It’s a rough time for Mother Earth, and we humans are at fault. She’s angry, she’s hot. And, now, scientists have confirmed that we’re well on our way to experience ‘climate catastrophe‘ in our lifetime. Terrifying? You bet it is. But instead of burying our heads in the sand and pretending it’s not happening (which would make things significantly worse) it’s time to own up to what we can do in our own lives–starting immediately–that will help contribute to positive change for the health and happiness of our dear planet.
One simple way to start making a difference today is by reducing the amount of waste you produce in your daily life. Did you know that as Canadians we produce more waste per person than any other country on earth? Yeah, not cool.
In my search for waste-related facts in Canada, I stumbled across a website for ‘Waste Reduction Week‘ in Canada, which just so happens to be kicking off this week from October 15-21, 2018. While WRWC focuses on many aspects of waste, for this article I wanted to focus on plastic waste (one of my ultimate pet peeves.)
If plastic waste doesn’t bother you so much, maybe it will when I share the stat that 8.3 billion tons of plastic waste has been generated around the world since the 1950s and only 23% of those plastics have been recovered or recycled (thank you WRWC website for that tidbit!). Or what about the fact that 1 billion single-use plastic bags are handed our in Canada each year?
If you’re ready to make a positive change to help mother earth, keep reading for 7 simple ways to reduce plastic waste in your daily life today:
Fill Out City of Toronto’s Single-Use Plastic Survey
Got a spare 5 minutes? Do you have strong feelings about single-use plastic like I do? Then please, take a moment to fill out this quick survey for The City of Toronto (before October 28th) to consider the public’s feedback on how to tackle the reduction of single-use plastics and takeout packaging in our city. Click HERE to fill out the survey and give your feedback today. Seriously, it will take less than five minutes.
Consider Purchasing Concentrated Products
This year I’ve had the opportunity to work with Yves Rocher Canada–a French botanical beauty and skincare company that I admire greatly for their commitment to providing consumers with naturally derived products at an affordable price. One of their products that I’ve been completely fascinated by is their new concentrated shower gel that provides you with enough product for 40 showers in a miniature 100ml bottle. To give you an idea, this is the same amount of product per shower you’d get out of a standard 400ml bottle. Not only does this reduce its impact on the planet with 50% less plastic than the standard bottle, but it’s also made with 25% plastic from recycled bottles. The formula itself is Paraben, Silicone and Preservative free and easily biodegradable. Additionally, for every bottle of concentrated shower gel sold, Yves Rocher will plant 1 tree. So far they’ve already planted over 82 million trees and are committed to planting 100 million trees by 2020! It’s this type of forward (and green) thinking that makes me such a fan of a brand like Yves Rocher and I hope that more global brands will take note of how it can be possible to be kind to nature while still building a profitable business.
Be Mindful About How You Consume Coffee (or Tea)
Look, I love convenience just as much as the next busy person, but not when it’s at the expense of the planet. Sure, a little pod of coffee that you can pop into a machine in the morning might help you get out the door faster, but now landfills around the world are full of them. Even the co-founder of K-Cups, John Sylvan, has said he regrets that he invented them. A few years ago, the Canadian Filmmaker, Mike Hachey, launched a Kill The K-Cup campaign that caused Keurig to commit to a ‘recyclable’ option in the years to come. However, why not take action towards real sustainability when compostable options for the beloved K-Cup are already widely available at major retailers across the country? Even if you’re not a K-Cup culprit, there’s a good chance you purchase a coffee or tea when you’re out, and could easily replace your disposable cup with one that’s reusable. Keep one at home, at your desk, and even in your bag!
Say No To Plastic Bags
This may seem like a no-brainer but when you starting counting the amount of plastic bags from retailers that people walk around with on a daily basis, it’s clearly a (major) on-going problem. I’ll admit: I’m totally guilty of accepting plastic bags (especially from grocery stores) here and there, which is even more frustrating when I look at the mountain of tote bags I have in my home. Most often, I try to be as prepared as possible by bringing bags with me when I know I’m going to shop, or by having an extra bag in my purse for emergencies. Next time you leave the house without a reusable tote bag or go to accept a plastic bag from a retailer, remember that you’re contributing to the 1 billion single-use bags that are handed our in Canada each year. If you, like me, sometimes have trouble remembering to grab a reusable bag before you run out the door, consider leaving some hanging by your coat or neatly folded in a basket for easy access when on your way out.
Bring Your Own Containers For Takeaway
The survey I linked above for The City of Toronto focuses heavily on single-use plastic and takeout packaging from businesses, especially in the food industry. If you’ve ever ordered takeout before (I’m sure there’s a good chance you have) then you’ll know just how quickly a mountain of excess packaging can accumulate for a single meal. Nowadays, bringing a reusable travel mug to a coffee shop is quite common and, for the most part, businesses are happy to serve you a brew in a cup you’ve brought from home. As customers, we pushed for this change, and I believe we can do the same when it comes to purchasing takeout foods. The chances are, when you’re ordering takeout for lunch or dinner, you’re ordering from a business that’s relatively close to your office or home. So why not stretch those legs of yours and walk over with re-usable containers for them to pack your order in? A small business near my home has already put this into practice and actually encourages their customers to bring their own containers by offering a discount on their order when they do.
Avoid Buying Bottled Water
News flash: bottled water ain’t good for you! And it’s even worse for our planet. Of course, not everyone is lucky enough to live in a city or country where clean water is readily available, but, if you’re reading this from Toronto right now, you’re #BLESSED with some of the cleanest and most delicious tap water IN THE WORLD! If tap water freaks you out, buy a filter and get it extra clean for you before you fill up a glass or reusable bottle and say goodbye to purchasing bottled water for as long as you possibly can. Do you really want to contribute to the 2.5 billion litres of bottled water that Canadians use each year? I truly hope not.
Re-Use Your Ziplock Bags
Do you throw out your ziplock bags every time you use them? If the answer is yes, stop right there! Ziplock bags are more durable than you might think, and they can easily be washed or rinsed out, dried, and then re-used, and re-used and re-used! Seriously, I’m pretty sure my mom has some ziplock bags that she’s legitimately been using for YEARS. My parents are next level when it comes to their recycling and waste reduction, and it’s something I strive to live up to in my own home.
While it may take a bit of discipline and planning, reducing the amount of plastic waste you produce in your daily life really isn’t that difficult. For more information on Waste Reduction Week in Canada, please click HERE! And to browse the concentrated shower gel collection from Yves Rocher, please click HERE.
Do it for Mother Earth!
(Story by Editor-in-Chief, @GracieCarroll)