Here are three ways to do it easily…
A few weeks ago, after changing our garbage bag for what felt like the third time in a few days, I couldn’t fathom how it was even possible to create so much waste so quickly. So I decided to pay attention. Every time my hand stretched toward the bin, I made a mental note of it. And to be frank, I was really shocked by the ease with which I was throwing things away without thinking about:
1) what I was tossing
2) how it got to the point of being disposable
3) what that meant long-term.
I didn’t really think much about the waste I produced before shifting my life indoors; I guess it was all “out of sight, out of mind.” Now? It’s all I can think about.
So I’ve decided to make some changes. If you’ve got sustainability on the mind — or want to put it there — here are three easy ways to get started:
Turn food scraps into stars.
Did you know you can freeze that half-glass of red wine left at the bottom of a bottle in an ice cube tray to use as a base for sauces and soups? Peeling potatoes? Use the skins that would otherwise end up in the bin for baked potato chips! Stale bread? Turn it into gnocchi! And you haven’t lived until you’ve turned leftover pasta into spaghetti pancakes.
With a few simple changes to the way we already live, shop, cook and eat, it’s totally possible to reduce the amount of food waste we create down to virtually nothing. Your shaman on this waste-free journey? Giovanna Torrico and Amelia Wasiliev’s “The Zero Waste Cookbook.” Within the pages of this legitimately genius tome, you’ll find countless tips and steps for sourcing food locally (less waste on the journey from farmer to retailer, plus fresher food), planning your meals and storing food wisely (knowing what you already have and how to use it prevents overbuying and spoilage). Oh yeah, and tons of recipes to help you use — and eat! — everything you buy.
Rethink single-use feminine products.
According to global statistics, the average woman will have around 450 periods in her lifetime. If you do the math (and I did), that equals about 21,000 pads and tampons per person. That, plus packaging and wrapping, equals a LOT of waste.
Luckily, you’ve got a sustainable alternative in the Saalt Cup, a reusable, soft silicone cup worn internally that collects your period (as opposed to absorbing it like a tampon). It’s easy to insert, stays put thanks to an ingenious design, and is simple to remove, empty, rinse, and reuse. Because it’s made from reusable silicone, the Saalt Cup is the epitome of sustainability, with one cup lasting up to 10 years of regular monthly periods. What’s more is that right alongside Saalt’s mission of sustainability is their commitment to ending Period Poverty by providing access to safe, effective, hygienic period products for women around the world. To date, they’ve donated over 7,000 of their cups, and give a percentage of their revenue to fund initiatives in menstrual health, education and sustainability in the areas that need it most.
A chemical-free, sustainable, altruistic alternative to period protection? Sign me up.
Say goodbye to plastic, plain and simple.
I want to share some truly staggering facts about plastic and the impact they have on the environment:
* Half of the plastic we use, we use only once.
* An average American throws away 185 pounds of plastic every year.
* Half a billion plastic bags are used around the world annually — that’s one million plastic bags every minute.
* 10% of all the waste produced globally is plastic.
* It takes 500-1,000 years for plastic to degrade.
* We throw away enough plastic in a year to circle the planet four times — nearly 800 million miles of plastic annually.
If you’ve already converted to reusable water bottles and mugs, metal straws and totes for shopping, you may be wondering what’s left to change. The answer is: plastic sandwich and freezer bags. That’s right: the zip-top baggies you don’t think twice about before filling up with snacks and then tossing once you’re done. While you can technically wash and reuse them, you could also invest in a set of actually washable, reusable storage bags, like those from Stasher.
Made of medical-grade silicone, Stasher’s line of storage bags are durable, freezer- and dishwasher-safe, infinitely reusable and look a little like they would be equally at home in your kitchen as they would a deep-sea diving mission. Because they come in so many shapes and sizes, there’s truly one for every food-storage need you might have. (And, according to Stasher, at least 23 non-food ways to use them, too!)
So there you have it. Maybe it’s due time to rethink your routine. You might be amazed by how much money and space you’re saving…even on your trash bags.