Taking care of our planet is important and we can contribute in many ways — both big and small— that also benefit our own health and well-being. Try some of these tips for healthy people and a healthy planet.
Take time to unplug … and plug in
Unplugging is important for both electronics and for humans.
- Unplugging chargers and small electronics from the wall socket when they are not in use can save energy. For people, disconnecting from our ever-present devices and getting out in the fresh air can help us to refuel.
- Consider plugging in. An electric or hybrid car can significantly reduce fossil fuel consumption and air pollution. There are more than 300 electric-vehicle charging stations available at Kaiser Permanente facilities, with more planned.
A great way to eat more sustainably is to visit your nearby farmers market to seek out small, local farmers who use fewer synthetic chemicals to grow food.
- Visit one of the more than 50 Kaiser Permanente-hosted farmers markets, where you can ask farmers about their growing practices before you buy your food. Or visit the United States Department of Agriculture to find your closest market.
- Eat more plant-based meals to have a positive impact on your health and the environment. Processed, packaged foods require more resources to produce and can contain added unhealthy ingredients, such as trans fats and salt.
- Try “meatless Mondays.” Meat production is resource intensive, often including the use of antibiotics on animals and contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and chemical pollution.
Your commute and short trips can be an opportunity to get outdoors and add physical activity to your day.
- Leave the car at home. Whether you walk, jog, ride a bike, skip or turn cartwheels, finding alternatives for short trips can help you to be more active and reduce pollution in your community.
- Use public transportation. People who take public transportation are more likely to walk 10,000 steps a day than car commuters. And walking the recommended 150 minutes per week happens quickly if you include 15 to 20 minutes each way getting to and from work.
Hydrate and landscape responsibly
Water is an important and precious resource.
- Drink plenty of water, but avoid single-use plastic bottles to save money and reduce plastic waste.
- Save water — and save on your water bill — by regularly checking for and fixing leaks, as well as being conscientious in your water use. Taking shorter showers and waiting to run washing machines or dishwashers until they are full can save gallons of water each time.
- Choose native plants for landscaping to save both water and energy.
There are several ways to reduce exposure to toxic chemicals.
- Make your own household cleaners — white vinegar and baking soda are non-toxic and work on almost everything.
- Choose healthier products, including soaps, lotions and other personal care products without synthetic chemicals or fragrances.
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
One of the best ways to reduce waste is to avoid producing it in the first place.
- Where possible, consider buying durable and reusable products and limiting purchases of goods that are less necessary.
- When you do consume, recycle more. Increasing numbers of communities have curbside pick-ups for compost and plant waste, so food scraps and garden clippings don’t have to go to a landfill.
- Be sure not to flush unused or expired medications down the drain. Wastewater treatment plants are generally not designed to treat pharmaceutical waste. Learn about the FDA’s guidelines on proper drug disposal or search out drug take-back programs in your community.
- When you have household hazardous waste such as batteries, make sure to dispose of it properly to avoid contaminating the soil or water in your community.
Learn more about Kaiser Permanente’s efforts to protect the environment and the health of communities, as well as additional tips for your home.