By Rachel Grubbe
On a typical day most of us wake up, take a shower, have a cup of coffee, then hop in our car and head to work. It seems like an incredibly harmless routine. The truth is, many of the simple things we do everyday have a harmful impact on our environment. But don’t worry! You don't have to throw out your entire morning routine, you just have to make some adjustments.
Be honest, how long are your morning showers? I get it, I really do. Nothing better than a hot shower, especially on a chilly winter morning. I’m sure I am not the first person who has said that long hot showers are a serious conservation no-no. Even as a grown adult I can still hear my dad’s voice shouting, “Hurry up, you are wasting water!” Turns out he was right. A standard shower runs 2.5 gallons of water every minute. The reality is we all let 2.5 gallons of water go down the drain before we even get in! That is some serious habitual water waste. Unfortunately, wasting water isn’t even half of the problem. It takes an immense amount of energy to heat the water for your shower. In an average American home, the water heater works hardest for the shower. So, at this point I have convinced you not to shower, right? Do not quit showering, that’s gross. But there are some things you can do!
Get a new shower head: Your shower head is probably spitting out way more water than you need. Look for an EPA-certified shower head to cut back on water waste.
Turn the heat down: Give your water heater a break. Don’t crank the hot water all the way up.
Get out of the shower: Has it been 10 minutes? 15 minutes? Okay you are done, you are clean. Get out.
Okay now that you are squeaky clean, it’s time for that morning cup of coffee. People are drinking more coffee than ever, we are busy and tired we need our coffee. Basic economics would tell you that an increase in demand for coffee leads to an increase in production of coffee. So how is the coffee industry doing that? Through the process of deforestation, water contamination, and damaging soil quality. So, none of that is great. And now that you spent so much time in the shower you have to take your coffee to go. 16 billion disposable coffee cups are used every year. That 6.5 million trees! Alright coffee lovers, here is what you have to do.
Buy sustainably sourced coffee: Look for shade grown-coffee. This growing technique has been found to be more environmentally friendly.
Use a reusable coffee mug: Buy one, use it forever. Plus, reusable travel mugs will keep your coffee hot.
Drink less coffee: Easy or not, drinking less coffee will help protect our planet.
Is your commute harming the earth? Probably. There are 230 million cars on the road in the U.S. and not everyone is driving a Tesla. Car pollution is a top contributor to global warming. Vehicle emissions in the U.S. make up one-fifth of all warming pollution. Driving impacts more than the air, it also causes harm to the water and soil! Runoff from the roads ends up in our streams, impacting our water and soil quality. ALSO, people are more likely to litter while in a car. I don’t know if you have heard, but us at KBB really hates littering. Help the earth out and drive less.
Share your commute: Catch a ride to work with a coworker. Saves on gas and money.
Walk or ride a bike: Not going too far? No one said you have to commute in your car.
Drive an environmentally friendly car: Next time you are in the market for a vehicle, opt for something smaller, or maybe even a hybrid car.
It is always important to consider how our actions are impacting the environment. Adjust some of your daily habits to protect our planet.