Hello again and Happy Earth Day!
In my opinion it's earth day every day! Though sadly, not everyone thinks this way. One of my biggest pet peeves is going for a walk/run/ride and seeing trash just scattered about. It makes me wonder what "those people" are thinking when they just toss it out of their cars, or as they're walking down the street. One observation I've made is that it's usually coming from people who don't seem to care about what they're putting in their body. Most of this trash is from fast food joints (McDonald's, Tim Horton's, Burger King, etc., and cigarette packages. *More on this later*). I definitely think there's a correlation between people who don't think twice about what they're consuming and those who litter. They also don't give a second thought to what their trash does to the earth and future generations. Garbage in, garbage out. Selfish!. And yes I'm judging you if you litter. Shame on you! I'm sorry but is that trash going to burn a hole in your hand/pocket/or vehicle if you were to hold on to it until you found a garbage can or got home to throw it out? Ridiculous.
I think for many people, doing our part for the earth sounds like it should be someone else's problem, as mentioned above, or something only hippies do. Those people think that their trash isn't going to have an effect on the planet. In light of this, can one person (aka you), really make a difference? Well, yes! I believe you can! There are many ways (we'll dive in shortly). One way is to snap a photo of the trash you find and tag the company on social media. So let's say you find an empty Tim Horton's coffee cup on the sidewalk, snap a photo, load it to your instagram, facebook, etc. and tag Tim's in your post, asking that they encourage their customers to not litter, or you could take it a step further and push them develop some sort of campaign to offer perks to people who bring their own reusable mugs.
I was really impressed by Irving gas stations and their initiative for coffee drinkers. If you buy a reusable coffee mug from them, you get 10 coupons for free refills, as long as you bring that reusable mug! Why aren't more companies doing this? And I know, their coffee isn't fair trade (at least I haven't heard that it is; that's another debate for a different day). I always try and support local companies who support fair trade initiatives, just so you know.
Being a hardcore nature lover, these issues have been coming in to play more and more over the last few years, and I've really done my best to amp up my efforts to be mindful of the things I buy and use, especially at work when it comes to shipments and packaging. Can these products be recycled? reused? Or can they be shipped differently to not need as much single use plastic?
Here are some great ways to do your part:
- Keep a clean reusable travel cup in your car's cup holder (or purse. gym bag, etc) for those days when you grab a tea or coffee on the go.
- Until plastic bags are eradicated in this province, reuse them and bring them to a plastic bag recycling center (Sobeys has one just outside the front doors). We'll be phasing out of using plastic bags at our store and will be completely plastic-bag free as of June first. We'll use paper bags instead and will of course encourage our clients to bring their own reusable bags.
- Stop buying single use plastic wrap (I DESPISE this stuff). One of our suppliers wraps its 12-pack of mason jar product in so much of it that it's actually making me reconsider buying their product unless they find a better way to ship. They would use more plastic wrap per 12-pack than I have in the last 10 years alone. And they say one person can't make a difference). Instead, replace plastic wrap with washable/reusable bees wax wraps. We carry and use the Bees Louise Wraps, a local company started and run by my friend Megan Clarke (check her out on facebook here!). These come in different sizes and wonderful, fun patterns! Oh, and they smell AMAZING!
- Next time you run out of laundry detergent, switch to soap nuts! They come in a cloth bag (goodbye large plastic container!) and they actually work really well! Five to six nuts is all you need per load and the same nuts can be reused three to four times. I get these at the Soap Works on Broad Street here in Sussex. If you'd like to learn more about soap nuts, stop in or head to their facebook page and read the post specifically about these magical little nuts.
- I try to only do laundry when it's nice out so I can hang clothes up. And if a garment isn't smelly or dirty, I don't necessarily wash it after just one use (pants especially). Don't worry though, I change my undies every day. ;)
- Reusable produce bags! I picked these up at Superstore in the organic section. It was just a three-pack of mesh baggies that I put fruits and veggies in as I shop. I just have to make sure to toss them back into my reusable grocery bags.
- Shampoo Bars! These actually work great! I've been using the same one since December and it's still going strong (I wash my hair every two to three days). We carry the Lines of Elan brand here at our store in Rosemary + Mint and Citrus + Ginger. I've asked them to please develop a conditioner bar. Fingers crossed! Here's a link to their facebook page.
- Stainless Steel Straws! I love these things. I was so inspired by Jann Arden who posted an insta story of her and her friend at supper before her concert in Moncton back in the fall. Her friend reached into her purse and whipped out a stainless steel straw that she carries around with her. What a great idea! Ours come as a straw and cleaning brush set and we carry "The Last Straw" brand. We sell a thin one for simple liquids and a thicker one for smoothies.
- I do use a Diva Cup. Now, I know this isn't everyone's thing, and I will admit it was a bit weird at first, but I did get used to it. It's also way less expensive than buying tampons and pads each month. If you're not into the internal protection, Lily Pads Reusable Products out of Moncton makes reusable pads and panty liners (as well as other things like breast pads, facial pads, napkins and paper towel).
- We did use cloth diapers for some of my son's diaper-wearing days. Was it extra work? Yep! But it felt important to me to do my part and I knew that we were doing his sweet little cheeks a favour by not having him sit in chemical-ladened cotton day in and day out for the first 3 years of his life.
- If I find half-full water bottles/glasses around the house as I'm cleaning, I'll be sure to dump that water into one of our house plants so I'm not just wasting perfectly good water. And I'm determined to buy a rain barrel for the back yard this spring!
- Something else I'd like to get in the habit of doing is bringing my own pyrex containers to pick up take-out. I know some people who do this when they go to the Farmer's Market to pick up lunch and it's always inspired me. And if we do go to a restaurant, I'll wash and reuse the styrofoam containers our leftovers come in. They're a great way to send food home with guests if you're afraid of not getting your containers back. Just encourage them to wash them and do the same.
So there you have it! Simple and effective ways to cut back on single-use items and be more mindful about waste. What are some things that you've implemented to do your part? Has it been an easy transition or was it harder than expected? Leave a comment! :)