These are all issues our planet faces today, but the biggest issue is that many people are unaware or disconnected from these threats. Organizations such as: WWF, GreenPeace, and Wildlife Conservation Society are working hard to spread the word of how dire these issues are, yet the general public (as well as industries around the world) get caught up in the conveniences of plastic bottles, frequent travel, and fast "food".
Topic 1: Pollution.
I remember hearing the phrase, "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" as early as third grade, but sadly not many of us have stuck to that motto. I try my best to recycle, keep a low carbon footprint, and do what I can to help others do the same, but that can sometimes be challenging. I won't lie to you, I have way too much junk. I have clothes in boxes in the basement that I haven't worn in years, but I keep around "just in case." I forget my reusable shopping bags all the time, and I tend to buy foods in various packages (which I do recycle, but still). Reading stories of people living a zero waste lifestyle have inspired me to declutter my home - as well as my head. Being surrounded by "stuff" might have not been our intention, but over the years it piles up and can cause unnecessary stress. It also causes stress on the planet! Throwing away hard plastics, glass containers, aluminum, and other long-term decomposers means that they sit in land fills and don't break down. Depending on where you live, those plastics can be swept into bodies of water, eaten by various animals, and overall are just an eyesore. Luckily there are plenty of ways to reduce our impact on the planet while saving money too!
1. The first awesome way to help the planet is to RECYCLE! Most recycling bins accept paper, cans, glass, and card board, but TerraCycle is a company that has figured out how to recycle hard-to-recycle waste! This includes chewing gum, cigarette butts, and paper scraps! So cool. If you are new to the recycling game, here are some basic guidlines that can help!
2. One of the most self-explanatory, yet difficult ways to help the planet is to REDUCE YOUR USE!
You won't need to recycle as much if you don't consume as much! I am not telling you to stop eating to help the planet, I am telling you to eat more whole fruits, veggies, nuts, and anything else that does not require a lot of packaging! Reducing your usage of disposable items, electricity, water, and any other resources, you can make a huge impact on the planet as well as your bills! It's a win-win!
3. Lastly, REUSE your items! Speaking of packaging... Utilizing reusable items can make such a positive impact on the environment as well as your life! Think about all the everyday items we just throw away... plastic bags, toothbrushes, diapers, conainters, etc. Did you know that there are plenty of reusable AND/OR biodegradable products out there!? Here is a list of some of my favorites that can make a MAJOR impact!:
A) Reusable Cleaning Cloths! These cloths are biodegradable, versitile, and can replace up to 15 rolls of paper towels PER CLOTH! Click on the link & purchase a 4 pack for only $6.99. That can replace around 60 rolls of paper towels! They are dishwasher and dryer safe. ---> Plus, they can be placed in a compost when you're finished! :)
B) Biodegradable Baby Diapers! Think of how many diapers a baby uses each day... If you are using disposable ones, you can throw out around TEN diapers PER DAY! The materials these diapers are made of do not break down easily in the landfill, so using biodegradable diapers can make a huge difference! The diapers I have linked are made of bamboo which means they are durable, eco friendly, protect from diaper rash, and are competitively priced. Your baby and the environment will thank you!
C) Biodegradable Toothbrushes! One hard plastic item that gets thrown away often is the toothbrush! These charcoal infused bamboo toothbrushes are biodegradable (remove bristles before placing in the compost), and actually help whiten your teeth! The best part about bamboo toothbrushes is that they are naturally antibacterial and antimicrobial! The specific toothbrushes I have linked are awesome because they come with a 30 day money back guarantee, 100% recyclable packaging, and this company donates toothbrushes to those in need! What more can you ask for :)
D) Reusable Stainless Steel Drinking Straws! Plastic straws, as many of you might know, have been known to cause issues with our sea creatures in ways such as: the poor turtle who got one stuck in his nose and the birds and fish that eat them by mistake. We throw away so much plastic, and it has to stop! This is where reusable straws come into play. Keep a straw in your car, your purse, your pantry, etc. for whenever you might need one. This set comes as a 6 pack, so you won't run out! It also comes with two cleaning brushes :)
E) Compostable Plates! These plates are made from unbleached, chlorine free, pesticide free, dye free, natural discarded wheat stalk and sugarcane fiber. They are microwave safe, liquid/oil resistant, and can be used for both hot and cold foods. They contain no plastic or wax lining, are strong and sturdy, cut resistant, tree-free, environmentally beneficial, compostable in any industrial composting facilities, and gluten free. You will get 50 plates for $2.73 :)