This coming Monday April 22nd might be one of the most important nationally marked days, Earth Day. Growing up I remember learning about the importance of keeping the planet clean, not littering and learning how to recycle different products. But as an adult while all of that is important, there is a big part we are missing and that is reduce. Reduce your waste as much as possible.
If everyone could tweak a few small things then the planet could be a much cleaner place. Easy immediate fixes: a reusable water bottle like a Hydroflask or S’well bottle, which keep things cold for 24 hours or hot for 12 and actually truly does. I do not know of any place that will not fill it for you rather than using their plastic lids and cups. Reusable grocery bags; they are a one time very cheap buy and you can keep some in your car for those random unplanned trips for the store. I can usually fit all my groceries in 2-3 bags which makes it easier to carry in to your home. Stop using straws! I work in a restaurant and promise you they are not any cleaner than the glassware that gets cleaned and polished before being put away. If you are someone who feels like they must use a straw, you can buy reusable glass straws or paper straws (but those can get a little soggy.)
Now let's dive into some things maybe you did not fully consider. Recently, I have purchased reusable sandwich baggies. They actually keep my food more preserved and are easily washed to be reused again. Such as easy way to replace all the sandwich bags you might go through every single day if you bring your lunch! If you are an Amazon Prime shopper like me, try to plan ahead. I am trying to reduce my footprint of gas and waste so I will put all the things I need into my cart and wait to order so it can all go in one big box rather than just constantly ordering and having packages arriving daily. What about cleaning and beauty products? While a lot of those bottles are able to be recycled, let’s try to reduce. I have taken some of my old cleaning supply bottles and found recipes to make my own cleaning supplies. They are less harsh on furniture and usually smell better too with lemon fresh scents. With beauty products, I have tried to switch to Lush for shampoo & conditioner bars. They come in a tin that I reuse each time I purchase another or you could even use their liquids which are housed in recycled material already. Another easy modification is adjusting your search engine on your phone to Ecosia from the usual Google or Bing. It is a free search engine that works just as well as the others but uses a percentage of their profits to plant trees all over the world.
With food waste, I compost everything that is wasted. I live in a home with 3 people and 2 dogs and we usually only have one trash bag per week (which I am still working on reducing). Anytime you cook, all natural food waste can be composted and then dropped off at a nursery to be used for fertilizer or used in your own garden! I spent some time this week working in a community garden at Cross-Lines with a good friend who manages their community garden and runs their food pantry program. I was able to learn a lot about planting and building my own garden at home. It truly is pretty simple to maintain, just requires some attention every other day or so (like a cat). When I grocery shop for my normal weekly items, I try to keep in mind to not buy anything that is packaged. Does this always happen? No, but if you shop with that mindset it will naturally get you to buy healthier choices for your body as well.
I could go on and on with this topic because it is near and dear to my heart and I honestly think a lot of people just do not consider the waste they are creating. If everyone could tweak one or two things I have mentioned above our current problem would be reduced dramatically, but it has to be a group effort. This week, as you step out to buy things, truly think twice if you can find a more eco friendly option or if what you are buying can be repurposed. Because if something does not alter soon, this won’t be such a small problem anymore. Love your planet like you love yourself because we all have to share it.
Until next week,