4 Tips for Running Errands in a More Eco-Friendly Manner

We all have our long list of errands that include the post office, grocery store, pharmacy or the bank, to name a few. Driving around town, purchasing packaged items and buying from big box stores could have a significant impact on the environment. Here are four tips to run your errands in a more eco-friendly way.

Eco-Friendly Transportation

When re-evaluating how you run your errands, choosing an eco-friendly mode of transportation will have the biggest impact on reducing your environmental footprint. Walking to your local grocery store or biking to the nearby pharmacy will have the least impact. However, errands usually require you to travel beyond a 2-mile radius and a vehicle is often necessary.

Hybrid family vehicles, like the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica, allow you to go weeks without needing to refuel as long as you charge your Pacifica at home, emitting fewer carbon emissions and decreasing overall reliance on fossil fuels. Once you have your eco-friendly transportation, optimize your errand route to efficiently check tasks off your list while driving the least amount of miles.

Reusable Bags and Containers

If you live in California, the plastic bag ban has made bringing your own reusable bag when shopping second nature. However, an official ban isn’t required to motivate you to bring your own cloth, recycled thick plastic or natural fiber made reusable shopping bags. Take it one step further with reusable mesh produce bags for fruits and vegetables that avoid disposable plastic bags at the grocery store.

Avoid Excess Packaging

Excess plastic, paper and Styrofoam packaging is used to protect perishable and non-perishable items from damage during travel. Not only does packaging generate tons of waste that is discarded as litter, it drains natural resources such as water and oil, requires loads of energy and generates excess greenhouse gas emissions. Buying in bulk and purchasing local, are the most efficient ways to avoid packaging. Instead of purchasing rice, granola, nuts or any other dry perishables in pre-packaged plastic bags or boxes, bring your own reusable bag or container and load up from the bulk section of your local grocery store or farmer’s market. At times, it’s near impossible to avoid packaged items, so consider reaching for the recyclable or biodegradable packaging and avoid Styrofoam at all costs.

Buy Local When Possible

Not only does buying local invest in your region’s future, support neighborhood groups and non-profits and strengthen the economic base of your community, it also reduces your environmental impact. Locally owned businesses are more likely to purchase their goods from nearby producers, requiring less transportation, less energy keeping goods cold or frozen and potentially less packaging due to a shorter trip. According to an infographic by the Huffington Post, the U.S. transports and ships $2.2 trillion worth of products from over 150 countries per year using 11 billion gallons of fuel and emitting 1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide. Buying local supports a significantly more sustainable system from production to transportation. When grocery shopping, consider your local farmer’s market or choosing local products at the grocery store to support local farmers who tend to work hard to preserve their farm and open spaces and natural habitats surrounding them. Local farmers also tend to be better stewards of the land and take pride in their product, meaning you’ll be getting the best produce out there.

Thanks to Carol Trehearn

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