Just today I saw in the news about a story about a young woman who has not produced trash for the past two years. That is cool, and I was taking a closer look at my habits. To start with, I have to admit that I need to do a better job with coffee cups. Once or twice a week I like to buy a cup of coffee from Starbucks. If I were more environmentally conscious, I could bring my mug and have them fill it. The other thing that I need to do better is to remember to take my refillable water bottle with me. I do have the best intention, but often forget to bring it with me, and I end up having to buy a bottle of water. How much trash do you produce?
If you’re anything like the average American, it’s a good amount. According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), in 2012, the average U.S. household produced 1,600 pounds of trash, and America as a whole produced about 251 million tons of trash. To put it visually for you that’s enough to cover the state of Texas in garbage 2.5 times over. Isn’t that crazy? In addition, America accounts for about one-third of the world’s waste, and a lot of the plastic waste ends up in our oceans, which endangers fish and other wild-life. The worst part is; more than one million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals choke and die each year after catching trash that they mistake for food.
You might wonder, what are some realistic and easy ways to cut back plastic items? To start, you can bring some stainless steel fork and spoon in your purse or leave some at the office so that you don’t have to use a plastic one. The other great idea is to swap plastic toothbrushes for those made from bamboo. Those bamboo toothbrushes are 100% compostable so that you are not sending more plastic to the landfill every three months or so.
As a side benefit, it’s also a fantastic way to save money. Packaging is expensive, and the fancier it is, the more waste it produces. When it comes to grocery, try to buy from farmer’s market or other markets where you can grab your produce and put them into re-usable shopping bags. One great idea is to take a foldable trunk organizer with you. It allows you to put your grocery directly into the organizer and after you are all done with shopping, lift the entire trunk organizer into the car and once at home, into your house. That is environmentally friendly, and it saves money as well by not having to pay for grocery bags.
Those are some simple and good ideas of being more environmentally conscious. Each of us has a responsibility of reducing garbage and landfill. Let’s make 2015 a year of less litter. Cheers to your health!