As a travel RN, you’re constantly on the go, moving from one facility to the next. Unfortunately, long drives and airplane trips also means burning lots of fossil fuels. According to the EPA, a typical passenger vehicle emits 4.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, and a single cross-country flight from New York to Los Angeles emits about 20% of that. Of course, travel nurses still need to get from point A to point B, which leaves many wondering what they can do to be eco-friendly while traveling. Here are five easy ways you can help the planet on your travel assignment!
1. Invest in Reusable Water Bottles and Tote Bags
One of the easiest swaps for a travel RN trying to be better to the planet is cutting down on single-use plastics like water bottles and grocery bags. Instead of buying plastic bottles of water, use a reusable water bottle and bring it with you everywhere. Many hospitals these days have water bottle filling stations which make it easy to stay hydrated on the job.
Another way to reduce plastic waste is to switch to reusable grocery tote bags. Next time you hit the supermarket, instead of filling up many flimsy plastic bags, use a tote bag to carry your goods. Not only are they superior grocery receptacles (no breakage or holes), but they will also cut down on your plastic consumption which is great for the planet. Americans use 100 billion plastic bags a year, which require 12 million barrels of oil to manufacture. If you make the easy switch to reusable bags, it will not only benefit Mother Earth, but make your grocery trips a lot better too.
2. Eat and Drink Local
When you and your travel RN friends are out and about looking for places to eat and drink, try restaurants and bars that utilize locally sourced ingredients. The concept of the farm-to-table restaurant is growing in popularity, and many restaurants across the nation are adopting this style. Farm-to-table is a trend that many dining establishments are adopting because it allows customers to have access to fresh, healthy food all year round as well as supporting local economies. Food waste costs about $220 billion per year in landfills, and farm-to-table can drastically reduce that cost as well as the amount of waste going into the earth. In addition, try to buy local, responsibly sourced food, and only buy fruits and vegetables when they’re in season. To do this, check out your local farmer’s market!
3. Try One Day of Meatless Eating Per Week
While going vegan or vegetarian is not for everyone, a small reduction in meat consumption one day a week can prove to be extremely beneficial for the planet. The meat industry uses vast amounts of Earth’s fossil fuels, water, and grains to feed livestock, which is extremely unsustainable. In fact, about 1,850 gallons of water is needed to produce a singular pound of beef, comparable to only 39 gallons of water per pound of vegetables. Meat production also is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, which has proven to contribute to the climate change crisis. If you are looking for a way to do your part in encouraging sustainable food consumption, try participating in Meatless Mondays! One meatless meal a week can save 133 gallons of water. Not to mention, plant-based meals are often more budget-friendly, which is great for the travel RN trying to save some money as well as the planet.
4. Practice Energy Conservation at Home
It’s easy to forget that the power you use in your home costs more than what you see on your utility bill. Electricity, water, and gas all have an impact on the environment, so being conscious of what you’re using is important. Unplugging electric devices when they’re not being used, using only necessary lighting sources and LED bulbs, and using water sparingly are ways to save energy at home.
5. Volunteer with a Local Environmental Group
One of the best ways to reduce loneliness on a travel assignment is volunteering. Local environmental groups offer myriad ways to get involved in the betterment of the planet such as trash pick-ups in county parks, community garden tending, and advocacy events for climate change. Getting involved in these efforts not only help the planet but will help connect you with other like-minded people in your town.
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