In recent years, buzzwords like sustainability, environmentally friendly, and eco-conscious are being used by an increasing number of people and businesses in an effort to encourage others to go green. If you're unfamiliar with these initiatives, you may be left with questions like “Why is this important?” and “How does this relate to me?”

At the core, being environmentally conscious means living a more mindful life to help protect our environment. By taking small, but meaningful actions every day, you can help to ensure the environment is sustained in a way that will make the planet a better place for current and future generations. Below, we’ve shared some simple, yet impactful suggestions that you can implement to help your community go green!

1. Create less waste

One easy step you can take to being more environmentally conscious is to reduce waste by recycling. When you choose to recycle, you’re keeping those items out of landfills or incinerators, which is a huge step in ensuring our land and air are clean and pollutant free.

Many communities already provide recycling bins to their members, which are then picked up and processed by their chosen companies, making recycling easy and hassle-free. If curbside recycling is not available in your community, there are still ways you can get your community involved in recycling. First, you could contact your local county recycling center to inquire how your community could set this up. Generally, this type of service will cost a little extra, however, the convenience of having your recyclable goods disposed of for you is well worth the small fee!

If your community opts out of curbside recycling, we then recommend selecting a few dedicated members to gather the recyclable goods and drop them off at an approved recycling facility. While most items you use every day, such as cardboard, paper, or soda cans are generally accepted, some plastic items or other materials cannot be recycled. This is why it's so important to check which type of recyclables your facility accepts before heading over.

You can also help to create less waste by using fewer disposable products. There is an increasing number of products available that are sustainable and designed to be used time and again. A great way to introduce more sustainable products into your everyday life is by switching out the plastic water bottle for a reusable one! Not only will this save you money from not having to buy single-use plastic water bottles, but you will also be helping to keep those bottles from piling up in the trash.

2. Plant a community garden

A large part of helping your community become more environmentally conscious is involving your members. A fun way to do this is to plant a community garden! By growing your own fruits and vegetables, you help your community become less dependent on transport trucks, whose emissions are harmful to the environment. Additionally, you’ll save money by not having to purchase this produce from the grocery store!

To help gather a large number of volunteers from your community, we recommend creating a survey on your website to find out what time and date works best for everyone. You could also include a question about what fruits, vegetables, herbs, or plants are most wanted in the garden. We’ve included an example of what this survey could look like below:

3. Digitize your communications

Another area where your community can become more environmentally conscious is in using less paper. With the demand for paper remaining high, we are losing more and more trees, which can lead to extreme deforestation. This not only changes the Earth’s landscape, but many animals who depend on those trees for homes or shelter will now have nowhere to go. Not to mention the fact that the human population depends on trees to produce oxygen for us to breathe. Trees are a precious natural resource we need to preserve, and your website has some built-in tools you can use to make sure your community is doing its part!

Luckily, in today's technological time, there are many different alternatives to using paper to record or share information. If your community currently uses bulletin boards to post information about upcoming events or other newsworthy events, we recommend posting this information on your community website instead. You can add upcoming events to a "Calendar" page, community updates and announcements on a "News Articles" page, and send out reminders via blast emails and text messages.

Another way you can use less paper is by digitizing your community forms. For example, rather than having your members fill out a paper maintenance request form, you could create that same form on your website using our “Custom Form” page type. With this page, you can create the fields that need to be filled out by the members. They can then complete and submit the form to the designated recipient(s) to be received via email. This completely eliminates the use of paper to complete this process! Below we've included an example of what this form could look like:

Wrapping up

The actions we take every day, small and large, have an impact on our planet. It's up to us to decide whether that impact will harm or protect our environment. While acclimating to change may be uncomfortable in the beginning, with the features available on your website and a little extra effort from individuals, you can start to take small, meaningful steps to help your community become more environmentally conscious. The effort will be worth it, and the planet will thank you.