One of the things I heard most in my house growing up was “recycle, reuse, reduce” so it’s no wonder I turned out to be the Earth loving hippie I am today. I am very passionate about doing things to help the planet by recycling, composting, supporting local business and doing all I can to reduce my carbon footprint. Like anything it takes time to learn and make it a habit but it is all about small changes you can make small changes to make a BIG impact on the Earth.
Here you can find tip and tricks on how you can make small changes to be a little more green.
Recycle Reuse Reduce REFUSE
Corey and I recorded a podcast episode with Sara Weinreb who is a writer, host of the Medium Well podcast, and Founder of The M List, a daily newsletter supporting individuals in living a more mindful, holistic, and sustainable lifestyle. An all over sustainable queen. Listen to our episode with Sara HERE! When I met Sara the first time she said something that was so amazing I want to tattoo it on my face… ok I would never do that but I am so pumped for saving the earth! She said we need to be recycling, reusing, reducing but more importantly REFUSING! It is so simple and makes SUCH a huge impact on your carbon footprint and on the earth.
Here are some simple and easy ways you can refuse
Refuse plastic utensils when ordering take out
Refuse a coffee cup and bring your own
Refuse plastic or glass water bottles and bring your own or find a water fountain
Refuse a straw (you can drink almost any drink without a straw. If you need to you can carry one with you.)
Refuse paper towels, napkins and paper tissues and get cloth versions. I haven’t bought paper towels in over 7 years and I’m here to tell you, you will live.
Refuse a granola bar or a snack packaged in plastic and instead grab some fruit and vegetables if you need a quick on the go snack.
Refuse to drive solo and start carpooling or taking public transportation. I know some cities are better than others so it might not be convenient all the time but small changes can make a big difference.
When shopping online
Refuse plastic packing for shipping. Most companies you can write in the notes and ask them to avoid plastic wrap or packaging.
Refuse next day shipping. When you opt for one day shipping it forces truck drivers to change their driving routs to get to you faster instead.
When you are shopping on Amazon wait until there are at least three things in your cart.
Can you get it in the store instead?
When grocery shopping
Most of your produce doesn’t need to be in plastic. Instead you can refuse them or buy cloth bags. I picked up mine in Whole Foods and I’m seeing them pop up more and more in grocery stores.
Buy in bulk! It means there is less packaging and you can get the exact amount you need. Win Win! You can bring your jars or containers to stores to fill up on your favorite bulk items. Make sure you weigh your container first so you wont be charged for the extra weight.
Bring your own shopping bags. When I had a car I would always keep them in the car. Now I always carry one bag with me, it folds up into a small pouch, lightweight and small so it doesn’t weigh me down and in case I need it.
Visit your local farmers markets and Co-Op stores. Support the foods that are closest to you. Often times it is cheaper anyway! Co-Ops always have great bulk sections, I get soap and laundry detergent at mine (and yes, I bring my own jars to fill up!)
Some of my favorite products that help me stay eco friendly
Hydoflask water bottle and coffee container. Hydoflask keeps your liquid hot or cold for HOURS!
Cloth produce bags
Stasher “ziplock” bags. Great for snacks or freezing food.
A reusable bag for groceries that folds into a small pouch
Compostable trash bags
Mason jars. Great of keeping the nuts, seeds, grains and things I buy in bulk fresh. They also are great for storing leftovers in the fridge.
Sustainable clothing stores! Thrift stores are a GREAT option, here is a great list Sara shared with me to find sustainable clothing companies. One of my favorite companies is Wholesome Culture (the shirt I am wearing —>) follow the link to get 10% off.
You can find most of these things in my amazon store if you can’t find them near you.
The trash that I have at my house is the size of a typical small bathroom trash can. With the compost and recycling I have to change the trash once or twice a month! We don’t have a lot of waste in my house but we do have a lot of compost! All is takes is a quick google search to find out where you can compost in your neighborhood. For me (living in New York City) I have a few different options.
Take it to a local farmers market where they have compost collection
Whole Food accepts compost. Certain ones only accept it on certain days so check with your local Whole Foods. ORRRRR Whole Foods has three trash cans for costumers, TRASH, RECYCLING and COMPOST. I typically just have a small bag so if i need to drop it off on a day where they aren’t accepting it I’ll put it there.
More and more neighborhoods are putting out brown trash can for composting. Fingers crossed you have a brown trash can in your hood.
Did you know that if you put something that is biodegradable into a trash can, something that can be composting will not be able to biodegrade in the trash? I used to think it was ok to put a compostable coffee cup or produce waste in the trash. I would think “It’s ok it is just going to biodegrade” In order for something to biodegrade it needs the sun so when you throw it away it gets packed into a little cube and put in a landfill and doesn’t see the sun so it ends up just like trash. That is why it is important to compost. Plus it helps give back to the earth. Then you are reducing your trash and recycling what the earth gave to you! Win win!
Like all things it takes time to make and break new habits. Take your time and know that small changes can and do make a big difference. We only have one planet Earth, lets keep her clean and green!
Watch this sweet story about a city in Japan that made some BIG changes to be a zero waste city!