World Environment Day is celebrated this month and it’s a good time to reevaluate our daily routine and how it affects the planet. However, going green can be especially overwhelming and one of the biggest obstacles to improving environmental conditions is our daily habits. But big changes for the planet can be made with many simple switches to our daily routine – changes that almost seem effortless – and because they are effortless, are so much likelier to be kept!
Time for an environmental intervention
At 1,609 pounds per person, per year, the United States is the No. 1 trash producing country in the world. China used to process nearly one-third of the recyclable plastic in North America’s trash, but not anymore as its garbage ban is fully in effect as of 2018. With waste becoming more difficult to ditch, embracing a zero-waste mentality has gone from nice-to-do, to absolutely-must-do. Time, money and confusion are often given as reasons why people fail to adopt a greener lifestyle, but it doesn’t have to cost a fortune or take a ton of time to become an effortless environmentalist.
Stop Jogging and Start Plogging
A Swedish fitness trend that’s not only gaining in popularity but also collecting unwanted waste is called plogging – because as you jog you pick up litter as you run! It’s no surprise that the Swedes developed this fitness movement. Their recycling policy is so efficient that the country is close to meeting its goal of being completely waste free and Sweden is consistently ranked No. 1 for green living worldwide.
Plogging is an active form of recycling. Strap on a bag and give yourself a goal of picking up 4-5 pounds of trash along your route and you will mitigate the amount of garbage that the average American dumps each day according to the Environmental Protection Agency. You’ll not only burn more calories – you will also be taking an active step toward litter control. Search hashtag “plogging” (#plogging) to connect with likeminded ploggers around the world.
Bag a Compostable Lunch (from the inside out!)
It’s a no-brainer that bagging your lunch can be healthier than eating out every day, but is all that extra packaging in your lunch bag healthier for the environment? From plastic zipper bags that keep food fresh, to little plastic straws in that juice box or plastic bottles for our water, and the food scraps that we just don’t have time to consume, all are most likely heading to landfill.
You can easily convert your entire family’s bagged lunches into compostable waste using innovative bags and snacks in packages that are certified compostable, as well as compostable paper straws and compostable containers – and a stainless-steel water bottle for your drinks. Look for the TIPA logo on the package so you know that it is compostable plastic. B.O.S.S raw functional superfood bars and Yogalyte electrolyte dietary supplements are some of the brands that are using compostable packaging, and that will make for great additions to your compostable lunch. Unlike conventional plastics, compostable plastics will not add to plastic pollution, they return to nature while adding nourishment to the soil.
Pass on Plastic and Bring Your Own Bag
In the United States we use 100 billion plastic bags every year. Plastic bags, which never fully break down and create litter, can clog storm drains and damage infrastructure on their way to become ocean pollution. Putting a stop to plastic bag pollution on a personal level is so simple to do it’s almost a no-brainer. Use a reusable bag whenever you go shopping!
Make sure to keep a couple of reusable bags in the trunk of your car so that they are always available when you go shopping. When you get home and have unpacked, make sure to put the bags back in the trunk for the next shopping trip!
These three small effortless environmentalist steps can prove to be a big difference for planet earth and are a great way to celebrate World Environment Day all year round!
Gail Barnes, Ph.D., is a technology and sustainability expert who has consulted with companies worldwide on product sustainability innovation with composting and recycling strategies, as well as navigating food safety and regulatory processes and procedures and advising on consumer insights and evolving trends.