Keeping track renews habits
Keeping track renews habits
We do better and accomplish more when we can measure our progress. In fact, you will be up to 95% more likely to reach your goals if you not only count out your successes and failures, but also have others checking in on your record. This can be a great motivation, but with complex and potentially nebulous goals like reducing our impact and wasting less, it can be hard to see what makes for effective and achievable metrics to track. Even with all of our sustainability knowledge and our experience of working every day to close the loop in apparel manufacturing, it is never a straightforward process. That is why we keep it simple and track what we know and what makes sense. If you want to build up the habit of staying renewed, start out by tracking some of these simple metrics.
Monthly energy use
It may seem obvious that your electricity use should be easy to track. After all, most of us can just look a statement from our utility and watch as it spikes during the peak of the summer (and peak of the winter for electric heating). But that raw, and possibly misleading number makes it the perfect metric to track as you experiment with different behavior patterns. The utility acts as a sort of accountability factor, because you can’t really cheat to fudge the numbers, so it will mostly go up or down based on the real changes you make to your behavior. Experiment with using more natural light and fewer appliances. See what works, what sort of barriers might come into play for changing other habits, and where opportunities to change your behavior might present themselves. If you can, find out how much electricity it takes to power your favorite guilty pleasure. If you love binge watching the exploits of Mrs. Maisel, and you can find that it takes <> to run your tv and streaming device for each marvelous hour long episode and you'll enjoy it that much more each time you can shave that off your monthly metering.
Water for shower, dish, clothes
Water takes a bit more work to track up front, but your individual interactions with water often use discreet and therefore countable amounts. Find out how much water your dishwasher or clothes washer uses in a cycle. Then simply tally up how many loads you run in a month and compare over time. You could also time your showers and see how many minutes per month you are spending under that relaxing warm water. Because there are fewer physical points at which you are interfacing with water, it may be an easier starting point for tracking use and impact: You will go to the same tap or appliance every time, so it can give you the space to think about what you do with the object to be cleaned (or yourself) before and after washing to change how often that needs to occur.
Weigh waste, recycle
Waste is one of the more visible indicators of how we can change our behaviors to reduce our impact. When we throw out a bag of trash at the end of the day, we face the reality of a messy, inefficient mass of stuff that we couldn’t figure out new purposes for. Of course, some objects and scraps are certainly more ready to be retired than others, but it does give us a quick gut check of how much we are sending off to be someone else’s problem. You could keep track by determining the volume of your trash bins or bags and counting how many bags go out each month. Or you can get your hands a bit more dirty and weigh the outgoing et cetera of your loved with a fish or hanging scale. Not only will you know how much is going. but you will develop a closer relationship with the items that you choose to use every day.
We’ve all got somewhere to be, and the route to that place can be measured. That means, with a little digging, that you can calculate and record how much energy is used per trip, whether by car, transit or human power. Keep a log going, and consider comparing it with family, friends or colleagues that have similar distances to go each week. If you can find out the level of emissions that accompany each mode of transit, you can try different ways of getting around and compare how little changes in your choice of mobility can translate into big changes for your impact. If you want to get really fancy, think about all of the items that are delivered to your home or office and try to sketch out the energy usage and impact for those too. The stuff may be almost magically arriving at your door, but you ordered it, so you can consider it a part of your overall impact.
What comes in, what goes out
As you may have noticed, we are really keen on closing the loop around here. In fact, a major focus of the Renewable Life is to