I think our society has eco-anxiety.
We hear about what is happening in the world, and it makes us worry about the future. It can also make us feel defeated, or in some cases not bother trying at all. What can one person do? The reality is, we simply do not have the luxury anymore to sit and let someone else make changes, we must all do our part, EVERY...SINGLE...ONE...OF...US! Listen, the last thing I want to do is to be preachy. No one likes that. But guys, our earth is in crisis.
I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts the other day, and I was literally affected, I mean moved to tears. I highly recommend you listen to this. The podcast's name is The Armchair Expert - who was speaking with Jane Goodall. She was speaking about the environment (more towards the end of the interview) and made a comment that really resonated with me. She said, "The world is in trouble, we don't have much time."
What if, we took a stand and made maybe one, two, or FIFTEEN changes to our daily habits, in the ways we use products, buy our products, and dispose of our products.
Let's take this even further. Have a look at this.
Human A - Let's call him Sam
Sam goes to the grocery store. He purchases a bag of milk (plastic), cereal (plastic bag inside), cheese (wrapped in plastic), and a 6 pack of plastic bottled Pepsi. Then, because he forgot his reusable grocery bags in the car, he asks for 2 plastic bags to carry home his purchases.
So that's 11 sources of plastic.
Imagine if 30,000 people in your city did this too, all in one day? That's 330,000 pieces of plastic that not only had to be produced but also goes out to recycling, and only a small percentage of that is actually recycled.
Don't be a Sam.
Something worth noting: Every second, 15,000 plastic bottles are sold worldwide. That is 1,000,000 per minute and 480 billion a year. Coca-Cola sells the majority of these: 110 billion a year. Only 7% of these single-use plastic bottles are actually recycled.
This brings me to my next point.
About 5 billion tons of plastic you think is being recycled have ended up as waste in landfills or have simply ended up in the environment. Of this, between 5 and 13 million tons of plastic enter the oceans.
If you want to know about your plastic footprint, click on this link to see how you are doing.
We have put ourselves on a plastic diet in our household. I would like to share with you, our tips.
Here are 7 Eco-Friendly Tips To Go Greener.
1. Buy Canvas / Cloth Grocery Bags - No more Plastic Bags.
The major impact of plastic bags on the environment is that it takes many years for them to decompose. Plus, toxic substances are released into the soil when plastic bags bake under sunlight. With so many great-looking reusable string bags and multi-sized totes, there really is no excuse to have to use plastic bags anymore. Make a conscious effort to not forget them at home or in the car. Good canvas bags are not cheap, but they will last a very long time. In this case, spending the money on quality is well worth it. Shop Bags
2. Scrub, Scrub, Scrub Use Real Brushes, No Plastic.
Plastic scrub brushes and green-and-yellow plastic kitchen sponges are harmful to the environment. They're made from synthetic fibers that pollute waterways, they are not biodegradable and are sitting in landfills around the world. They can take hundreds and hundreds of years to decompose. Sisal, bamboo scrub brushes are hard-working, stylish, and eco-friendly, to clean your dishes, pots, and pans and to scrub your veggies. They go straight into your compost when their time is up, or plant them in your garden. Shop Scrub Brushes
3. Bees Wax Wraps - No More Plastic Wrap
Plastic wrap is murder to the environment and it is advised to never be put in the recycling bin, as it is impossible to recycle. And once it gets into marine environments, plastic wrap contributes to a larger plastic pollution crisis. Scientists say that PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) and PVDC (Polyvinylidene Chloride) do great jobs of picking up bacteria and metals. Fish and other marine animals often mistake them for food which is dangerous for them.
Bees Wax Wraps are 100% reusable, eliminate plastic from your kitchen, keep your food fresh for longer, and come in a variety of colorful designs. Shop Beeswax Wraps
4. Dissolvable Cleaning And Soap Pucks - No More Single-Use Plastic.
Did you know, that there are 2,000 common cleaning products from almost 200 brands with harmful toxicities of more than 1,000 ingredients used? Most household cleaning and disinfecting can be done with vinegar, water, and baking soda, and some essential oils for a nice scent. Single-use plastic spray bottles are contributing to the growing problem of plastic waste buildup in our oceans and have reached over 250,000 tons*. We are excited to see new innovations like tiny pucks for cleaning and handsoaps, that dissolve in water. Instead of recycling one of your plastic spray bottles, or hand soap dispensers, reuse it over and over with these pucks. This not only promotes less plastic in the recycle bins, and landfills, it also promotes less demand for more plastic to be produced in factories. Shop Pucks
5. Cardboard Boxes, No Plastic Totes
Do you have tote boxes, that become cracked, or too many lids with no matches? Do you know regardless of size or composition, most plastic storage bins have one thing in common: they are hard to recycle. Plastic storage bins cannot go in your curbside recycling bin. So, do they end up in landfills because of this? Yes. Try using cardboard instead. They are fully compostable, as long as it’s not coated in, you guessed it, plastic. Use this as your only choice when needing boxes for storage or moving. Many companies are now packaging their products in plain cardboard to cut down on waste.
6. Dishwasher Powder and Laundry Strips - No Pods
Despite the appeal of their convenience, dishwasher detergent pods contain a very damaging chemical cocktail. This makes them not only detrimental to the environment, but also to you and your family. Its impact lasts well beyond your wash cycle. They contain harsh chemicals, such as bleach, that may not get completely dissolved off your dishes. The choices we have now with eco-friendly powders for the dishwasher, and laundry strips for the washing machine, we can feel good about cleaning. If you use the plastic jugs for your laundry needs, these laundry strips eliminate one billion plastic jugs (you read that right!), saving 700 million from going to landfills.
7. Dryer Balls and Toxic Sheets
There are potentially harmful chemicals when using those dryer sheets, that can cause and/or worsen asthma and skin irritations*. If you don't have a choice to hang your clothes outside and not use the dryer, then we dyer balls are your answer.
Dryer balls soften clothes by agitating the fibers and reduce drying time by creating separation between clothing items. This action allows warm air to circulate better which can even help reduce drying time. The movement of the dryer balls against fabrics can also help fight wrinkles, prevent static and soften clothes. Shop Balls
8. Menstrual Cups - No Single-Use Plastic
We have learned, that there's a huge carbon footprint that goes into making sanitary products. Plus, they are thrown away, fill landfills, sometimes block waterways, and find their way into lakes and oceans where fish eat them.
Reusable menstrual cups can last a long time which means you are not contributing to more waste to the environment. You pay a one-time price for these cups, unlike tampons or pads, which have to be continually bought and can cost upward of $100 a year. Shop Cups
9. Bamboo Toothbrushes - No Plastic
This is staggering. Plastic toothbrushes take over 400 years to decompose! They remain in landfills indefinitely and release chemicals into the air. This results in even more damage to the environment. Bamboo, being a natural material, is completely biodegradable, breaking down in compost within around 6 months. This means the handle of a bamboo toothbrush can be put in your compost when you’re finished, or planted in your garden.
If this blog hasn't opened your eyes to the need for change, this video will.
Listen. I am not asking you to be perfect. I'm asking you to walk around your house, and see areas that you can improve on. Believe me, it's not easy. I am challenged every day with making hard choices about products we buy, and alternatives to them if it means less plastic coming in and out of our home.
The choice you make is a contribution to a more sustainable living for you and those around you. As the demand from you and I, for more sustainable products grows, companies will continue to respond and the massive increase in plastics use can reverse course. This can't happen without our efforts, and it can't happen soon enough.
Thank you, everyone.