I know a lot of people get discouraged by the zero waste lifestyle – I do too!, you have to realize that it’s a process – and time and patience will be your guides. But the good thing is there are so many little changes that make a BIG impact, so make a simple pledge to do at least one of these things in the list below to keep our planet green – after all, it’s almost Earth Day!
Go meatless for ONE meal this week (or one extra meal if you already go meatless at least once a week), here’s a CRAZY statistic: “if every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetarian foods instead, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads.”
Start using a reusable shopping bag – buy a few, throw one in your purse leave a few in your car, it’s that simple. The average American family takes home 1,500 plastic bags a year – this leads to the use and disposal of 100 billion plastic shopping bags each year in the US alone, don’t be part of that statistic. Just say no to single use plastic!
Commit to walking/riding a bike/carpooling to work just ONCE a week. By carpooling with just one other person ONCE a week you are saving about 26 lbs of CO2 from entering our atmosphere.
Save water – there’s a sexy way to do it: shower with your partner. The standard shower head uses 2.5 gallons of water per minute! There’s also a not sexy way to do it – don’t flush, as they say “if it’s yellow let it mellow…”, a standard toilet uses 3.5 gallons of water a flush! Better yet… do both!
Hang your clothes outside to dry in the summer, or get a drying rack for your apartment if you don’t have any private land. Dryers are energy suckers, an average machine uses 4kWh of energy and produces about 3.96 lbs of CO2 – if each household with a tumble dryer dried their clothes outside once a week they would save over a million tons of CO2 a year!
Sleep in and skip that morning coffee once a week! (actually… this is probably the hardest if you’re like me!) A single cup of coffee takes 55 gallons of water to make – mostly to grow the beans.
Don’t buy water in plastic bottles! Buy a reusable bottle and keep it with you! Americans buy about 7 billion gallons of bottled water per year, that’s about 22 billion plastic bottles that are disposed of, even if they are recycled -which is the future for a minority of these plastic bottles- they will never biodegrade.
Buy bulk. It limits product packaging and cuts down on transport. You can buy pretty much anything in bulk – teas, coffee, pasta, rice, flour – just invest in some bulk bags and jars.
REUSE, REUSE, REUSE! I keep my glass jam jars and plastic containers from the store or take out and reuse them to pack my lunch or even to plant in – best of all it’s free!
Shop Local. Join a CSA, shop at the farmers market, or even grow your own! This minimizes the CO2 footprint of the food you’re eating. A typical American meal contains ingredients from 5 different countries that have traveled an average of 1,500 miles before reaching your tummy. Buying locally reduces pollution and energy.
Written by: Mollie Mac