Canada’s transportation sector generated 217 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2019. A whopping 70% came from road transportation and, if you drive to work, you likely contributed a few tons yourself.
Greenhouse gases, which include carbon dioxide, pollute the environment, destroy human health and exacerbate the climate crisis. Luckily, there are a few effective — and super fun — ways to minimize your impact and make your commute more eco-friendly.
1. Choose Public Transportation
One of the perks of living in a big city is the public transportation system. In Toronto, you have three different modes to choose from — subway, streetcar and bus. These transit systems operate extensive routes through the metropolitan area and surrounding suburbs.
Day and week passes allow for unlimited rides, so taking mass transit will likely be cheaper and more eco-friendly if you have a long commute. Skip sitting in traffic and enjoy the ride by bringing a sketchbook, novel or brain game to help pass the time.
2. Hop On An E-Bike
If you’d rather avoid crowded subway stations, consider swapping your car for an electric bicycle. E-bikes use a battery-powered motor to increase speed and help you climb hills, but unlike your car, they’re completely carbon-free.
In fact, they don’t produce any emissions at all. Plus, they’ll help you save time and deliver a stellar cardio workout so you can avoid making an extra trip to the gym. A 15Ah e-bike can even reach a 70+ mile range, making them an ideal commuter option.
3. Carpool With Colleagues
Carpooling or ride-sharing is another excellent way to green your daily commute. This option helps reduce your personal carbon footprint by dividing it among everyone inside the vehicle. It also minimizes traffic for everyone else on the road so there’s less idling and fewer emissions.
Make travelling by car count by riding with several colleagues who share the same schedule and live nearby. Take turns driving and ride together several times a week to make an even bigger impact.
4. Roll The Windows Down
Did you know that hot weather can increase your fuel economy? Warm air boosts aerodynamics and heats your engine quicker, which can maximize your ride and save energy. Unfortunately, many drivers offset these benefits by cranking up the air conditioning, which can reduce fuel economy by more than 25% on short tips.
Save money and gas by rolling the windows down instead. While this can create drag on the highway, it’s a more efficient solution when driving at slower speeds.
5. Listen & Learn On The Go
Whether you’re riding an e-bike, taking the train or commuting by car, you can make more sustainable choices by listening to a podcast or audiobook on the go. Tune into ones that cover topics like recycling, carbon emissions and climate change to receive helpful tips and advice for going green. Some even feature interviews with climate scientists and sustainability experts so you know you’re getting the most current and relevant information possible.
Listen on Spotify, Apple Music or Wondery and subscribe to receive notifications about new episodes.
6. Sip From A Reusable Mug
Do you like to stop at the local coffee shop before heading to work? Maybe you treat yourself on the way home, instead. Either way, all those reusable cups add up, and most use lids and liners that aren’t recyclable. Make your commute — and your morning cup of joe — more eco-friendly by bringing a reusable mug from home. Ditch the single-use stuff and choose a travel cup that’s triple-insulated so you don’t have to use extra energy to reheat it later.
7. Make A Quick Recycling Drop
Canadians produce 3.3 million tons of plastic waste per year, 86% of which end up in landfills. Just 9% ends up in a recycling facility. There’s plenty of room for improvement, and you can do your part by making a quick recycling drop on your way to work. Depending on how much rubbish your family generates, you can stop every other day or once per week to maximize your drive, conserve resources and reduce waste.
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