One of my goals I set as part of 30 goals before 30 was to get more involved with an environmental nonprofit because I want to do more to help with sustainability efforts and to combat global warming. I believe the planet is in dire need of our attention. There are lots of problems and issues in the current state of the world. The environment should be number one.
So I explored various environmental nonprofits and donated to some. But, I actually felt like I was doing more when I took steps to personally reduce my footprint and shared tips with others. So I’m writing down these new habits I’ve developed, to keep myself reaffirmed and encourage others to take small steps on their own!
- Avoid using straws (or plastic lids).
There has been a real movement around this in the past couple years. Two notable campaigns that motivated me were #stopsucking campaign and the #1lessstraw campaign. It’s gotta be the easiest way you can have an impact, am I right?! There are other options when you do really want or need a straw — paper straws! So fun, so cute!
2. Get my Le Croix fix from the water cooler.
Those Le Croix sodas are so tasty and healthy it’s hard to say no. But, I can get sparkling water from our water cooler machine and that’s a great alternative. I can reduce my aluminum can waste and indulge in a cute reusable water bottle or two 😊. There are so many new and interesting reusable water bottle designs, I’ve even started a pinterest board with my favorites.
3. Bring a reusable bag everywhere incase I do some shopping.
I keep these little guys in my backpack, weekend bag, etc. just in case we’re out shopping somewhere and I need a bag. Before I would always be forgetting to bring a reusable bag and never had one when I needed it. With these foldable ones, I can just always have one with me wherever I go.
4. Buy less things.
I really like knick knacks… and so I’ve been trying my best to reduce my consumption. I recently watched a documentary on Netflix about Minimalism that really motivated me to reduce the amount of ‘things’ in my apartment. We don’t have the biggest apartment so this is useful on multiple levels.
5. Eat less meat, especially red meat.
There are many benefits to eating less meat. But, it can be controversial so I’ll stick to why it’s important for the environment. Producing meat at scale requires use of lots of resources like land and cattle feed. In addition, animals produce byproduct that can be toxic at scale. Here’s a great 3-minute explainer on how beef consumption directly effects the environment by my former employer CIR.
So my first step towards eating less meat was changing my mindset that I don’t need to have meat with every meal! When I️ have it, I tend to choose chicken over beef and if there are yummy vegetarian options I choose them. Chipotle is a great example. Their vegetarian option, sofritas, is delicious and always my first choice!
6. Reduce my consumption of single use plastic.
Every morning, when I have my oatmeal and coffee for breakfast at the office, I use the reusable cups instead of the single use bowls and cups. I may end up with a lot of cups at my desk, but it’s the price I will pay for helping the planet! I also avoid buying fruit at at Trader Joe’s because of all the packaging they use. And, when I get takeout, I tell them to leave out the utensils.
7. Replace plastic items with sustainable/organic.
After attending a presentation by the Lazy Environmentalist, I decided to buy bamboo toothbrushes from Goodwell. They are a bit more expensive but it’s a small price to pay for helping the environment! After having used them for about 4 months now, I believe they are as good as or better than a regular toothbrush. Plus, I have the added benefit of knowing I’m not putting toxic plastic in my mouth twice a day.
8. Buy refillable household products.
One of my biggest frustrations is packaging. I see so much waste and thus, so much opportunity to reduce waste and help the environment. In places like Germany, it’s normal to buy refills of your household staples that are in bigger, less durable, more degradable containers.
I’ve started buying Method dishwashing soap. I reuse my cute soap bottle pictured above by buying big refillable squishy pouches. Plus, Method products are naturally-derived, biodegradable, and non-toxic so they won’t harm the environment when they are released.
These habits may seem small, but they are small acts that remind me every day about the importance of being environmentally friendly. I hope my actions and sharing this article will motivate others to do the same.