How can we be sustainable consumers? We have another die warning from the UN on the climate crisis we are experiencing. Buying more stuff does not help the earth. If you need to purchase items, do it in a more sustainable manner. See below.
We don’t need to purchase to be happy. I went to see the new Fred Rogers movie. The messages are subtle, but say a lot. Rogers was a master at helping children to feel important. and to feel good about themselves. He thought television was an excellent educational tool, but had been ruined because it tried to turn children into consumers demanding things they didn’t need. As we enter the holiday season and a time of extreme consumerism read more about Fred and his philosophy here
Consumerism and saving money is on our minds. Unfortunately, we have become a throwaway society. Do you use an item for a short time then throw it away, and even worse we raise our children to get bored quickly from that item they just had to have. Again, we don’t need to purchase to be happy. This holiday, how can we be more sustainable and honor the season at the same time?
Join or create your own Friday climate march #FridayforFuture
Always shop with a reusable bag and avoid all plastic.
Shop reuse stores. Some of my favorite clothes come from consignment stores.
Give gifts of help, time and outside events.
Shop retailers that pay living wages, and are local over big box stores.
Buy nothing and save 100%. Reuse what you have!
Purchase items that will last instead of cheap junk.
“I only feel angry when I see waste, when I see people throwing away things we could use.” Mother Teresa Only 9% of recyclables are recycled in the United States compared with Germany and Norway that recycle in the 60% range. Plastic manufacturers continue to create more plastic and push recycling. Unfortunately, recycling is not a sustainable option. I hope you will work hard to recycle your bottles, containers and paper waste because making things from recycled material is awesome and saves lots of energy and natural resources, but as consumers we need to also purchase items made from recycled materials.
A new paradigm is needed, we all need to reduce the waste and recycling we generate. Wasteful packaging needs to stop! Make it a priority in your life to reduce the waste you generate. Here are some simple ideas to get you started:
First, cook at home instead of take-out. Yes, it is some work, but organizing to have a few meals made ahead or in crock pots can reduce lots of waste and be fun at the same time.
Always carry your reusable water bottle and reusable bags.
Be a smart shopper, always think how you can purchase less waste, especially plastic waste. Don’t purchase plastic or Styrofoam trayed produce. Many stores have cloth bags you can purchase for produce.
Shop in bulk and refill any bottles your grocery store makes possible. Food coops have lots of refill options.
Choose products out of recycled material if you can find them.
Never put plastic bags in your recycling cart, recycle them at your local stores.
Reducing single-use plastic consumption is an important way we can make a positive change for our earth. We can make a big difference, and change the way we live our lives. Let’s start with One Plastic-Free Day, June 6. It’s not easy reducing your plastic foot-print, but it is possible. Becoming aware of all the plastic we purchase helps to start making change.
It is my hope that if we don’t purchase plastic items corporations will realize they need to make bottles and containers out of something that decomposes and can be composted. The plastic and oil industry will do everything they can to stop progress. That is why the consumer needs to speak!
Plastics are found in the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the fish we eat. I think this raises the bar that we need to make changes to our plastic life-style and fast.
My plastic-free journey has taken several years, it has been challenging, but fun at the same time. Filling bottles and containers with bulk item has just become habit. Food co-ops make it easy. It just takes a little organization to make a grocery list and figure which containers are needed for filling. I reuse the bottles and containers I have accumulated from earlier purchases. Also, we never eat at places that don’t use real dishes and utensils, but are still trying to remember to say, “No straw!” We never leave home without reusable water bottles and washable reusable bags. This past year we have begun making cookies, yogurt and humus with items from bulk shopping. Something I never wanted to take on, but now I make it fun, and zero waste cooking is healthy, rewarding and satisfying.
What are some items that are impossible to purchase in bulk and need to come in plastic?
