A woman tends to a flower garden

Greener Living: Bellmont Partners’ Top Five Sustainability Tips of 2022

The Bell­mont Part­ners Sus­tain­abil­i­ty Com­mit­tee aims to reduce the waste asso­ci­at­ed with run­ning our busi­ness and improve the world around us, as well as edu­cate, encour­age and empow­er employ­ees on var­i­ous envi­ron­ment-relat­ed top­ics and activ­i­ties. At our month­ly staff meet­ings, we offer sus­tain­abil­i­ty tips for our team to use both at the office and in their dai­ly lives.

1. Use cold water when you wash clothes. When you can, wash your clothes in cold water. Your wash­ing machine’s ener­gy con­sump­tion comes almost exclu­sive­ly from heat­ing the water. It can also extend the life of your clothes. But make sure to check the label before wash­ing. Check out more infor­ma­tion from GE Appli­ances.

2. Do not put your recy­clables in plas­tic bags or put any loose plas­tic bags in your recy­cling bin. Plas­tic bags get caught in the sort­ing equip­ment at recy­cling facil­i­ties, caus­ing dam­age and safe­ty issues. If you are set on using a recy­cling bin lin­er, there are options for non-plas­tic bags:

  • Use a paper gro­cery bag
  • For taller con­tain­ers, you can use paper leaf and lawn col­lec­tion bags
  • If you want some­thing to pro­tect from liq­uids, you can use a plas­tic bag lin­er, but emp­ty the plas­tic bag into your recy­cling col­lec­tion bin and re-use the plas­tic bag until you can’t (and then throw it in the trash).

For any extra plas­tic bags you need to get rid of, there are many places that col­lect plas­tic bags so you don’t have to throw them in the trash. PlasticFilmRecycling.org can help you find the clos­est drop-off site to your house. The results are often gro­cery stores, Tar­get stores and even local libraries, along with coun­ty-run drop-off sites.

3. Keep your food as fresh as pos­si­ble to reduce food waste. Improp­er­ly stor­ing fruits and veg­eta­bles can ripen them pre­ma­ture­ly, caus­ing them to spoil before being eat­en. For exam­ple: pota­toes, toma­toes, gar­lic, cucum­bers and onions should be kept at room tem­per­a­ture and nev­er refrigerated.

Accord­ing to the Unit­ed States Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture, an esti­mat­ed 30–40% of food is wast­ed at the retail and con­sumer lev­el. UC- San Diego has a good graph­ic about eth­yl­ene and food stor­age from the Uni­ver­si­ty of San Diego School of Med­i­cine Cen­ter for Com­mu­ni­ty Health.

4. Be a bat­tery hero. Put bat­ter­ies in their place. Bat­ter­ies thrown in the trash or recy­cling can get punc­tured or crushed and cause fires at waste facil­i­ties. To find a drop-off loca­tion, visit:
co.washington.mn.us/batteries | hennepin.us/batteryrecycling | ramseycounty.us/HHW.

5. Unsub­scribe from pro­mo­tion­al emails. This will reduce oppor­tu­ni­ties for mind­less con­sump­tion and temp­ta­tions to buy items when they’re not need­ed. Your inbox – and your wal­let – will thank you.

There are many ways to cre­ate a sus­tain­able and envi­ron­men­tal­ly friend­ly work­place, and all voic­es are wel­come at the table. It’s impor­tant to remem­ber that you don’t have to be per­fect when it comes to green liv­ing. But small efforts can add up to make a big impact. Keep doing the small things.

Do you have a great sus­tain­abil­i­ty tip? Share it with us at johanna@bellmontpartners.com.

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