So what can you do if I have inspired you to care for yourself, your earth family and the environment? Below are some simple and easy tips to help you get started in implementing changes in your life.
1. Start recycling. Get a big bin and start recycling paper, plastic, cans and glass. If you have a recycling service, use it! If not, you may need to go to a depot to drop it off. Bins in Calgary allow you to dump everything in now, so no more sorting! We don't have a recycling service because we live in an apartment building but we still go to the depot and recycle. Community Natural Foods has small recycling boxes too. I simply bring a load with me when I'm off to get some groceries and accomplish two goals. http://www.communitynaturalfoods.com/ You will be amazed at how much less garbage you will have just by recycling all that stuff you would normally throw out.
2. Bathroom recycling. Put a small bin in your bathroom for plastics and your empty toilet rolls and tissue boxes. By the way, Shopper’s Drug Mart has 3 ply tissues, their brand, a box of 90 for .99 cents. Stay away from Kleenex brand. Sure they have pretty boxes but as I priced out a box of 90 of their brand, it was $3.49 for a box of their tissue! $3.49 is a ridiculous price. Shopper's also has recycled toilet paper for $5.99. If only their tissues were recycled.
You can find many nice looking containers to put your recycling in around various rooms in your house if you like. Perhaps one in your office too for all that shredding!
3. Buy green vegetable bags. Go to a natural food store and buy those green vegetable and fruit bags. Or you can buy hemp or cotton mesh bags. If you have the time and sew, you can make homemade terry or cotton bags. They breathe better, are environmentally friendly and you can reuse them, even the green bags. Bring them with you to the grocery store and stop bringing home those plastic bags from the vegetable and fruit section. You will be amazed at how many bags you will save that way. Fruits and vegetables that don't need to be in bags are: apples, bananas, avocados, onions, potatoes (all kinds including squashes), garlic, ginger, tomatoes and oranges.
Green bags work great but other alternatives are hemp mesh bags or you can sew and make your own terry or cotton bags.
4. Buy reusable shopping bags. Stop using plastic grocery bags. Demand that your grocery store stop using them. If enough people complain, they may do something about it. Community Natural Foods banned plastic bags a few years ago. They will give you a .05 cent bag credit for every bag you bring on your own. Also, if you happen to forget your shopping bag one day, you can purchase one of their recycled paper bags for .25 cents. COOP will also give you a .03 cent bag credit but they sometimes forget to give a credit so you may need to remind them. Make it a habit to bring at least one bag with you whenever you go out for those spur of the moment shops. Keep it in your purse, backpack or briefcase. They don't take up that much room and it will stop you from bringing more bags home.
There's a wide variety and nice assortment of reusable shopping bags that you can buy nowadays.
5. Use a reusable shopping bag to store plastic bags. These bags have all kinds of uses. Keep a reusable shopping bag in your cupboard or closet (I have mine in the hall closet) for all those plastic bags that you end up collecting from toilet paper, paper towels, tea lights, bagged vegetables etc. (as I mentioned above). You can take these in and recycle them too. You will be surprised at how these accumulate even after cutting down on grocery bags and vegetable bags! Every little bit counts!
A photo of one of my reusable bags used to store plastic bags.
6. Make it a habit to bring your own "to go" cup with you. If you think you will be going out for coffee and will likely take it "to go", bring your own "to go" cup with you. No matter what size your "to go" cup is, Good Earth Cafe http://www.goodearthcafes.com/ will only charge you for a small size rather than the regular medium or large because you aren't using their cup. It saves them money and helps the environment. The deal is nice but just bringing your own mug will save thousands going into the landfills.
7. Insist on a real coffee mug if you are staying in. If you don't ask, you won't get. If a company refuses to give you a real cup when you want to stay in to have coffee or tea, you can make the choice to walk out and take your business elsewhere. Let them know you are environmentally conscious and don't want the cup ending up in the landfill. Better yet, write or email the company directly and make some suggestions. A tea shop that I love is Steeps. They have old fashioned tea cups when you stay in. http://www.steepstea.com/
8. Notice the environment around you. Start noticing how many plastic bags are on the ground, grass, parks, etc. when you are out. I'm amazed at how much garbage I see when I am walking or riding my bike. Now I realize that maybe you didn't throw it on the ground, but just because it isn't yours doesn't mean you can't pick it up and throw it in the garbage yourself from time to time. I do draw the line at really icky stuff though unless I happen to have plastic gloves or a garbage bag on me. This is our planet. Not yours or mine, ours. Help to beautify the space and pick up garbage when you can. If you see a plastic bag flying around, help the environment by not allowing that bag to fly in the wind eventually ending up in our oceans. Imagine if one person picked up one piece of garbage everyday! I can dream, can't I?
Top photo, a plastic bag in a tree.
Bottom, a photo I took of a baggie on the ground while I was out riding my bike on the bike path.
9. Stop buying bottled water. A lot of these companies are making a mint off of water that isn't actually filtered. Bottled water generally isn't monitored for safety so there is no way of knowing whether bottled is better than tap. Apparently some of these companies are putting tap water into bottles and charging a mint for them. It's a scam. Check your sources as some companies are more reputable than others but you would be surprised at what you may find.
Check out the trailer for the documentary Flow below.
Bottled water has become big corporate business. Stop buying bottled and save money and the environment. Big corporations (and government) are now attempting to own water that is a resource that belongs to everyone. Use your power with the money you earn to stop supporting these companies. Money talks.
10. Buy a good water filtration system. Brita is a good start but there are better ones out there. It's worth the investment and is cheaper in the long run than continually buying bottled water, plus it helps the environment.
Santevia's water system purifies, mineralizes, alkalines and vitalizes the water. Community Natural Foods sells them for $169.99 and occasionally they will go on sale. "While water filtration is important to yield clean, contaminant reduced water, it is merely one element of organically complete water. Unlike many high-tech water filters, Santevia cleans your water without using chemicals, artificial filter media, water pressure or electricity. Santevia uses all-natural and effective compounds such as earthenware ceramic, coconut carbon charcoal, volcanic Zeolite and silica sand." http://www.santevia.com/
Below is an example of the Santevia water filtration system countertop model.
I'm planning on purchasing one of these soon. Again, do your research in regards to water systems, bottled water and water service companies. Water is the "in" thing now so many companies will capitalize on this by making a lot of money and destroying the environment in the process. Check your sources, be informed and do your research, go by word of mouth and then trust yourself to make the best decision.
I recently read an article about some areas in the US where it is now illegal to have rain barrels. The government and corporations are now trying to put ownership on rain!! This is insane. Will they also one day say they own the air we breathe and the fire when we have a firepit or are camping?? People need to become proactive and stop this bullshit from happening. Governments and corporations don't own the air or water for that matter. They are earth resources for everyone and it is our right to have clean and safe water.
Unbeknownst to a lot of us, our freedoms are slowly being taken away and unless we do and say something it may be too late at some point. Use your voice. Speak with your dollars. Sign petitions. Be aware of what's going on. Spread the word. Thank goodness that there are people out there lobbying for the average Joe but we, as a society, need to be proactive to the best of our abilities. Start educating yourself and stay informed. Knowledge is power. The government is our employee, not the other way around. We pay with our tax dollars and we can choose to support businesses that support the environment and are ethical.
Well, there it is, 10 easy and simple ways to get started. Hope you enjoyed it! Stay tuned!
Well, there it is, 10 easy and simple ways to get started. Hope you enjoyed it! Stay tuned!