Climate alarm is everywhere: Instagram, Facebook and even the news. Sometimes scrolling through social media can be overwhelming seeing countless infographics on climate change and pictures of massive amounts of plastic floating in the ocean. That overwhelming feeling becomes even more so when politicians and businesses seem to do so little to fight the problem. Despite this feeling of hopelessness, there are things you can do to eliminate unnecessary waste in your own life and in theory, decrease the amount of waste we as a society consume as a whole.
Ditch the Plastic
The simplest solution to quit using plastic is to buy reusable bags and bottles, which are sold at the vast majority of department stores. Keep reusable bags in your car or purse for whenever you may need them. If you have a large household and buy lots of groceries, consider buying reusable bags in bulk.
Plastic produce bags are also a large portion of grocery plastic consumption. Don’t feed into it! If buying your produce plastic-free isn’t an option, consider buying reusable produce bags!
If you’re someone like me and already have a large collection of plastic bags at home from over the years, consider upcycling them into plastic mats for the homeless. You can clean out your living space and give to someone who’s in need.
Consider a Waste-Free Period
Periods suck, but what sucks more is the amount of plastic waste they can create. Luckily, periods aren’t a one size fits all solution and there are a few options to switch to a waste-free period.
If you’re a tampon user, consider switching to a Diva Cup. Diva cups are reusable and meant for longer wear.
Another option for tampon wearers is to switch to cardboard or no applicator tampons.
Pad wearers, on the other hand, may be more comfortable wearing period-proof underwear.
If you’re still skeptical about trying new products, double up with period panties and one of the insertable methods, before buying the products make sure they are made for your typical menstrual flow. Also, before testing out your new products at the office or the classroom, try them first in the comfort of your own home.
Reduce Your Consumption of Animal Produce
Sometimes going vegan or vegetarian isn’t possible for everyone. However, with the animal agriculture industry being one of our main polluters, it could be beneficial to try to lessen the amount of meat we consume.
There are quite a few things you can do to reduce your consumption of animal products. If you can’t go completely vegan — try cutting out dairy, going vegetarian, having Meatless Mondays, or even just incorporating a few vegan meals into your diet weekly.
— Meatless Monday (@MeatlessMonday) October 19, 2017
There are lots of dairy-free options for dairy treats such as Ben & Jerry’s Dairy-Free, and milk alternatives such as soy or almond milk.
Non-Meat options also follow along the same lines, with the Beyond Meat Burger sold at A&W and Tim Hortons.
Eat Out Less
Eating fast food less often will help both the environment and your bank account. The packaging that comes with fast food is wasteful and oftentimes can’t be recycled.
Bring your own lunches more! Taking time in your week to meal prep will give you time to reflect on your nutritious choices.
Fast food also includes certain coffee shops that rely on non-biodegradable cups. Have no fear though, you can continue to enjoy your Starbucks waste-free with their reusable cup promotion.
Ask your local coffee shops and fast food chains if they will allow you to bring a reusable cup. Most importantly, if reusable isn’t an option always check to see if your fast food cups and containers are recyclable before just throwing them in the trash.
Baby steps to a zero waste lifestyle ♻️ reusable food storage containers, homemade food such as ?(store bought is often sold in plastic), drinks w reusable straws, shopping w bulk bags + buying more whole foods ?(fruits + veggies require less packaging) #PlasticFreeJuly pic.twitter.com/tSep9ube40
— Organic Mamí (@AubrianaMarie) July 8, 2019
Despite some of the media scare, there are things that you can take control of in your everyday life to use less waste. Sustainability isn’t meant to work by one group of people going zero waste cold turkey, it is about everyone cutting down their waste consumption. Reducing your waste consumption isn’t about being perfect, it’s about being educated and doing as much as in your power.
Let’s go out and save the planet!
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