Steps you can make today to live a more sustainable life. My Personal Experience.April 30 / 2019
By Katie Ringhand
Throughout my research into the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), my eyes have really opened to many changes that must be made in our world for humankind to survive. I have started noticing areas where we can improve our environmental, social, and economic practices. The Zero Waste movement has been incredibly informative for me, forcing me to really think about my personal consumption and how it affects the greater world. I just took one look into my cabinet of bathroom products and truly realized that I consume a lot of plastic. I have been bombarded with knowledge about sustainability over the past few months, which at times has been quite overwhelming for me. It’s easy to get obsessed with the idea of Zero Waste, so I’ve decided to take things one step at a time and slowly make consumption changes to better our planet overall. Here are some of my personal discoveries that I’m working to change
Replace Plastic Bags with Reusable Bags
I have been using reusable bags for my grocery shopping since I started college, but there are still times that I forget them or use plastic store bags while shopping at clothing stores. I’ve started to accumulate different canvas and fabric bags to use in place of the plastic store bags, which is helping me reduce plastic waste. In addition, investing in reusable produce bags is way more environmentally friendly, because the plastic ones at the store are really for single uses and are polluting our world. They don’t break down when they enter our oceans and sea turtles are viewing the thin floating plastic as jellyfish, consuming the plastic bags and dying. It’s also fun to bring fun printed canvas bags and produce bags to stores because I almost always get compliments.
One of the most wasted single-use plastic products is plastic cutlery. Many people opt for single-use cutlery because it’s just easier to use it once and toss it, but there are plenty of more eco-friendly alternatives. Bamboo cutlery is a great alternative, as they are fairly inexpensive and last for years. Another option is to just bring your silverware from your home.
Consume Animal Products Consciously
One area I have been researching a ton is the consumption of animal products. A lot of farmland is used to plant crops used in animal feed. Animals also produce carbon dioxide gas and methane into our atmosphere, which are polluting substances. Also, factory farming is a concept that is very prevalent today. Animals are not given enough land to roam and are not getting great care from their farmers. I’m not recommending that you necessarily go Vegan today but start thinking about where your meals are coming from and be more intentional with consumption. If you eat meat and eggs, go with the grass-fed, free-range option or buy from a local farmer. Maybe start doing meat-less Monday, where you eat a veggie-packed diet. Most of all, don’t be too hard on yourself and consume what you think is right for you.
I, too, LOVE the convenience and thrill of purchasing items through online retailers like Amazon, but the most sustainable option is to support local businesses and retailers. Big companies, like Amazon, can cut costs easily for the consumer by cutting costs throughout the production chain. This isn’t always ethical, though, especially for the people who work along the chain, who don’t receive fair pay and/or working conditions. By shopping local, you can ensure that you are directly supporting a family and retail group, rather than giving money straight to the wealthy people that run big companies. Shopping local also directly benefits your community, as many local companies sponsor local events and provide a place in the community.