Here are a few quick easy zero waste ideas from my local county: “There are many ways to avoid single-use items. Want a quick list? Pack your lunch in reusable containers. Forgo the straw in your drink. Bring your own mug to the coffee shop. Bring reusable bags, produce bags and containers to the grocery store. Support businesses that serve food on reusable dishes.” Hennepin County
Recycling is important, but it just isn’t enough to solve our plastic problem. What is the solution? Last week I had this letter (below) published in the http://www.startribune.com/ in response to Target rolling out their new “green” products:
Earth-friendly line is insufficient; stop stocking single-use plastic
Plastic bottles, plastic bottles — Target must have missed the memo on how harmful single-use plastic is to our Earth (“Target rolls out earth-friendly household goods,” April 23). To be truly green, Target needs to offer consumers the ability to refill their own bottles with these new “green” products. Customers who care about all the plastic in our environment can now reuse and refill their bottles at Minnesota’s excellent food co-ops, or the new zero-waste Tare Market in Minneapolis where consumers can save money and help our environment at the same time. Many of these bulk products are even Minnesota-sourced. Let’s move to the paradigm of reusing instead of adding more single-use plastic to our landfills, and I’m encouraging Target to become the business leader in this reuse/refill movement. health4earth
On this Earth Week, can you find ways to reduce your plastic footprint? I am happy with my recent efforts to reduce plastic: Plastic rapping on toilet paper is gone, milk for yogurt making comes from a reusable bottle, and I refill body lotion jars with scent-free lotion from my local food coop.
Plastic is very harmful to our Earth, but it is also harmful to our health. Read about the seven types of plastic and which ones are the most harmful to our human health here. Also, a new study claims we are even inhaling microplastics. We need to become aware of the harm plastic is doing, and I hope you will start the effort to boycott plastic today.
Ideas from my county to reduce plastic. “There are many ways to avoid single-use items. Want a quick list? Pack your lunch in reusable containers. Forgo the straw in your drink. Bring your own mug to the coffee shop. Bring reusable bags, produce bags and containers to the grocery store. Support businesses that serve food on reusable dishes.” Hennepin County
Read about the ten companies that are flooding our planet with throw away plastic. They need to take responsibility for the harm they are doing!
Plastic lasts more than a lifetime! Humans have created 9 billion tons of plastic since 1950 and most of this plastic still exists on earth. Only 9 percent has been recycled, and 11 percent incinerated. That leaves much of the plastic ever produced floating around in our waterways, poisoning fish, or releasing chemicals in landfills. As citizens of this planet we should be doing everything we can to reduce the amount of plastic we use.
The PBS NewsHour is doing an interesting series on plastic this week. I hope you will watch. See below:
What is Overshoot Day? It is the day the people on earth start using more resources than the Earth can renew. In other words the last five months of the year we are living on borrowed time using more resources than the Earth can regenerate. Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when we (all of humanity) have used more from nature than our planet can renew in the entire year. To stay even we would need 1.7 earths to live on. All countries are not equal in the amount of the earth’s resources they use. The United States is not great, using the most resources. The USA would need 5 Earths to supply their needs, Australia would need 4 Earths to meet their needs, China would need 3 Earths, and India and many other countries helps balance it out and only would need 7/10th of an Earth to meet their resource needs. Read more here.
We use the resources of 1.7 Earths.
We use more resources and services than nature can regenerate.
What about the future? I wish it were easier to solve this problem. We consume too much and waste even more. Everyday we need to think how important clean water and clean air are to our survival. Start by cutting food waste, use fewer chemicals, strive for zero waste and quality when we make purchases, and of course, drive less. If everyone does a small amount, it can add up to a lot!
The Global Footprint Network has listed the four following solution areas to address ecological overshoot:
Cities: If we reduce driving by 50 percent around the world and replace one-third of car miles with public transportation and the rest by walking and biking, we can #MoveTheDate of Overshoot Day back 12 days.
Energy: Reducing the carbon component of humanity’s Ecological Footprint by 50 percent would #MoveTheDate 93 days.
Food: If everyone in the world cut food waste in half, reduced the Footprint intensity of their diets, and consumed world-average calories, we would #MoveTheDate 38 days.
Population: If every other family in the world had one less child, we would move Overshoot Day 30 days by 2050.
What are you doing to reduce your global footprint? Today as I was grocery shopping, refilling my containers, striving for zero waste, and being plastic-free. What good ideas do you have?