Small Changes, IMPORTANT Impact #5Rs

Facts that will BLOW your MIND!!!!! – from ecowatch

  • Over the last ten years we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century.
  • 50 percent of the plastic we use, we use just once and throw away.
  • Enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times.
  • The average American throws away approximately 185 pounds of plastic per year.
  • Americans throw away 35 billion plastic water bottles every year (source: Brita)
  • Annually approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide. More than one million bags are used every minute.
  • It takes 500-1,000 years for plastic to degrade.
  • There is a place called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch  and it is located off the coast of California – the size of Texas
  • 100,000 Birds, marine mammals, sea turtles are killed from plastic in our oceans or have been seen with plastic growing around their bodies.
  • Virtually every piece of plastic that was ever made still exists in some shape or form (with the exception of the small amount that has been incinerated).
  • Plastic chemicals can be absorbed by the body—93 percent of Americans age six or older test positive for BPA
  • Some of these compounds found in plastic have been found to alter hormones or have other potential human health effects

This month, I am focused on the 5 R’s by Bea Johnson.

Refuse

  • Stop the use of produce plastic wrap or any kind of 1 time use plastics- instead use reusable bags, mason jars, steel containers when shopping.
  • Stop asking for straws and refuse the straw if you can – steel or paper are best.
  • Start a garden and refuse to purchase items that you can grow yourself.

Reduce

This is where I have focused a lot of my intention on, and I think I am really starting to get the hang of it. I have included some links to items that I have purchased this year to help reduce my plastic consumption.

  • be a minimalist – reduce the STUFF and those impulse buys
  • Pare down and give items a 2nd life through donations, Goodwill or selling
  • Start using a French Press or Loose Tea to reduce the amount of plastic single serve pods, paper filters, or tea bags entering landfills
  • The paper towel use and paper napkins by purchasing cloth
  • Order your toilet paper from eco-friendly companies like Give a Crap– not only do they send you bulk, 100% recycled or bamboo toilet paper by mail, but they also do great things with the $.
  • STOP buying bottles of water and look for water that comes in cardboard like Flow hydration or Boxed Water
  • Stop using your dryer so much and put your items out on a line – let them dry by the sun – PLUS it always makes clothes smell better. (reduce energy use, dryer sheet use)
  • Or use wool balls instead of the dryer sheets
  • purchase your toothpaste without the plastic at BITE
  • Find a local Farmers Market
  • purchase bamboo toothbrushes instead of the plastic ones at zero waste cartel

Reuse

If you have embraced Reducing, then this will go hand-in-hand pretty easily.

  • The cloth rags, napkins, and shopping bags can be reused over and over again- wash and line dry when needed.
  • reuse those glass jars from jelly, salsa, apple butter etc… to place leftovers in
  • buy in bulk by using your mason jars at the store – Whole Foods allow you to Tare (weight) your mason jar before adding in the almond butter or other bulk items. When you check-out the cashier will subtract that weight from the item before pricing it.
  • reuse the coffee grounds from your French press in your compost piles or garden – worms LOVE coffee grounds
  • Reuse food scraps and eggshells to add to your compost pile

Recycle

I have always believed in recycling but, to be completely honest, I thought everything could be recycled. Just toss and stop thinking about it. Unfortunately, you have to do some sorting and cleaning before just tossing items into that green or blue bin. BUT, good news, If you have embraced the Refusals, Reducing and Reusing steps- you shouldn’t have that much to actually Recycle.

  • separate your trash – most plastic lids can’t be recycled
  • Wash out all containers – if there is grease or food particles DONT recycle
  • If it has been microwaved – DONT even try
  • pull out the plastic liner from the cereal box (that is trash, and can’t be recycled)
  • Plastics numbered 1-7 Can be recycled
  • Most curbside pick ups won’t take plastic sacks, but most grocery stores will
  • Recycle your aluminum cans and glass jars after cleaning out
  • Buy Recycled

Rot

COMPOST!!!! – I am hoping to start this new project next week as I have asked for a composting tumbler bin, aluminum indoor bin, and compost starter for Mother’s Day. (I know… not your typical Mother’s Day gift).

  • shredded papers
  • grass clippings
  • food waste

The combo of nitrogen from the grass and the carbon from the food waste is a composting heaven- your garden will thank you.


The 5 R’s Challenge – May Intention

Happy May Day!!!!! In honor of the ‘official’ spring holiday my children and I have bought flowers, seeds and candy to deliver throughout our neighborhood. This has been a tradition of mine since I was little. My husband and I wanted to make sure that this was something we did with our own children. They look forward to it, and they are getting better at the traditional ‘door dash’.

Since this is the first day of May, I wanted to write briefly about my May intention- Going Green. I feel this is something I need to make a priority, an intention, because what I put into my body is very important, and I want to make sure more of the items in my home are also good for my body. I also know that the current status quo is very linear: we take from the Earth and dump it right back in – this time with toxins that are destroying said Earth. I don’t want to be apart of that system. I want my children to know that I did what I could. “I want to aim to send nothing to the landfills, reduce what I need, reuse as much as I can, send little to be recycled, and compost what I cannot.”

I have purchased two books to guide me on my path this month…

you can follow the author @zerowastehome
I hope to gain knowledge on how to detox the body of the toxins that we use daily.
  • I plan on finding a few tricks to reduce my carbon footprint that does not add to my consumption.
  • I will be experimenting with natural, holistic cleaners and other that will decrease the toxins in my home
  • I will be following a few tricks from the authors to help me be more conscious and aware of the waste we are creating in our home.
  • I will challenge myself to Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot throughout this month to create a better lifestyle for my family and our environment.
  • Take on the 48 hour No Single-Use plastic challenge
  • Create a composting system at my home

No Single-Use Plastic Challenge

This weekend, I will be challenging myself to with the “No Single-Use Plastic Challenge”. Can you go plastic free for 48 hours? Take the challenge with me!

  • Grocery store- tote bags
  • Farmers market shopping – to reduce the plastic wrapping
  • Bulk purchases into mason jars
  • No plastic water bottles
  • Say “NO” to plastic straws
  • no food packaging

I will be taking pictures along the way and of the Plastic that I do use 😦 to hold myself accountable. @omnivore2herbivore