A Dozen Simple Steps to Live More Sustainably

By ecoRI News staff

To celebrate Earth Week — Earth Day was April 22 — the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and Keep Blackstone Valley Beautiful encouraged residents to be mindful of taking small but purposeful steps to live more sustainably.

“Keep Blackstone Valley Beautiful believes that each of us holds an obligation to preserve and protect our environment,” said Donna Kaehler, director of Keep Blackstone Valley Beautiful, the Pawtucket-based affiliate of Keep America Beautiful. “Through our everyday choices and actions, we collectively have a huge impact on our world. It’s really a simple concept, but one with far-reaching effects.”

Here are their 12 “simple steps to live more sustainably”:

Eat local. Rhode Island has a vibrant food community with plenty of options for locally sourced ingredients. Patronize restaurants that use local ingredients. 

Drive less and be mindful of your driving style. Carpool, walk, or bike to lower emissions and relieve road congestion. Planning trips to conduct errands in a common area can reduce miles traveled. When driving, observe the speed limit and avoid unnecessary acceleration. You’ll reduce emissions and save money on gas.

Conserve energy in your home. As old bulbs and appliances reach the end of their useful life, replace incandescent bulbs with LEDs and replace old appliances with energy-efficient ones. Avoid “energy vampires” by unplugging devices when they’re not being used or use power strips with on/off switches. Program your thermostat so that your heating and cooling systems use less energy when you’re not home.

Think about your water usage. Modern high-efficiency washing machines and laundry detergents are formulated to be just as effective when using cold water as hot water. Using cold water can lead to significant energy savings. Also, you can lower the hot water temperature on your water heater for additional savings.

Dry your clothes on a clothesline. Line-drying your clothes saves energy and wear-and-tear on your dryer. If you can’t line-dry your clothes, consider using a lower heat setting or shorter drying cycles on your dryer to conserve energy.

Use reusable bag, mugs, and bottles. Eliminating single-use plastics saves energy, reduces unsightly litter, and protects marine life. Skip the single-use straw.

Don’t let trash fly. Always bag trash. Use covers on your trash bins and close the doors and lids on dumpsters. Be sure trash is properly contained in open areas on trucks, boats, and other moving vehicles.

Pick up litter. Next time you’re outdoors, take a few minutes to pick up any litter that may have accumulated on or near your property and along the roadway.

Join a community cleanup. Help beautify local neighborhoods and recreation areas by getting involved in a community cleanup project.

Buy renewable energy. In Rhode Island, you have the option to buy your energy from a renewable/non-fossil-fuel source. Choose a supplier that exceeds state renewable-energy standards from the list provided by the Public Utilities Commission or go through the Green Energy Consumers Alliance.

Raise your environmental IQ. Explore easy ways you can contribute to a healthier planet: conserve water and energy, reduce waste, and support local farms and conservation efforts.

Get outside. Enjoy the environment and natural resources by visiting a state park, campground, or management area. Rhode Island is home to more than 400 miles of hiking trails and abundant fresh and saltwater paddling opportunities.