Mert Bulan

Living environmentally friendly: Things that I do

| reading time: 4 mins

StadtRAD bike in a green place next to a river

I have been trying to live environmentally friendly for the last few years. Whenever I see an opportunity to decrease my negative impact on the environment, I use that opportunity. I thought that it would be a good idea to share the things that I do so more people can have a list of opportunities to reduce their environmental impact.

Energy

Using renewable energy

I use Greenpeace Energy (now they are called Green Planet) as my electricity provider. There are a lot of providers that are doing gree washing so please check this study (in German) before picking your provider.

Using energy efficient electronics

I try to use home appliances that have A-class energy certificates so I can make sure that they do the same thing with less energy.

Decreasing the temperature of the tankless water heater during summer

It doesn’t matter how much you turn the valve to the cold side while showering have lukewarm water, your water heater will use the same energy to warm up your water. During the summertime, since I don’t shower with hot water, I turn the temperature setting to the lowest. So when the heater gets triggered, it is going to use less energy.

Using Eco setting while washing my laundry

The Eco setting on my washing machine adds around 10 minutes to washing time but it reduces the water and electricity consumption.

Using a smart thermostat to reduce my heating consumption

Normally, during the wintertime, I was just leaving my radiators as it is until the summertime. That was a very inefficient way because it was constantly keeping the temperature at a certain level even though if I don’t use the room while working for example. I bought a pair of smart valves for my radiators, so they can keep the temperature when I use that room. For example, from 9 to 18, it keeps the living room warm, from 18 to 9, it keeps the sleeping room warm. In this way, I can save energy and money.

Water

Using tap aerator to reduce the water flow

This helps you to reduce the amount of water flow from the tap. It takes more time to fill a glass but if you wash your dishes with your hands, you spend less water.

Having two settings for toilet flush

It is getting more standard but probably old houses don’t have this. In this way, you can save so much water by just using the correct amount of water for your waste.

Using chemicals (cleaning products etc.) at home that harms less the environment

The chemicals that we use at home also harm the environment a lot. Some brands offer products that have a less environmental impact like Bio-Chem. They don’t test their products on animals, they don’t use harmful substances in their product so the waste water doesn’t contain harmful elements.

Transportation

Using bike or public transportation

I don’t even have a driver’s license and I am not planning to get one. Most of the time, I just use my bike no matter how the weather is. If you have good infrastructure in your city, it is an amazing way to commute and discover the beautiful places in your city.

Buying ebooks instead of physical books

If the book that I am going to buy is not about design or includes a lot of pictures, I prefer to buy the ebook version. In this way, the CO2 footprint and the environmental impact of the book would be zero. No printing, no shipping.

Food

Not eating meat

I am a vegetarian for more than a year and I feel so happy about it.

Buying Bio certificated groceries

This certificate makes sure that the product is organic, doesn’t harm the environment and animals as the other products. Whenever I see an alternative product that has a Bio certificate, I buy that one.

Throwing less food leftover

I use HelloFresh, it is a very practical way to plan and prepare your meals. You get one box every week that includes 6 dishes and all the items that you need. You use all of them and there would be almost no waste. They mostly use paper packaging, they get the products directly from the farmers, they also compensate the transportation of the box.

Buying items from the stores that offset the CO2 footprint of the shipping

Some e-commerce websites or delivery companies offset the CO2 footprint of the shipping of your box. If it is possible, I prefer to use those online stores. You can also just use SHOP Pay as your payment method if it is available since it is offsetting your purchase automatically.

Buying Products

Using products from the brands that think about the environment

There are many brands like Apple that think A LOT about their environmental impact. They use renewable energy and recycled aluminum in their products. I prefer to buy products when I need them from this kind of brand. I regular brands that I buy products and I check if they have a page on their website about the environment if the brand is new to me.

Buying glass if there is an alternative product to the plastic one

Most of the things that I buy from the supermarket are put in a plastic bag. I always check if there is an alternative product that uses glass packaging.

Buying vegan toothpaste and bamboo toothbrush

In this way, you throw less plastic and don’t harm animals to clean your teeth.

Buying recycled paper products

I buy recycled toilet paper, paper towels, and tissue. They don’t look fancy but they don’t need to.

Using a replaceable razor

For shaving, most people use single-use razors. I use a razor that I can change its razor. In this way, I would never need to buy a single-use razor. It is also cheaper.

Buying plastic package that is made of recycled plastic

For shampoo, soap, detergent, or the other products that I buy regularly, I prefer the brands that use recycled plastic in their packaging.

Buying clothes from the brands that have long-lasting products and sustainable business

Producing clothes use too much water, labor and if it is not high quality, you would need to throw it and buy a new one. I prefer a few brands when I decide to buy new clothes: UNIQLO, J.Crew, EVERLANE, New Balance. I stay away from the fast-fashion brands like H&M.

Drinking tap water instead of buying water in plastic bottles

In Germany, the quality of water is checked very often and the tap water is drinkable. I use tap water also for drinking and I don’t buy any plastic bottled water. If I go outside to meet with my friends, I bring my bottle in my backpack.

Buying soft drinks in glass

There is a soft drink brand called Fritz and they are only selling in glass bottles. I prefer to buy from them and avoid brands that harm the environment like Coca-Cola, Nestle, etc.

Using biodegradable washing sponge

There are plastic sponge alternatives that use the pure fibers of the loofah plant, like Blacklama. They are biodegradable and I prefer to buy them.

Recycling

I separate my trashes into paper, plastic and metal, bio, and the others.

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