Milwaukee has been making waves recently in national best lists: first a local company snagged a coveted top-ten position among Fortune’s famous “Best Companies to Work For,” and then Milwaukee was named one of the “Best Cities for Women in Tech in 2017.” And now, just in time for Earth Day (Saturday, April 22), a study by GE Lighting ranked Milwaukee the eighth best city for LED-bulb usage.
Per GE Lighting, 29.3 percent of Milwaukeeans have purchased at least one LED bulb in the last year. Though this seems low, nationally less than 20 percent of U.S. light sockets contain LEDs, placing Milwaukee far ahead of the curve.
This is no small matter. LED bulbs are 70 to 90 percent more efficient than regular light bulbs and thus can have a positive impact on the environment. If Milwaukee upped its LED usage to 100 percent and the rest of the country followed suit, we could eliminate over seven billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions and also save millions in energy costs. Switching to LED bulbs is personally cost-effective as well. Most LED bulbs are $5 or less, and, per GE lighting, changing just one traditional bulb to LED could save almost $130 over the course of the bulb’s life.
As Earth Day grows near, here are a few other simple and cost-effective things to do to minimize your carbon footprint:
Bring reusable bags to the grocery store
Not only are you reducing the number of plastic bags that end up in landfills by bringing your own bag, but most grocery stores will reward you through a small discount.
Switch to cloth napkins
Switching from paper to cloth napkins will save you money, reduce your trash output and make every meal a little fancier.
By shopping at local thrift shops like Retique and RePurpose, you can help reduce the greenhouse gas emissions required to make new clothes and furniture and save money in the process.
Unplug unused devices
Even when they’re not in use, plugged-in appliances and electronic devices use electricity. As electricity is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, unplugging will help the environment and reduce your energy bill.
Host a yard sale
We’re on the brink of spring, and everyone knows what that means – spring cleaning. Instead of throwing stuff away this year, host a yard sale where you can recycle your things and maybe make a few bucks.
Buying locally grown food can help support local farmland and reduce greenhouse gas emissions produced by transporting unseasonal foods to Milwaukee. With summer on the way, farmer’s markets will soon pop up all around town, selling locally grown produce at low prices.
Hop on public transportation (or a bike)
Even using Milwaukee’s bus system, walking or taking a bike to work one day a week can make a difference in Milwaukee’s greenhouse gas emissions. You might even see unexpected parts of the city in the process.