I love Earth Day has morphed into Earth Month. I propose Earth Year!
I began my Earth Month celebrations by putting a deposit down on a Tesla! I am so excited that I will be driving an electric car by the end of next year! My car will often be charged off-the-grid. It will be the greenest option for most of my transportation needs.
Not everyone can afford to make big changes like buying an electric car or installing solar panels on their home for Earth Month, and you don’t have to. Small changes do add up.
Reflect on your lifestyle. What are a few small few steps you could take to live more simply and with less impact on the Earth?
- Do you remember to use reusable bags at every store (not just the grocery store)? If you forget your bags do you just carrying your items out to the car in the cart or by hand?
- Do you walk between errands that are close together instead of driving from parking lot to parking lot?
- Do you shun bottled water and use a reusable water bottle?
- Do you avoid purchasing cheaply made goods from foreign lands?
- Have you switched all your light bulbs to LEDs?
- Do you over consume? Do you have too many clothes, shoes, etc?
- Do you recycle? Compost?
Wherever you fall on the green scale, there is always more that can be done. One simple goal is to reduce waste in your household.
Tom’s of Maine is celebrating Earth Month with the Less Waste Challenge.
Did you know that the average American family produces nearly 125 pounds of trash every week?1)EPA 2013
That is insane! That’s 6,500 pounds a year or over three tons!
The #LessWasteChallenge asks families to “reduce 1 lb. of waste a week to help our kids’ future”. One pound is not much. It is a simple step that adds up when we all do it together.
The adage of the 3 Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle has been effective. Americans are getting better at recycling. According to the EPA:
Recycling and composting prevented 87.2 million tons of material away from being disposed in 2013, up from 15 million tons in 1980. This prevented the release of approximately 186 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent into the air in 2013—equivalent to taking over 39 million cars off the road for a year.2)https://www3.epa.gov/epawaste/nonhaz/municipal/index.htm
All 3 Rs are important, but their order does signify weightiness of each action. They do apply to Less Waste Challenge. If you reduce what you consume, there is less to discard. Reducing is the first step!
When we reuse something, like a zip lock back, we can extend the life of a disposable product. The last step is recycling.
Recycling is great, but it does take energy. It is not the panacea for our waste solution, but it is definitely a better ending then the landfill.
Zero waste would be the ultimate goal. In Europe, many companies are making zero waste decisions. i24news reports:
What will you do with your next empty shampoo bottle or milk carton? At best, you will recycle them, thinking you’ve done your part in saving the planet. But followers of the increasingly-popular Zero Waste lifestyle disagree: recycling is only the final step, they say. First we need to reduce and reuse.
When the world’s first package-free supermarket opened in Berlin a year ago, it attracted global interest as a new green initiative: instead of selling pre-packaged items, all produce – pasta, beans, flour, oils and vinegars – is offered in large bins with dispensers, and buyers are expected to bring their own containers or purchase reusable ones on site. As the original “Unverpackt” (unpacked, in German) marks its first birthday, it’s already seen as part of a movement.3)http://www.i24news.tv/en/news/international/europe/86828-150925-think-before-you-buy
Tom’s of Maine has zero waste goals at its factory.4)http://www.tomsofmaine.com/goodness-report/home Zero waste may not be a reality for your home yet, but you can participate in Tom’s Less Waste Challenge easily. Tom’s has teamed up with Terracycle to offer some great, simple ideas to reduce waste that are quite impactful:
Reducing your waste by a pound a week is a lot cheaper than buying a Tesla! It’s a simple tangible goal to help you celebrate Earth Day year round!
References [ + ]