Eco friendly, green, environmentalist, preservationist or tree-hugger, whatever term you prefer to use is all right by me. I know you've seen the viral videos of plastic filling up our oceans and sea animals bellies. Growing up near a beach city in California, I personally see the devastation of how people are killing our dear Mother Earth. Piles of plastic and waste cover so much of our beautiful planet, so I'm doing my part to cutback and erase as much excess waste as possible. There are countless products on the market to help us create a greener tomorrow. On top of that, I want to leave the world a better place for the next generation, you know, our kids! There are tons of ways that we can all make small changes that have a huge impact. I'm sharing 5 practical ways I am making changes in my household to be more eco friendly. Helping to save the planet one less land-fill item at a time.
“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” - Robert Swan
This is not a new concept by any means, but a huge way we can help make a change for the better. I separate recyclable materials from traditional trash - plastics, cardboard, paper, aluminum, and glass. It makes me feel better knowing these materials will remain out of landfills and will be converted into something new. Fortunately, we have separate trash bins for traditional trash and recyclables. If you do not have separate bins where you live, you can always create a system and take your recyclable items to a recycling center and get rewarded for your efforts. There are tons of local recycling centers that accept more than just the traditional paper, plastic & glass items and Earth 911 will show you where they are. The payoff may be small, it's better than nothing, and you're doing something great for the environment!
2. Reusable Materials
Plastic is such a huge commodity and is highly overused. I have been making small changes around my home to use less plastic. Instead of using single-use lunch baggies, I have replaced them with reusable bags that are food safe. There are so many great companies offering reusable lunch bags. The added bonus is they are great for almost anything, just like a traditional Ziplock bag. But, they're even better because you get to use them time and time again! I love filling my reusable bags with snacks for my daughters lunch to toiletries while traveling, especially the stuff that has a potential to leak.
“We are living on this planet as if we had another one to go to.” – Terry Swearingen
3. Use Sustainable Products
Did you know more than 1 billion (yes, with a B) plastic toothbrushes end up in landfills each year, just in the USA alone. That equates to 50 million pounds of plastic, just from toothbrushes! To add insult to injury, plastic toothbrushes are also made from plastics derived from crude oil. Three things that make these daily scrubbers terrible: 1) they're created from non-renewable fossil fuels, 2) they are not biodegradable, 3) if they are incinerated they release toxins into the air. I recently switched from being one of the contributing factors in that ginormous number of toothbrush waste, and began using a bamboo toothbrush. Bamboo toothbrushes are a great alternative and they are fully biodegradable. Making them a viable and sustainable option. It's a small change we can all do and feel good about.
4. Ditch The Plastic
Say good bye to one use plastic straws. Imagine 127 school buses pass by. That is what the daily amount of plastic straws equates to. Totaling 500 million straws! Again, speaking only for the U.S. It seems like such a trivial thing to add up to so much plastic waste, but it does! Of course I resorted to searching Amazon (once again) to find some excellent reusable metal straws for only a few dollars, win! The thing I particularly liked about this pack are the variety of sizes, silicon tops and scrubbers. Another added bonus, you get a smoothie straw. However, in my case it's preferred for bubble tea (aka boba). Yum!
Another plastic item I bid adieu to are single use plastic bottles. With the exception of traveling, I stray away from purchasing bottled water. Every where I go my handy insulated water bottle comes with. It should come as no surprise that people drink more water than we used to, but it comes at a cost. What is alarming is this: every minute 1 million water bottles are purchased across the globe. Think about that, every minute! This is something we can definitely improve upon.
Last, but not least! Living in California has it's perks... beautiful beaches, scenic Hwy 1, incredible mountainscapes. The list could go on and on. In 2014, we were the first state to ban the use of single use of plastic bags at large retailers. Of course at first it was met with a lot of resistance, but now we (I), gladly take my reusable bags with me everywhere I go. My entire trunk is filled with them. Some things seem to trivial, but in the grand scheme of things, they are not. Because, it is estimated that nearly 4 trillion (this time with a T!) single use plastic bags are used world wide. WOW!
“We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” – Native American Proverb
5. Say Goodbye to Paper Towels
Okay, this is easier said than done. But, here is an alarming statistic. If every person in America reduced the number of paper towels used by ONE per day, we would reduce paper waste by 571,239,000 POUNDS each year! Now do I have your attention? Next time you have a spill, instead of reaching for a paper towel, keep reusable cloths near by. Over the course of the past few months, I have cut back significantly on how many paper towels I reach for. What's my secret for all the kid (okay, mom) spills? We keep reusable towels around the house, mostly in the kitchen, hence, spills! I have to say it helps tremendously to have a counter caddy with cloths to grab as you go. The biggest thing is remaining cognizant of the things we grab out of convenience.
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
A few months ago, I stumbled upon Mighty Nest, I have to say I am a huge fan of this company, their mission and their products. Everything they sell is natural, organic and non-toxic. Nothing better than supporting a small business and keeping toxins out of the home. I signed up for a monthly subscription, and each month I get a shipment of one product that helps along my eco friendly mission. Some of the items I have received are: wool dryer balls, reusable kitchen cloths and Lunchskins reusable bags.
My hope is that we can band together to make a few small changes for the great good. Are you with me? If you are on a mission to going green, please leave a comment below. I would love to hear what you're doing to make an impact for Mother Earth!