By Fredrica Syren:
My family and I have been on this green journey for a while and now, and just the other night my husband mentioned how we used to get our water in a big plastic container. Wow, it feels so strange to say that! Almost as though I want to hide in a corner and say, “Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned: I used to drink water from a plastic bottle!!!”
The point is that we have to start somewhere, and we won’t go green and eco-friendly overnight. I often get asked what the first easy steps are to start going green and to reducing one’s waste? Believe me, there are so many easy ways you can start, but I will give you five methods that are easy, won’t cost more and won’t be too inconvenient. But they will have a major impact on how much waste you produce.
- Switch to reusable shopping bags. In most grocery stores these days, you can buy reusable cloth bags for your groceries instead of carry them home in a paper bag — or worse, in a plastic bag — that will most likely end in either the trash or recycling bin as soon as you’re home. Plastic is a huge polluter on our planet and, since it’s made out of durable and harsh chemicals, will take thousand of years to break down.
- Use 100% recycled and unbleached toilet paper individually wrapped in paper: We do not need to cut down trees to have a clean tush when there is plenty of paper ready to be recycled into toilet pa And we definitely do not need harmful chemicals to make the toilet paper perfectly white.
- Switch from plastic water bottles to a glass or metal reusable one: Let’s face it: plastic contains lots of bad chemicals that leak into the water, so you don’t want to hydrate this way anyhow. Invest in a cool and very eco-friendly stainless steel or glass water bottle to take with you everywhere you go. Klean Kanteen is my favorite brand. Just another great and easy way to reduce plastic waste.
- Bring you own coffee cup: If you’re like many people around the world who grab a cup of joe on your way to work, consider bringing your own cup. First of all, it will keep your coffee warm and fresh, and you also will reduce lots of paper cups with plastic tops that would otherwise end up in the trash. As an added bonus, lots of coffee places will give you a discount if you bring your own cups, so you can save the environment and money at the same time.
- Switch from a plastic toothbrush to a biodegradable bamboo toothbrush: It is estimated that over 4.7 billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown away each year and, since you can’t recycle them, they all end up spending an eternity in a landfill. Bamboo toothbrushes are compostable, so instead of hurting earth, they can be turned into nutrition for it.
The big picture is that we are producing way too much trash. So, the first step in becoming more green and eco-friendly is to reduce. And it starts with reducing our waste. We live in a society of convenience, so by changing a few things we do in our daily life (for example, pretty quickly replacing a reusable item for something disposable), we make a huge difference.