BY now you would have already ratified your New Year’s resolutions – make room for a few more if those don’t include eco-friendly living. “It is vital that we rethink our culture to help mitigate the devastating effects of climate change. But, where to start? The changes that need to be made can seem overwhelming, but with a few simple adjustments, you can help do your bit for the environment. “
Here are a few old habits to leave in 2020
Time to do with single use plastics
At the rate we pollute the ocean with about 12.7 million tonnes of plastic a year, the damage we are doing to marine life and our ecosystem is irreversible. Our actions over the next 10 years will determine the state of the ocean for the next 10,000 years to come. It’s high time to ditch single-use plastics and choose reusable items instead – options are becoming more affordable, and fashionable to their boot, from bamboo straws to customized metal water bottles, and mason jars as mugs for that cup of coffee in the office.
Beauty in the environment
As recently, global beauty and clothing brands are becoming more eco-conscious. Before making your next make-up and clothing purchases, check to see if your favorite brand is making an effort to be Earth-friendly. Oh, and omit the face washings with micro beads. If you haven’t heard the news yet, microbeads are small pieces of plastic often used in cosmetic and cleaning products, less than 5mm in diameter. They are found in types of toothpaste, shower gels, defoliants, body wash, face scrubbers, detergents, cleaning agents, sunscreens, scrubbing agents and synthetic fibers in clothing. There are about 100,000 microbeads in facial wash products. A single shower can lead to 100,000 plastic particles entering the ocean, according to one estimate – the number washed down boxes in the United States alone each day is calculated at around 808 trillion. They are eaten by small plankton and work their way up the food chain where they are found in the stomachs of large fish and fish-eating birds. In addition, you should choose a reusable, reusable face cloth instead of cotton pads.
Food and the environment
The food production, transportation, storage and other processes have a huge environmental impact, affecting water, climate, land and people. While governments and corporations have their roles to play in creating a more sustainable and fair food society, you as an individual have a role to play. Here are a few simple things you can do in the New Year (this list is not exhaustive):
* Do your best to source locally grown food, and choose fruits and vegetables that are in season;
* Make a shopping list before going to the market or supermarket to avoid buying unwanted items;
* Store fruits and vegetables separately because the gas ether, released by fruit ripening, can cause vegetables to rot more quickly;
* Cook only what you need, and don’t be afraid to use the leftovers;
* Kitchen and compost yard waste; a
* Choose more vegetarian and vegan dishes.
Exercise Rs waste management
According to the 5 Rs, four steps should be taken, if possible, before ‘recycling’: refuse, reduce, reuse, replenish, and then recycle. Incorporating this methodology into your daily routine will minimize your carbon footprint.
Reject: the first element of the 5 R. hierarchy. Learning to reject waste can take some practice, but practicing this step is the most effective way to reduce waste. Refuse to buy wasteful or non-recyclable products. When working with vendors, refuse to pack unnecessary products and ask for reusable or returnable containers.
Reduce the use of harmful, wasteful and non-recyclable products. Reducing dependence on these types of products results in less landfill of waste materials and associated associated environmental impacts. We recommend using the minimum amount required at all times to avoid unnecessary waste.
Single use plastics have created a “throw away” culture by normalizing consumer behavior of using materials once and then throwing them away. The rate at which we use plastic has become unimaginable, and the plastic crisis has become one of the world’s greatest environmental challenges (see above). Replace all disposable utensils, Styrofoam cups, water bottles, and paper plates with alternatives that can be composted or reusable (after you use them of course).
For every item that cannot be rejected, reduced, or reused, try to replace it. This method is often referred to as upcycling. Sometimes it requires the use of some creativity, but the possibilities are endless.
Last but definitely not least: recycling. Once you’ve gone through all the other R’s, recycling is the most environmentally friendly waste disposal method.
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