Easy Ways to Save the Planet
How to take saving the Earth into your own hands
Safe Disposal of Batteries, Prescriptions, Paint, and More
What to do with that giant pile of trash and recycling that you've painstakingly purged from your home? The city offers a huge searchable database for proper disposal, and most items are remarkably easy. There's also free paint for the taking – Austin ReBlend, a 100% post-consumer, reblended flat paint made from paint collected at the Recycle & Reuse Drop-Off Center (it comes in three colors: Barton Creek Greenbelt, Texas Limestone, and Balcones Canyonland). Need another reason to blow your paycheck at Target? They've got drop-off bins for batteries and more. Ink cartridges are another big waste item, and local biz Rick's Refills offers a solution that will save your office some dollars.
Save Water in the Bathroom
If you're mellow, leave the yellow. Yes, it's kind of gross, but flushing the toilet makes up about 24% of American water usage, and our drought-prone region needs to prioritize drinking water conservation. Other positive efforts include opting for a high functioning, low water usage toilet, checking for leaks, and updating faucets. The City of Austin offers free showerheads for improved efficiency.
Fight With your Fork
One of the biggest impacts on the environment comes from our food choices. Reducing meat consumption not only improves health, but it reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Organic food reduces chemicals, and has become more affordable recently with brands like H-E-B offering organic lines. Cutting food waste is just as important, so try meal planning. Buying local produce reduces fossil fuel usage and contributes to more efficient farming. AISD is now using Johnson's Backyard Garden for their salad bars.
Birds and Bees
Pollinators are responsible for 75% of food plants. Our region is in a migratory path for several species, and small, affordable efforts like planting native milkweed in your yard makes a big difference. Several bee gurus around town offer beekeeping classes, and Two Hives will even set up shop and maintain a micro-apiary hive for you.
The city offers a $75 rebate for building a home compost system program, and local composting gurus Compost Pedallers offer bike-powered pickup services in a continuously expanding region. Plus, downsizing your trash can save on your utility bill.
You can dramatically reduce your carbon footprint by riding the bus, carpooling, biking, or working remotely even as little as one day per week.
Turn off Your Lights and Electronics
Choose efficient lightbulbs and turn off the lights when you leave the room. Not only does this conserve energy, lighting makes up about 15% of the electric bill, and every penny saved is a good thing.
Opt Out of Junk Mail
Save the trees and organize your mailbox! Nonprofit Catalog Choice assists the process of reducing wasted paper by canceling snail mail versions of your mail and account information.
Oils Before Chems
Try replacing your household cleaners, cosmetics, and yard sprays (weed killer and pesticides in particular) with essential oil-based products. Don't want to make your own? Several commercial brands are available, and they're nominally more expensive.
Grocer In.gredients locally premiered the concept of zero-waste grocery. Bring your own bags, jars, and other reusable containers to stock up on your favorite edible goods. (Grab a sandwich and a beer while you're there.)
Get Yer Goat
Goats will eat just about anything, but they really love decimating a grass lawn. Use that to your favor by hiring goat "mowing" services.