It’s hard to be sustainable at 7:00 in the morning, before you’ve had your morning coffee. From brewing convenient-but-wasteful coffee pods to letting the shower run at length while it warms up, it’s all too easy to cut corners in the name of getting out the door on time.
A few smart changes to your morning rituals can help reduce waste and conserve resources, while still setting you up for a good start!
1. Choose your coffee wisely.
Sometimes, the promise of coffee is all that gets me out of bed in the mornings. And over the years I’ve learned to make my coffee habit more sustainable by using a coffeemaker that has a thermal carafe, buying my grounds in bulk, and by bringing my travel mug even when I’m heading to the coffee shop. When you drink coffee every single day, like I do, these little changes can really add up to make a big difference.
2. Tea drinkers, take note.
If you prefer tea to coffee, there are ways that you too can enjoy it more sustainably. Choose teas that are hand-harvested, rather than machine-harvested, and that are organic and fair-trade certified. It’s best to choose loose teas (brew them in a teapot with a strainer, or buy a reusable tea infuser) because it produces less waste, and often means you’re getting higher-quality teas. If the convenience of tea bags is a must, search for biodegradable bags that don’t have metal staples in them.
3. Make breakfast in batches.
Grab and go breakfasts are so convenient, but not so great for the environment when they’re packed in disposable, single-serve packs, such as individual yogurt tubs or packets of instant oatmeal. Take a little time at the beginning of the week to cook up and portion out your own quick breakfasts, such as whole-grain muffins, homemade instant oatmeal in glass jars, or hard-boiled eggs. You’ll be grateful for the quick, zero-waste meal.
4. Stay near the shower.
It’s tempting to flip on the shower only wander off to pour your coffee or set out your clothes for the day while the water warms up. Instead of letting gallons of water needlessly pour down the drain, stay close so that you can hop into the shower the moment the water is warm. While you’re waiting, brush your teeth. (You can even stick your toothbrush under the showerhead to moisten it, or fill your water cup, to get water-conserving bonus points!) And while we’re on the subject, your shower’s probably too hot anyway: A cooler shower is actually better for your health, and it uses less energy.
5. Walk to work and school.
There are quite a few reasons why walking to work is beneficial. Most obviously, the physical exercise is beneficial. And studies show that kids who walk to school benefit with better alertness at school, less stress, and a more pleasant mood. When it comes to the environment, one less car on the road contributes to less traffic and a reduction in vehicle emissions.
By changing up your morning routine with some of these ideas, you’ll quickly find that you can get to work and school on time without sacrificing your eco-responsible habits.