One of the mantras of my childhood – in addition to the D.A.R.E. message “Say no to drugs” – was reduce, reuse, recycle. (Hey, it was the Nineties!) In honor of Earth Day, today’s post shares tips for easy, eco-friendly updates for your daily routine at home or at work. These new habits are for every day, not just Earth Day.
The Curse of Single-Use Plastic
Just Say No … to single-use plastic! Yes, the development of plastics in the early nineteenth century – starting with Bakelite in 1907 – has revolutionized manufacturing (cheaper, more durable goods), healthcare (artificial joints that last), and safety (bicycle helmets, child safety seats, airbags in automobiles), and more.
But other plastic items like water bottles, grocery store bags, Ziploc bags, and drinking straws end up in the landfill – or up the noses of unsuspecting sea turtles. Plastic takes 20 to 500 years to decompose. Replacing single-use plastics with reusable items reduces waste in the landfill and your carbon footprint. Sacré bleu!!
It may not seem like one person switching to reusable storage at home or at work will make an impact, but you can make a difference!
Reusable Food Storage
In lieu of plastic baggies, try reusable food storage like glass – or even plastic – containers with lids. If you’re on the go and want something less bulky (and breakable), you can try reusable soft pouches like Lunchskins or Vermont-made Bees Wrap.
While investing in reusable food storage containers can be pricier than buying a box of Ziploc bags, remember these items are washable and reusable. They will pay for themselves!
Reusable Napkins and Dishcloths
One way to cut down on kitchen waste is to switch from paper to cloth napkins for meals. While paper is compostable, using cloth napkins helps fight deforestation. Simply wash and reuse.
Another related way to help reduce kitchen waste is by using cloth or compostable dishcloths. Again, for cloth towels, simply wash and reuse. I also love compostable sponge cloths. A pack of five cloths is only $6. They are easy to use and last forever (up to 500 washes!). Just rinse and wring out after cleaning counters with your favorite eco-friendly cleanser.
Refillable Bottles for Drinks
Buying a reusable water bottle or insulated mug for coffee and tea is a no-brainer. These containers are easy to use around the house and carry with you (if we ever get to leave home again!) and cut down on waste immeasurably.
Yes, plastic water bottles are recyclable, but wax-lined paper coffee cups and their black plastic lids are not. Make the switch. It’s easy and the benefits to the environment greatly outweigh the cost of purchasing a reusable drink container (or two).
I drink a lot of fluids (not to brag) and have a bevy of beverage containers at my disposal. In rotation:
For water at home:
For water on the go:
For coffee at home:
For tea or coffee on the go:
Reusable Shopping Bags
Collapsible or Compostable Straws
Simply put, plastic straws are the worst. (See the Sea Turtle Nose Incident, above.) Ditch plastic in favor of paper, which composts and breaks down in the landfill.
I also keep a collapsible straw in my purse or tote for dining out. It’s more sanitary that drinking directly out of a restaurant glass (ew) and eco-friendly than plastic (double ew). Due to the pandemic, I haven’t used my collapsible straw in over a year, but she’s ready and waiting for when I go to a restaurant again (in five years; possibly never).
Earth Day is April 22. What will you do to protect her?
Merci for reading and please subscribe and share!
À votre santé,