Sustainable living is the latest trend and we could not be happier to support the Zero waste movement. Who could say "no" to a cleaner planet, cleaner air, cleaner oceans. There are many simple, everyday changes you can make that will surely have an impact in the grand scheme for our planet. I am an avid believer that these big changes must start with little steps. Here are 12 ways you can make a difference starting today into reducing your waste.
1. USE REUSABLE STRAWS. Our Ocean marine life is a delicate eco system and we are seeing more and more pollution in our oceans that is making life uninhabitable for ocean life. If you haven’t see the viral video of the plastic straw being removed from a sea turtles nasal cavity, you would be remised to know how much damage a seemingly innocent straw can do. Beyond keeping straws out of the ocean, if everyone were to opt for reusable straws instead of single use plastic we would see drastic elimination of plastic in our landfills and reduce the carbon emissions it takes to manufacture them. Many Communities have already banned the use of straws as seen in this article by the Business Insider. The article touts implementing rules that disallow sit-down restaurants to provide straws to its patrons unless they ask specifically for a straw. Perhaps a meager seeming step, but certainly one in the right direction.
2. ASK FOR NO PLASTIC ON YOUR NEXT ONLINE ORDER A huge proponent in waste is in E-commerce. The amount of packaging that ends up in landfills is outrageous. To name the worst for the environment; styrofoam packing peanuts, bubble wrap, plastic mailers, packing tape. There are some great simple, effective alternatives to these materials that include Kraft paper to replace packing filler. Kraft Tape is a great replacement for plastic packing tape and is 100% recyclable. It’s also good to look at what type of box your package arrives in. Typically it will indicate on the bottom of the box if it is constructed with post consumer content. Many online retailers will have a “comment box” at checkout where you can type in any requests for your order, I personally always type in “no plastic packaging “. I would advise you to do the same and it really is a simple way to make a big impact.
3. USE REUSABLE PRODUCE BAGS. I find it ironic that many cities have completely banned the use of plastic bags…except in the produce section? That’s right, we are still using plastic produce bags even though plastic bags are banned. However tempting and convenient it may be to toss your veggies into those sweet, sweet plastic bags, don’t do it. Remember that you need to do your part. The great news is that you can use reusable produce bags. These mesh bags are breathable, inexpensive, and you can reuse them hundreds of times. Simply throw them in the wash when necessary. and they come out looking brand new
4. REUSE DISPOSABLE GOODS. I was lucky to have known my great Grandma Cookie, to put it mildly she was one of the most spirited kind-hearted people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. During her life she had lived through the Great Depression, and as a result was forced to live frugally for a great number of year. Some over her habits carried on, and they proved to be good habits that we could all learn from. One thing I will always remember about her was the fact she reused everything, and I really think she was onto something. That plastic tub that your Margarin comes in…that is great for storing fresh blueberries when it’s empty. That empty jar that had spaghetti sauce in it? That jar is the perfect “to go” container for your all leftovers. We can leverage our consumption to serve us time and time again that will extend the life of disposable goods, if we’re not able to eliminate them.
5. RECYCLE. This might seem like a no-brainer but some folks are still not on board with recycling. If we can all do our part to recycle as much as possible it is win-win. In our household we simply have 3 bins under the sink one for trash, one for recyclables, and one for compost. By doing the bare minimum of recycling, you are doing your part to make human-kind more sustainable. Reduce, reuse, & recycle.
6. DUST OF YOUR BICYCLE. One of the biggest polluters are the cars that many of us drive each day. Depending where you live and work consider using a bicycle as much as possible. It’s free, it’s good exercise, and it does not pollute the air. We are so accustomed with jumping in our car for everything, and I am just as guilty of doing this. It is easy to run your errands on your bike or even ride your bike to work. I have come to a place where I will turn down jobs if they are not close enough to bike because I would rather not sit in my car and contribute to pollution. Not everybody may have this option, so perhaps choosing to carpool or taking the bus are perfectly viable options for eliminating the carbon emissions you create each day with your car.
7. SHOP AT SECOND-HAND STORES. I very rarely purchase brand new books. There are many sites where you can get relatively new books that are used. This eliminates the number of consumables that we are purchasing each day. Also buying furniture or any other goods that you like second-hand contributes to extending the life of consumables. If everyone showed second-hand, we could make huge strides towards eliminating things like clothing manufacturing or other items that are sitting out in the world that would otherwise find itself in a dump or landfill. We must stop buying the shiny new objects.
If you have other ideas for eliminating waste or would like to share what you are doing to live sustainably please share in the comments section. We would love to hear from you!
Written By: Cai Martin
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