxide and particulates contribute to smog and global warming.Source; https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/air-pollution/sources/transportation/cars-trucks-vans-suvs.html
Reducing our dependence on fossil fuels is probably one of the biggest impacts we can have on our planet.
Friday’s Eco-Challenge – You get to eat out today.
♫Everybody’s working for the weekend♫. Hooray, it’s Friday. We’ve worked hard all week, we need a break, so let’s eat out! But here’s your task: Let’s make sure that the restaurant we choose is a farm-to-table type of restaurant that serves locally sourced food.
Why would you want to do that?
Similar to yesterday’s ditch the car challenge, your food might come from far away. Shipping food long distances contribute to global warming, so choosing local foods helps reduce your impact on this planet.
To source out your restaurant, you’ll need to do your research first. If you can’t find a farm to table type of restaurant in your area ( or if it’s too pricey), you can still lessen your impact if you pick vegan and or organic options.
.Here are a few farm-to-table restaurants in Niagara. Although they are rather pricey, they are so worth the occasional treat:
- Treadwell, Niagara-on-the-Lake https://www.treadwellcuisine.com/
- AG, Niagara Falls https://www.agcuisine.com/
- Ravine Vineyard Restaurant https://ravinevineyard.com/farm-dining#!restaurant
- Trius Restaurant https://www.triuswines.com/trius-winery-restaurant.html
Saturday’s Eco-Challenge: This morning, the farmers’ market awaits
Get up bright and early, today! You are getting out of your comfort zone and are going drive downtown, struggle for parking, and visit the Downtown Farmer’s market to find local fruits and vegetables. While you are there, perhaps you’ll find a few sources of other local foods like honey or meats.
Here is a list of some of Niagara Farmers’ Markets in Niagara:
- Niagara Falls: City of Niagara Falls – Municipal Parking Lot 12, Saturdays, opens at 7:00 a.m.
- St. Catharines: 91 King St, St. Catharines Saturdays, opens at 6:00 a.m.
- Niagara-on-the-Lake: 111 Garrison Village Dr, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Sunday’s, opens at 8:00 a.m.
- Welland: 70 Young St, Welland, Saturdays, opens at 6:00 a.m.
Sunday’s Eco-Challenge, make it meatless
It’s finally Sunday and you are almost done the 1-week eco-challenge. Today’s challenge is to go meatless all day.
Why go meatless?
According to the David Suzuki foundation
Reducing meat consumption has similar environmental benefits regarding air, land and water protection, and it’s good for individual health, not to mention the pocketbook!
Need some inspiration on going meatless? Visit my Meatless Option board on Pinterest to get some ideas of what to cook for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Need a checklist?
You can always bookmark this page for reference, however, I created this handy 1-Week Eco-Challenge Checklist for you to download.
You are finally done! Congratulations on being eco-friendlier! I hope you learned a thing or two along the way, but don’t stop now. Keep learning about your impact on the environment and keep striving to lessen your footprint.
Did you get eco-friendly with this 1-week eco-challenge? Leave a comment below and tell me how you did, what your challenges were and if you think these are actions you can keep doing in the long term.
If you like this type of challenge, and you want to learn along with me, subscribe to my blog and you’ll be notified of new posts, DIY or challenges. Or you might be interested in reading about my zero-plastic experiment.
Fundy Region Solid Waste Facebook page