When working and eating from home, it’s easy to fall into bad habits when it comes to our diet, waste management and exercise routines. When we’re at home all day, we’re predisposed to a sedentary lifestyle and it’s important to take steps to overcome this to stay healthy, active and happy for those of us working from home. And while it’s easy to fall into bad habits, it’s just as easy to flip the script and take control of your environment and how you engage with it! There are some simple and easy ways to practice sustainability while working, eating and living at home. Doing even just a few of the suggestions from this article will help you develop a more sustainable and healthy lifestyle while working remotely. Let’s hear some of these suggestions from top business leaders on how to start practicing sustainability at home.
Cut Down on Emissions
Working from home means you’ll already be cutting down on your vehicle emissions by cutting your commute out of the equation. From there, you can cut down even further by relying on other forms of transportation. “Working from home means you are cutting down on vehicle pollution by eliminating your commute. When you do need to leave to run errands or to go out, consider relying on public transportation, ride sharing or biking to even further reduce your environmental impact,” said Lisa Odenweller, CEO and Founder of Kroma.
For some of us, this may not be a practical solution. For families, a reliable vehicle may be necessary. But that doesn’t mean you can’t cut down on emissions! “If a vehicle is necessary, consider pairing down for a smaller, more fuel efficient vehicle. For those looking for a reliable car that reduces emissions, look into several of the booming electric car companies like Tesla or Rivien,” said Jonathan Barkl, CEO of Air Garage.
Support Local Businesses
Another great way to be sustainable in a remote working position is to always shop locally! “Support local businesses and farmers’ markets. Most communities offer farmers’ markets these days, and they’re a great way to get seasonal produce and other healthy fare,” said Bill Glaser, CEO of Outstanding Foods. “This will help ensure that you’re eating a healthy diet when working from home. Also, use natural lighting when you can. During the day, working in a sunny area of your house or even outside can save electricity. Turn off your printers and any extra monitors and other equipment when you’re not using them.” This is especially important if you’re home all day and likely using more electricity than you would otherwise. Shopping locally gives your electric bill a little break and gets you the freshest ingredients to cook at home!
You’ll also be able to enjoy the satisfactions of stimulating the local economy and strengthening your community. “Shopping locally will often save you time and money. If you have a local market that you can walk to, that’s a great way to get some exercise and support your local economy,” said Blake Murray of Divvy Homes.
Recycle, Compost and Gardening!
If you don’t already recycle, it’s certainly time to start! Along with recycling every home should be equipped with a compost bin to dispose of organic waste and vegetables. “Being at home means you can pay closer attention to the waste your home creates and how to cut down. Use a compost bin for all of your vegetable and organic waste, this is a great way to bring down the level of waste that piles up in your garbage can and ultimately goes to the landfill. Compost can also be recycled and used to plant your own food and garden if you have the space for it!” said Gabrielle Mustapich Co-CEO of Hardpops.
This advice is perfectly dovetailed by William Schumacher, Founder and CEO of Uprising Foods. “One of my favorite ways to be sustainable at home is growing my own vegetables! Even with a little bit of extra space you can grow simple herbs and vegetables like basil, tomatoes and rosemary. These will not only save you money but give you something to take care of throughout your days working at home!” Growing your own vegetables using your own compost creates a full circle of sustainability in your home.
Use Less Energy
Being at home means that while you might be using more electricity in some rooms, you can control your usage by paying close attention to what rooms you’re actually using. Plus, you can regulate the temperature so you aren’t running cooling or heating systems during the day. “While at home, you can pay closer attention to your energy usage. This can help cut down your bills and lower your impact by turning lights off and regulating the temperature when it’s warm to not use air conditioning units,” said Ari Sherman, Co-Founder of evo hemp. You can also look into energy efficient light bulbs and devices that don’t draw as much power.
We should also pay close attention to how we dispose of things like electronics. These items take up space and are difficult, toxic even, to break down. “Whenever possible, you should donate used items like furniture and electronics. These items are difficult to break down, and can often be easily recycled into new products,” said Charlie McKenna, Chef & Founder of Lillie’s Q.
The best way to decrease the amount of energy we draw is by making sure we unplug and turn off our devices when we aren’t using them. “When working from home, make sure that you are unplugging your laptops and lamps/workstations at the end of the day. This conserves energy and keeps bills at a minimum. When eating, try to cook from home as much as possible. It is tempting to order from your phone, but it is more sustainable to eat and cook what you have instead of ordering out,” said Brandon Adcock, Co-Founder and CEO of Nugenix.
Cook at Home
Cooking at home is one of the biggest ways we can be sustainable and take care of our bodies while working from home. The fact is that most of us find cooking to be a chore, and will often fall back on takeout, eating out or frozen meals that just don’t give us the nutrition we need. “Anyone working from home knows how tempting it can be to forgo cooking for oneself and just order takeout instead. This is not a great habit for a few reasons, mainly because of cost and health concerns,” said Danielle Calabrese, COO of De La Calle. “Take out food is generally less healthy and more fatty which doesn’t give your body the nutrients it needs to stay strong. Cut down eating take out and delivery and get into the habit of cooking every meal for yourself! You’ll find that you will feel healthier and have more energy throughout the day, which is important when staying in one place all the time.” Mass food production is one of the biggest environmental impacts we can take action on in our daily lives. Cooking from home teaches us to be self-reliant and helps our body crave the nutrients it needs rather than fats and carbs that might fill us up, but suck our energy later.
Starting sustainable habits is easy, but retaining them can be difficult. If you are trying to practice sustainable habits and feel like you’re falling short, take a step back and remember that habits are built up over time! Start small. Start with something you know you can get in the habit of easily. One of the easiest ways to get started is by starting a compost bin. It will take a little getting used to, but after a few weeks it will feel natural to throw your egg shells, coffee grounds and vegetable waste into the compost bin rather than in the trash. Compost gets reused to plant new life, and it’s an easy way to cut down on your waste. You can also start to shop locally and organically, cutting down on supermarket waste and supporting local farmers to grow and sell fresh produce.
Practicing sustainability is about playing a small part in the bigger picture of taking care of both ourselves, and the planet we inhabit. Try implementing some of these sustainable practices into your work from home routine today!