Who said you needed superpowers or to be ultrarich to save the world? We can do small things every day to reduce our carbon footprint and waste.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that companies and cities have been banning plastic straws left and right, with varying degrees of success and opposition—listen, we’re here for the Starbucks sippy cup. But, what if restaurants in your area haven’t gotten the memo? Simple solution: just say “no”. Opt-out. It’s not always easy, we live in an opt-in society, but just think: Americans use 500 million straws daily, why add to the pile?
A Cleaner Shave
I know what you’re thinking: “my grooming habits have nothing to do with sustainability!” Well, you’re wrong. Americans toss about 2 billion disposable razors annually. They end up in landfills and in our oceans. If you have a steady hand, try a straight razor: they last almost forever if you keep them sharp and clean. Safety and electric razors are also great alternatives. Slightly controversial thought, don’t shave—or at least, not as often.
About 1.3 million tons of food produced worldwide gets lost or wasted annually. A great way to curve your waste is to buy exactly what you need. Many natural and whole food grocers offer bulk bin products where you can bring your own reusable containers. This decreases packaging and food waste and saves you money. If you don’t have a bulk grocer near you, try hitting up your local farmers market.
Bang Pots & Pans
Cook at home. That’s it, saving the world is that simple. Think about how much plastic and disposables come with your takeout: plastic bags, containers, utensils wrapped in plastic. When you cook at home versus grabbing takeout you decrease single-use plastics drastically. It’s easy on the planet, your wallet, and your stomach! Plus, you can get really creative with your meals, and who doesn’t love awesome leftovers?
On average, we throw away about 70 lbs of clothing and textiles yearly. The obvious solution is to donate the clothing you no longer want, right? Well, not so fast, thanks to lower quality fast-fashion pieces about 20% of donated clothing is sent to landfills or resold abroad. Instead, why not change the way you shop: buy better quality, sustainable pieces with a lower impact on the planet. Or, don’t buy anything at all: It’s easy to restyle the clothing you already own or host a clothing swap party with your friends.
Take the Scenic Route
One of the best ways to reduce air pollution is to walk or bicycle to your destination. While that’s not always doable, why not do what you can? Carpool to work or take the bus once a week. Small passenger cars emit about .97 lbs of pollutants per mile. That doesn’t sound like much but think about how many miles you drive in a week, a month, and a year. Yeah, we’re not good at math either, let’s just say it’s a lot and you can do better.
Hit the Refill Button
Stop. Using. Plastic. Water. Bottles. They are not really that convenient and it takes them about 450 years to biodegrade. Do we have to say much more?
Spread the Word
We’re not saying spam your friends and family, that’s a sure way to get blocked on social media. But, take them with you to the farmers market, buy them a reusable water bottle, host a potluck instead of grabbing takeout. For most people, you have to show them how easy it is to live sustainably before they take the leap.