Living “green” and making mindful decisions about how our daily choices impact the earth – these ideas have taken root in the Cayman Islands over the last decade.
With Earth Day only a week away, we’ve already begun to think of ways we can expand our sustainable business practices at Dart Real Estate and encourage an ecological approach to living in Grand Cayman. Whether you own a condo along Seven Mile Beach or work in one of the sought after office spaces at Camana Bay, you can feel good knowing you are doing your part to look after this planet we call home.
Here are 15 suggestions for you to practice at home or the office this Earth Day, 22 April:
1| Educate Yourself: Watch a documentary like ‘Planet Earth’ or read a book such as ‘Plastic Purge’ to re-inspire an appreciation of the earth. Learn more about how long packaging takes to breakdown at the landfill so you can make smarter choices.
2| Say No to Plastic for One Day: For an entire day, eat your meals on a real plate and your beverages from a glass without a straw. Bring a to-go container for leftovers and ask your barista to serve your coffee in a mug you’ve brought from home.
3| Buy a Reusable Water Bottle: Skip the individual plastic water bottles and purchase an insulated water bottle. Fill it up before you leave home and, if need be, refill at the Camana Bay water bottle filling stations. At home, sign up for a water cooler delivery service to further support your effort.
4| Plant a Tree: Over 600 species of trees and plants adorn Camana Bay. Not only do they aesthetically enhance the Town Centre, but they provide shade, attract birds and other wildlife and improve air quality for all. Speak to your preferred plant nursery about the best plant for your yard or home; consider an herb container or a vertical garden for small porches.
5| Support Local Farmers: Buying locally-produced food not only sustains the livelihood of farmers but also reduces your carbon footprint because you’ve opted for a product that was not imported, which encompasses bulk packaging, air pollution from air or freight shipping and the overhead costs of shelving store-bought food. Plus, you’ll know your food was grown with love and care.
6| Bike to Work or Carpool: Choose one day each week to bike to work or carpool with a friend or co-worker. If you work at Camana Bay, you can also sign up to participate in a bike sharing programme at no cost to you.
7| Volunteer for the Earth Day Clean-Up: Every year, the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce organises an island-wide beach and roadside clean-up for Earth Day. Do your part to maintain the beauty of the Cayman Islands by signing up to participate in this year’s event, Saturday 21 April.
8| Unplug for a Day: On Earth Day, decide to “unplug” for the day, only using appliances and electronics that are absolutely necessary. Play a board game instead of watching the television, cook your hot meals on a barbecue grill and fill your time by going for a walk, cleaning out your closet and considering other ways to live more sustainably.
9| Be Mindful of Your Waste: Opt to reuse jars as containers for food, drinks and even household items. Swap out paper towel, disposable napkins and plastic table linens for the reusable equivalents, which can be washed and used repeatedly.
10| Reduce Energy Usage: Replace traditional incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient LED. Install a motion-sensitive light outside your home rather than leaving entryway and landscape lighting burning all night. Fill the kettle only for what you need, use black-out curtains to minimise heat gain in your home and set your slow cooker in the morning for a cost-effective alternative to baking.
11| Remember Your Shopping Bags: Keep your reusable shopping bags in your trunk and use them everywhere you do shopping, not just at the grocery store. Plastic shopping bags can be reused in a number of ways, including as a liner of small trash bins.
12| Think Before You Print: Consider whether you really need a hard copy of an email, presentation, invitation or any other written letter or notice before you choose to print. If it’s necessary to print, be sure to print on both sides of the paper and, where possible, reuse blank sections as scrap paper. Non-confidential documents may also be recycled and shredded documents can be used as shipping filler.
13| Know Where and What to Recycle: Not everything is recyclable in the Cayman Islands. Paper, cardboard, clean glass and aluminium products are all recyclable, however only types 1 and 2 plastic containers are accepted. These usually include plastic bottles, jars, detergent containers, juice and milk bottles and packaging for shampoo, yoghurt and sometimes medicine. Check the bottom of products before you buy them to determine whether the packaging is recyclable. Know where the nearest recycling centre is to your work and home.
14| Go for a Walking Lunch: Take advantage of restaurants and cafes within walking distance of your office and designate one day each week to walk there, rather than drive. Utilise Camana Bay’s the Rise to access the Town Centre from West Bay Road and vice versa. Not only will you reduce your carbon footprint, but you’ll boost your energy levels with the brief walk and reduce the cost of petrol for your vehicle.
15| Treat Yourself: Living sustainably doesn’t have to be a difficult task; in fact, it’s meant to lead to a minimalist approach to life where less is more. Being more eco-conscious can equate to applying any or all of the above suggestions and starts with making small changes to your habits – like eating ice cream in a cone rather than a cup.