It’s been a while since I’ve posted something regarding sustainability; although, it’s something I think about all the time. For a few updates, I would say I’ve improved on being eco-friendly with gift giving and recycling. It’s becoming more second nature for me to give gifts that are either experience (gift certificates, museum passes) or something that is handmade or fair trade. I have also cut down giving cards, as well. Since there are many more stores now that are jumping onto being more green, sustainable gifts are easier to get. With recycling, I make sure to check on the material if it’s recyclable before throwing packaging away. I’ve always had this in mind, but I think it’s become much easier for me now.
A few suggestions:
- Check out your local grocery stores. They may be able to recycle your extra plastic bags.
- Look into what your local recycling center will take. They may recycle more items than what you currently think.
- Electronic stores may also have recycle stations for old cell phones, ink cartridges, computer parts and light bulbs.
- Remember that donating to goodwill or thrift stores or to friends/family members are options if you have an item you want to dispose of. Please don’t put in the trash if you have other options. (I’ve received and given items (including food) to friends/family and they’re always appreciative as I am since it’s a win-win for everyone.)
I also recently researched a company I heard of for a while called Terracycle. I was always frustrated about how chip bags, pens and teeth cleaning products weren’t recyclable. Luckily, they do! They recycle all sorts of things, too, and partner with brand name companies to make sure the packaging goes back into use. I also like that for every item you recycle, they give some monetary donation to a charity of your choice. I’m not sure of specifics, but if you look into their website, it seems like a good way for organizations and schools to jump on (and obviously individuals, too.) So save those snack bags and inkless pens and get recycling!
Another thing to think about is to look into your pantry. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but really go through the cans & boxes of food you have and the fridge because before you know it, time will fly and the food you were planning on using may need to be thrown out. To save the food (and carbon emissions from landfills), buy what you can realistically use before it expires. This is an area in which I have improved greatly, but would like to be better at as well.
A few suggestions:
- Donate the food if you know you can’t get to it. Give to friends/family or shelter or other community organization that accepts.
- If you need to use up a particular item, I like to search online for easy recipes. You’d be surprised of the cool dishes or snacks you’re able to make.
- Meal plan (I loosely do this and I’m more better at for some weeks than others, but it does reduce food waste).
- Check the expiration dates before you buy the food item and make sure it’s something you really can use within that time.
- Buying bulk may save money, but be realistic with portions and cravings. Is it something you will be happy to eat again and again for future months?