Sustainability has become sort of a trend in the past few years. This is a great thing, however one should be very conscious about how they practice sustainability. For example, throwing away your unused liquid body wash in a plastic container to replace it with an eco-friendly bar soap isn’t exactly the most sustainable thing to do. In this article, I will provide some beginner tips that are a sure-fire way to get you practicing sustainability in a manageable way. And no, I won’t just be telling you to get a reusable water bottle or stop using single use plastic bags.
Eliminate or Significantly Reduce Your Organic Food Waste
Organic food waste is one of the biggest contributors to trash in landfill, which is completely avoidable. Many people have the assumption that organic food waste will naturally decompose in the trash, but this is not true. Organic food waste (like banana peels or apple cores) need sunlight, oxygen, and little organisms like worms to help break them down, they will get none of these things in the trash can or in landfill. Plus, the non organic food waste in your trash can will interfere with their breakdown process anyway, and this will cause methane to be exposed to the air which is seriously no good. To counter this, start a compost pile and either donate your scraps to a local compost drop off, or start one in your backyard!
Consider Swapping Your Period Products for Sustainable Alternatives
This doesn’t have to mean using period underwear or a reusable menstrual cup, but those are certainly great options! If you aren’t ready to completely ditch your pads or tampons, consider swapping them out for organic cotton pads and tampons. These options are not made of paper and do not have any plastic applicators or packaging, which is so much better for the environment! If you make the swap though, don’t just throw away the rest of your non eco-friendly period products. Either finish them out, or donate them to a local homeless shelter or women’s center. It’s likely that those places are in need of products anyway.
Whenever You Can, Shop Sustainable
Keep an eye out for companies who are transparent about how their products are made and shipped. No matter what product you buy, it is going to have some sort of environmental footprint. For example, it takes 3x as much water in a standard water bottle just to create the plastic packaging it comes in. Thankfully, there are plenty of sustainable companies out there that describe to the consumer exactly how their products are made and how they are making efforts to ship it in an eco-friendly way. For example, Earth Hero at earthhero.com has product descriptions that tell you what materials it is made out of, how it is packaged, the earth friendly features it has, and what harsh materials it excludes.
Those are my more intermediate level tips for living sustainably. Of course, these things should come after you have already done the groundwork, things like swapping single use water bottles for a reusable one, swapping single use shopping bags with reusable fabric ones, and things of that nature. Living sustainably may seem intimidating, but there are plenty of ways to help the planet, and you do not have to do it perfectly.