It’s been awhile since I’ve written so hello!!
I’m sure you’ve already heard… but today is Earth Day! Today is a day in which we can collectively demonstrate our support for environmental protection; but better yet, let’s celebrate Earth Day year-round by doing good things for our planet! In return, we are doing good for our family, ourselves, and future generations.
You don’t need an electric car or solar panels (although I highly recommend them!) to celebrate. Here are my top 3 simple ways in which I recommend celebrating Earth Day all year-round:#1 Recycle, recycle, recycle…
If you don’t already recycle please consider doing so. Burning garbage or throwing waste into landfills produces byproducts that pollute our environment. Runoff from landfills and metals like mercury find their way into streams, rivers and oceans, fish, and eventually into human beings, harming our health (www.grownyc.org).
Did you know that it takes a glass bottle approximately 1,000,000 years to break down in a landfill? Every time I throw one away rather than recyle it I feel guilty, and I should! Not only am I filling up our soils with trash but I’m causing more natural resources to be used to create a new bottle. It takes 95 percent less energy to make an aluminum can out of recycled aluminum than out of raw virgin materials, and making glass from recycled material allows manufacturers to run their furnaces at lower temperatures, also saving energy (www.calrecycle.ca.org).
Recycling does take a little practice and diligence at the beginning. First, you need to be well educated on what is recyclable in your city. In Austin, we are so lucky to have single-stream recycling. Here is a list of all that is recyclable through Austin Resource Recovery. Our family’s curb-side recycle bin is four times larger than our trash bin… I love it! If your city offers a limited amount of curbside recycling consider researching alternative recycling facilities in your area.
Second, it helps to be organized. Having a dedicated place to recycle is key. Having a large container handy in the kitchen is critical since that is the area of the home that encounters the most recyclables. The office is another great spot to have a recycling container. And if you have a two-story home I highly recommend keeping a smaller bin upstairs to catch those recyclables like paper, cardboard and plastics that would normally be thrown in the trashcan out of convenience. Like all organizing, getting in the habit of putting things where they go is key to being a good recycler.
#2 Don’t buy junk Everyone has a different definition of “junk”, but my definition is something that is going be used only temporarily and is intended for a quick fix or emotional high. Buying junk is not only bad for our environment because we are telling manufacturers to make more of it and to use more natural resources and pollute our environment when doing so… but it ALSO clutters our house and makes it much more difficult to keep our homes organized and peaceful.
When tempted to buy something ask yourself these 3 questions:
- For how long will I use it?
- Where will I store it?
- Do I really love it?
#3 Do buy quality products
On the flip-side, I highly recommend buying quality, non-consumable goods where possible. Cloth napkins, aluminum cups, glass storage-ware, glass or aluminum straws, reusable shopping bags, toys that will be played with for many many years, clothing that will last more than a season, quality home furnishings… all are ways in which can you really make an impact not only on our planet but in keeping your house simplified and your family in good health!
Recent research indicates that plastics are still not free of harmful chemicals, even BPA-free ones, so the less plastic you use the better. Below are a few products that I use in my own home and absolutely love.
Similar to organizing, changing over to more eco-friendly habits can be an investment up front but reeps benefits (monetary, health, etc.) in no time. I can attest that it also makes things more simple… you consume less, you have less, and you enjoy and appreciate the things you have so you take better care of them.
My daughter uses these simply designed Lifefactory Glass Bottles to take water to school ever day. No more plastic thermoses and no more crevices to clean. We have two of these and that’s all we need. We’ve had them over a year and I imagine will have them for many more.
Glasslock glass storage containers are so handy in the kitchen. Leftovers can be stored without leaching chemicals and can be easily be moved from the fridge to the microwave.
These Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel cups (set of 4) are awesome. My husband loves them for beer and they are great for keeping smoothies cold as well. They would make a great birthday or Father’s Day gift for that special man in your life… just sayin’.I bought these Glass Dharma Straws new at a local consignment shop but they are sold on Amazon. Highly recommend them for an enjoyable non-chemical and eco-friendly smoothie sipping experience! They are so easy to clean and don’t get really cold like stainless ones do.
Lastly, in addition to reusable grocery bags I like to use reusable produce bags at the grocery store. There is absolutely no need to waste all those plastic bags, even recycling them wastes resources! I have a couple brands and both have been sturdy and have washed well in the washing machine.
I could go on an on regarding eco-friendly products that I love but I’ll stop there. What’s your favorite? I would love to hear from you; leave me a comment below.
Happy Earth Day!
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