PC: Adeline Kim

July is the time of air conditioning and long days at the beach. People all over the country are escaping on their summer holidays in a desperate attempt to beat the heat and embrace periods of luxury far from work, school, or home. But what people don’t often recognize is that as the weather ramps up, so does their energy usage and impact on the environment. Here are four ways you can go green and save the environment this summer.

Be efficient in the laundry room.

Not only will small changes in your laundry routine  save money, but they will also save energy and protect vital water resources. About 90% of a washing machine’s energy consumption comes from heating the water, but not all laundry needs to be washed in hot, or even warm water. Be selective about which clothes need to be washed in heated water, and wash the rest in colder temperatures. In addition,  fill the washer up to its capacity each time it is used, as more energy is needed for two smaller loads. Afterwards, take advantage of the long sunny days and ditch the dryer! To save on both energy and your electricity bill, hang your clothes to dry outside or by a window.

 Stay hydrated with a reusable water bottle.

Plastic waste is a great concern in today’s world, yet people still end up purchasing far too many disposable bottles, especially in the summer.  In 2016, around 480 billion plastic bottles were purchased globally. Because of the world’s heightened desire for bottled beverages, especially in economically growing Asian countries, experts believe that this figure will increase about 20% by 2021. And in the U.S, less than a quarter of these plastic bottles are recycled, meaning that the rest contributes to increased pollution and landfill waste. As well as environmental risks, one-time-use bottled water comes with health risks for those who drink from them. Plastic bottles contain Bisphenol A (BPA), which is linked with cases of cancer and different hormonal concerns. This July, consider investing in a reusable water bottle to keep yourself hydrated and to avoid the costly bottles of water you may end up buying.

Take public transportation.

Take advantage of Seoul’s public transportation system and take the bus or subway to your next destination! Using public transport will help you lower your carbon footprint and reduce transportation-related emissions. This option is much more affordable than driving and stays consistent every day, meaning you will commute according to your public transportation schedule, making your travels significantly less stressful. Furthermore, these public transit options promotes more efficient traffic flow for all vehicles on the road, which reduces the fuel waste and emissions from traffic jams. If your commute is relatively short, consider a walk or a bike ride. They don’t require the use of fossil fuels or electricity, and are also free most of the time. In Seoul, rows of green and white bicycles line the sidewalks and subway station exits. To have a ride on one of these bikes, all you need to do is go online and pay with a credit card!

Buy your groceries wisely.

In order to avoid food waste, try to refrain from impulse purchases on the spot.  Additionally, think again before buying meat-based products. Livestock production is responsible for a significant percentage of global greenhouse gas emissions, as farming livestock (especially cows) require lots of land. While many people believe that meat is an necessary part of their diets, someone can be entirely healthy without consuming a single piece of meat. So, with this in mind, you may want to rethink your future grocery lists! Always remember to bring your shopping list and reusable bag(s).

 

It’s incredible how small changes in your lifestyle can impact your carbon footprint and energy efficiency in considerable ways. Whether you simply deciding to take the subway to work one day or vow not to buy any more plastic bottles, you will make a difference. With these four simple objectives, you can be the change our planet needs and start saving the environment!

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