Just about a week ago, at the time of this post, the world celebrated the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Right about this time people start pulling together to play an active role and become a rescue hero for the Earth. I’m so excited and I love to see this happening! We did our part by watching a documentary called The Story of Plastic. It’s an informative show teaching about the dangers of single use plastic. It was certainly a hard one to watch. It was heartbreaking. If you do any search on social media using the #storyofplastic you will see what I mean. You will see (spoiler alert) how little gets recycled. You will see people’s front yard looking like a landfill. It’s just disgusting.
My friend, I’m here to tell you that there’s hope! You can be the ripple. I’m not saying that you send back all the plastic to the company that manufactured it (oops another spoiler alert) but you have the option of not buying it. During this quarantine we have heard reports of the Earth being repaired. It’s sad that it took a world wide pandemic to open people’s eyes but what if we could start another movement and start eliminating plastic. Just think about how much better our Earth would look after that.
Our journey started waaaay back to a time when my middle sister did a science fair project for her school. She did a few pretty awesome projects but the one that had the most impact and ripple effect was the one she did on Global Warming. She even sent a text on Earth Day to remind us that she was the O.G. Greta Thunberg back in 1992. She cracked me up because I had never thought of that but, she was! It was that one project that she did that got our family in a better direction. We stopped using colored toilet paper and tissues. Ha! Remember when toilet paper would come in blue and pink? We started recycling and breaking down all of the cardboard boxes and crushing our cans and plastic. We couldn’t believe that there were machines out there that would turn our recyclables into something new. This was a great place to begin for our family and it’s a great place for you to start as well but it goes much further than that. If you watch the documentary or search the hashtag you’ll see what I mean.
Yes, recycling is good, but like I said, not everything we recycle gets recycled. So, if you’re wondering how you can play a role, I will help you reduce the waste that is being taken to the recycling center and the landfills. I’m here to help and not to judge. I’m here to help steer you into a better direction for both of us and for our planet. I don’t want to overwhelm you, so I will just start with 3 easy steps that you can do right now to work towards a zero waste lifestyle and I say lifestyle because it will change the way you think and do things.
Step 1: Use in full
The best way to start a low (zero) waste lifestyle is by using products you already have in full. Don’t run out and replace everything right away. Continue reusing them until they are falling apart and no longer usable. That plastic kitchen spoon? Use it. The chip clip? Use it. Plastic clothes hanger? Use it. When you can no longer use these products then dispose of them properly then choose better.
Another part of this lifestyle is paying close attention to the labels on the back of products that we use. Some of these products out on the market are using chemicals that are harmful for us and for our environment. Don’t let it go to waste because you paid good money for it. Just finish it up and choose better. Check out this list by EWG on the chemicals that you should be avoiding in your products. Use up what you have then make healthier choices and use products that are all natural and safe for the environment. Keep checking back to this site for inspiration.
Step 2: Straws
The earliest straw known was made by the Sumerians. The Sumerians brewed their own beer in big vats. Because the vats were too heavy to carry, they sat around the vat with their straws to drink the beer. Straws have changed over time and now the plastic straw has become the fifth largest contributor of marine waste according to Footprint US. With exception for some, because of health reasons, straws are not necessary. If you choose to use a straw, consider using a reusable stainless steel straw and keep it with you. You can purchase straws and straw savers and help support a Zero Waste Market by heading over to Bee Joyful Shop. I am not an affiliate for them and make no commission from sales. I just love supporting small business and helping my environment.
Step 3: Bags
If there is one thing that breaks my heart the most, its when I’m driving down the road or walking along a trail and seeing a plastic bag up in a tree or laying on the ground. The carelessness of how our earth is being treated is heartbreaking. It’s ugly. It’s disrespectful to the nature around us. The manufacturing of plastic bags is damaging. The carelessness end of life when not recycled can be equally damaging to the nature around us. The best swap one can do is to use reusable bags for your purchases. You can find them practically at any place you shop. You can also choose to either opt out of using the single use plastic bags in the produce section by either purchasing reusable produce bags or not bagging the produce at all. Reusable produce bags can be found in the kitchen section of your retail shopping store, zero waste shop or on Amazon.
There are times in life that we come across “Three Easy Steps” and we just laugh it off because, more often than not, it’s never that easy. I don’t know about you but we always run into problems. These “Three Easy Steps” ARE simple things that you can start doing NOW and be the ripple in your own community. Thanks for hanging out with me today. I’m sure we both need a refill of our coffee in our reusable mug. I’ll be back with more inspiration soon!