Imagine if one act of eco-consciousness could spur other behaviors that were good for the planet?
A city in California that decided to make a city-wide push to compost food scraps soon saw progress being made in other conservation areas. The study was led by Nicole Sintov, assistant professor of Ohio State University. And focused on how the act of keeping food waste out of landfills led to residents behaving in more eco-conscious ways.
This study is timely on many fronts. Climate change is now transforming and affecting the amount and quality of the food we produce. Thus, governments and policy makers are being called on to take measures that will promote a more eco-conscious way of being. As a result, actions and movements, such as a trend of women in agriculture, are showing themselves to have many unforeseen benefits to the community.
The “spillover” effect
Nicole Sintov desired to study a concept called “spillover.” It names a behavior that prompts a separate behavior, negative or positive. As a negative example of the spillover effect, one can refer to lifestyle inflation. When a person’s income level rises, and their consumption level and expenses rise as a spillover result.
In more positive examples, exercise is known to have a positive spillover effect. With those who exercise shown to receive secondary benefits, including:
- Enhancement of one’s mood toward a more positive viewpoint
- A decrease in stress
- Further awareness of other health-related behaviors
- A mindset more geared toward staying fit and healthy
In the study of 284 Costa Mesa residents in California, research showed that those who began to compost also started to conserve energy, too. For example, with more efforts toward energy saving and water conservation in their household use.
Sintov says why she feels this occurred, explaining that most humans want a consistent framework from which to behave. This framework provides us with our self-perception. Residents gained a behavior that helped them identify with those who are eco-conscious. And then it was easier for them to adopt other behaviors that conformed to that identity.
Using “spillover” behavior in an effective manner
Government and policy makers should take note how the spillover effect can spur communities. Often, when new resolutions or movements toward advancement in a certain area get off the ground, the fervor can die out after a time. This might happen for many reasons. Taking on too many initiatives could cause individuals to not fully adopt any one behavior. Or cause them to feel apathy in a certain direction. So instead of focusing on multiple actions, studies like this show the benefit to selecting one appropriate action that can go on to prompt others. Communities and individuals who are trying to make a whole slew of behavior changes in a certain direction could start with just one.
Eco-friendly behaviors that could lead to beneficial secondary behaviors
For those who are looking for eco-friendly behaviors to adopt in 2018, the Costa Mesa study can show you how to focus on your goals for next year. Pick one behavior that appeals to you and that is easy for you to adopt. And then as you begin to see yourself as a person who is eco-conscious, the other behaviors will be easier for you to incorporate.
Here are some accepted ways to reduce your footprint and consume less of the earth’s resources.
- Start composting food waste.
- Follow your city’s recycle guidelines.
- Make a conscious effort to walk to the supermarket. The secondary benefit of this one is that it not only helps the environment, but it also provides you with clear health benefits.
- Bring your own grocery bag to the store and shun the plastic bags.
- Turn off your HVAC when leaving the house in the morning.
- Use a thermostat to keep your house at an even temperature.
- Do loads of laundry once a week, when you know you will have a full load.
- Buy from local sellers. Aim to get your food and the products you use from those as close to you as possible. The more you shorten the distance between where your food came from and your kitchen table, the less energy it took for that product to get to you.
Can one small change in behavior lead to other changes for the better? Choose from any of these and then keep an eye out for the secondary behaviors that crop up as a result.
4 Common Items That Can be Reused Again and Again
As a society we are getting much better at taking our obligations to the world and environment around us more seriously. This is undoubtedly a good thing! The effects of climate change are beginning to manifest across the world, and this is turning the issue from an abstract threat into a very real danger. Trying to introduce some greener, more eco-friendly practices into your life isn’t just a great way of doing something beneficial for society and the world around you. It is a wonderful way of engaging positively with the world and carries with it numerous psychological benefits.
Being a greener, more ecologically friendly person doesn’t require any dramatic life changes. Breaking or making a few small habits is all it takes to make your life a greener one. In this article we look at one of the easiest, yet most effective green practices to get into: reusing everyday items.
Jars and Containers
Glass and metal are widely recycled, and recycling is a good thing! However, consider whether any containers you buy, whether it’s a tub of ice cream or a jar of coffee, can be washed out and reused for something else. Mason jars, for example, can be used to store homemade pasta sauce and can be washed for future use. Once you start thinking about it, you will find endless opportunities to reuse your old containers.
An ice-cold soda is a wonderful treat on a hot day, but buying soda can get expensive, and the manufacturing and distribution of the drinks themselves isn’t great for the environment. However, by holding on to your old soda bottles and repurposing them as water bottles, you can save money on drinks, or use them to measure out water for your garden.
Most of the time groceries come in paper bags, which are better for the environment than the plastic alternatives, but they are less durable and thus harder to reuse. Whenever the store places your items in a plastic bag, hang onto it so you can reuse the bags again. If you want to take it one step further, consider looking into buying some personalized recycled bags. These bags are designed to last for a long time and are made of recycled materials. They look striking and unique, they’ll turn heads, and maybe even attitudes!
If you’re a keen gardener, then you will already probably know how to reseed your plants in order to ensure a fresh crop after each plant’s lifecycle. If you have space in your garden, or haven’t yet tried your hand at gardening, then consider planting a small vegetable plot. Growing your own veggies means that you’ll be helping to cut back on the emissions generated by their transport and production. The best part about growing your own food in this way is that, by harvesting properly and saving the seeds, you can be set up with fresh vegetables for life!
Reusing and recycling common household items is an easy way to make your world a little bit greener. Once you start looking for these opportunities you’ll realize that they’re everywhere!
These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money
The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.
Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.
Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.
Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale
The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.
Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.
Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI
It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.
Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.
Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.
Implementing green changes without a plan
Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.
Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:
- How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
- How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
- How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
- How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?
The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.
Not considering the benefits of green printing
Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.
Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.
According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:
- They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
- They consume less energy than traditional printers.
- They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.
You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.
Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers
Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.
The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.
You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.
Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.