The world has changed more than we could have possibly imagined in the past few decades. We've seen incredible advancements in science and research, medicine and health, and especially in technology. We've also seen some of the disastrous consequences as a direct result of these advancements; environmental damage is on the rise and countless species are becoming endangered and extinct.
We seem to have gone with the flow of change, without considering the impact it would have. Now, years later, we are faced with the consequences. We need to consciously make an effort to truly see the damage that has been done to the environment across the globe - and want to change it for the better. We no longer have the choice to stand idly by and watch our world degrade more. We need to step up and claim responsibility for our own environmental impact. Today, it is estimated that 95% of marine life have plastic in their bodies!
Being conscious of every choice we make isn't easy. Life is busier than it ever has been and we have a lot of responsibilities to our families, our children, our jobs, our businesses, etc. We want to make things simple and uncomplicated so that we can get on with our list of things to do in a day and be done with it.
From our point of view, as small business owners, we get that. That's why we want to help you make better choices that are easy to integrate - and benefit the environment at the same time.
5 Simple Tips to Help Lessen Your Environmental Impact
- USE REUSABLE BAGS
Always have reusable shopping bags on you so that you don't collect single use plastic bags. This is actually easier than it seems! The trick to sticking with reusable bags is to always have one with you. You can keep reusable bags in your purse, in your car, at work; wherever you need them so that they are always on hand and easy to find. It's amazing how much plastic is reduced by this one simple change.
You can now also find reusable vegetable bags. Instead of grabbing a plastic bag off the roll in the grocery store, you can now bring your own set of vegetable bags that will keep your food fresh longer and are totally washable - making them easy to use and easy to clean! Here are some brands we like:
Credo Bags (made in Montreal)
ChicoBag (made of recycled materials)
If you can't get your hands on reusable versions, you can always reuse the plastic ones you've already got :)
- BUY IN BULK
It's so great to be able to buy food and household supplies in bulk! You can bring your own containers to refill stations and places like Bulk Barn, and they will simply weigh your containers before you fill them. Then you can fill them with whatever it is you need. With a little bit of planning and forethought, imagine how much waste can be reduced! The days of plastic convenience are now behind us. Let's be mindful and make ecofriendly decisions that benefit us all.
We are huge fans of Saponetti Depot - located in Toronto - who are dedicated to helping individuals live a zero waste life. They supply the city with all the necessities for a waste free life, including refills for almost all of the Really Great Goods line!
You will notice more and more of these refill stations becoming available as the demand for refill increases. Check and see if there's one in your area - there just might be!
- USE GREEN CLEANERS
The world of green cleaners can cause your eyes to glaze over that this point, with so many companies claiming that their products are "green". For a product to be green, it should only contain plant based ingredients that are biodegradable and safe for you. It should also only be scented with essential oils instead of any kind of "parfum" or "natural scent". Generalized ingredients like this are made of a blend of thousands of chemicals (all of which do not have to be listed). This kind of synthetic scent can cause your body harm by disrupting your endocrine system (that is in charge of your hormones).
Essential oils are the only scents our bodies are in harmony with and have a chemistry our bodies can recognize, and absorb for positive benefit. They not only smell great, but make you feel great too (physically, emotionally, spiritually). Choose essential oils to scent your home, your cleaners, your skincare products, and yourself. Look on labels and avoid products that contain any "fragrance", "parfum" "perfume", "scent", or other non essential oil based scents.
Because chemical fragrances are added to so many products potentially in your home (creams, cleaners, air fresheners, hair care products, skincare products, etc.), you are being exposed to them on a much larger scope than if they were in just one product that you used (which is regarded as the safe level of exposure). This overloading is what can cause harm. The purer the cleaning product (and other products) you use, the better it is for the environment and for you! And to boot, choose green cleaners that are refillable!
Green cleaners are also great DIY projects. If you'd like to make your own, check out our post Spring Cleaning Tips with Cleaner Recipe And if you would rather just purchase a great cleaner, we have two great scents Refresh and Lemon Zest which are also available to refill at Saponetti!
- IMPROVE YOUR COOKING SKILLS
Not to say that you're not a great chef already, but if you really want to reduce waste, buying more fresh ingredients and less ready made foods will take your waste reduction to the next level - and help with your other waist too.
With ready made comes packaging - and lots of it. The easiest way to reduce this waste is to buy lots of fresh vegetables and fruit, and dry ingredients that can be purchased in bulk like grains, pulses, nuts and seeds. Combine this with tip #2 and you'll be saying goodbye to most of your waste!
There are endless food blogs out there. Do a little research and find some recipes you'd like to try out.
Here are some local blogs and websites we love!
If you’re new to the world of vegetarianism and veganism, try out Meatless Mondays! Lessening your meat intake can dramatically change your impact on the environment, and starting with one day a week can make it more manageable and easier to transition into!
- AVOID FAST FASHION
The fashion industry has had a detrimental impact on the environment over the last few decades. We buy, we wear, we throw away and repeat the cycle.
Fast fashion clothing is outsourced and made through the use of underpaid workers (of all ages) in unsafe conditions around the globe. A trend that lasts a New York minute isn’t worth the decades it will take to break down in a landfill - and will end up there before its even been worn.
Instead, try to buy clothing that speaks to you, items that you need vs want. Support brands that make clothes ethically, pay living wages and use natural materials that are safe for the environment.
When you are tired of your wardrobe, seek out a clothing swap in your area - or plan one of your own. Try buying vintage and shopping thrift. Take on the world of #mending and make your clothes beautiful again. The more mindful we are of our choices, the better decisions we will make and the greater positive impact we will make on the planet.