Real talk: It’s easy to care about the Earth. But living a green lifestyle? Not always so easy.
Saving CO2 emissions by biking to work is awesome...but sitting through work smelling like your gym isn’t. And while we totally see the merit in “if it’s yellow, let it mellow,” knowing our pee’s sitting in the toilet for hours just makes our skin crawl.
The challenge of taking better care of our planet feels so big. And sometimes, it feels like we’re too small to really make a difference, anyway.
Add to that the stresses and hassles of daily life, and it’s no wonder that most of us aren’t doing as much as we want to.
The good news? Little things CAN make a big difference.
The even better news? Many of those little things can fit seamlessly into your real-world routine and won’t require you to make any drastic changes.
In honor of Earth Day on Sunday, April 22, here are three easy ways you can do your part to take care of the planet, starting today.
Fun fact: I trained at the International Culinary Center and my last job involved interviewing Michelin-rated chefs. So when I saw Anthony Bourdain’s new documentary Wasted! on Netflix, I couldn’t watch it fast enough.
I expected to be wowed by the food. I didn’t expect to become a composting fanatic.
After learning how much food waste ends up in our landfills (according to the EPA, wasted food is also the single biggest component in American landfills), I knew I needed to make a change. After doing a little research, I saw just how easy composting is.
At the end of a meal, my husband and pour our food scraps (including coffee grounds!) into Dooli™ 7-Layer bag that we keep in the freezer. The Dooli™ bags keep the smells contained and storing them in the freezer keeps the food from rotting before we can dispose of it.
When the bag gets full, we just walk it down the street and pour it into the community compost bin. Done and done!
The difference you’ll make: The average person wastes about 209-253 pounds of food per year. Granted, not all of that can be composted...but a two-person household could save hundreds of pounds in landfills just by saving their food scraps over a year.
To learn more about composting, check out this great podcast episode.
How to get started today: Google “community compost bin in [[your town]]” to find a local food scrap bin. At your next meal, save your food scraps (click here for a handy guide on what you can and can’t compost) and store in the freezer until it’s full.
Ditch the straw
Plastic drinking straws are a sneaky culprit. They’re so small and light that most of us don’t think twice about using one in a cocktail or iced coffee.
But those tiny little straws produce a ton of waste. 500,000,000 plastic straws are used each DAY in the U.S., according to The Plastic Pollution Coalition. Considering it takes 200 years for plastic straws to break down, we’re filling our landfills with plastic, along with our oceans, where much of our waste ends up.
A few forward-thinking bars and restaurants are starting to use paper straws or a per-request policy, with great results. (L.A.’s Harvard & Stone bar noted a 30% decrease in straw use when patrons had to ask!) But it’s still the cultural norm for bartenders, baristas, and servers to give you a straw in your drink.
Until restaurants change their behaviors, make the first move and opt out of receiving a plastic straw.
The difference you’ll make: If you cut down by just three cocktail straws per week, that’s 156 straws over the year.
How to get started today: The next time you order a drink, just say “No straw, thanks!”
Keep in mind, once a straw’s been unwrapped, most establishments will throw it away for hygiene reasons. So make sure to make your no-straw request while ordering.
BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag)
Standard polyethylene bags (the ones often used in grocery stores and other shops) don't biodegrade. The scientific community estimates that it takes somewhere between 500-1000 years for plastic bags like these to fragment — the only way they break down.
Basically...plastic + landfills = no bueno. If we all do a small part to cut down on the amount we contribute, we can make a huge difference.
The next time you’re offered a plastic bag, ask yourself: do I really need this? Or...
Can I carry the item on its own?
Can I put it in my purse?
Can I combine smaller items (like individual pieces of fruit) into one big bag, instead of having lots of little ones?
Once you see how many cute reusable bag options there are, you’ll actually WANT to use your own bag. Here are a few of our favorites:
Simple cotton netting bags for groceries and other shopping. (Source: Amazon)
These impossibly adorable cloth bread and bakery bags (Source: Peg and Awl on Etsy)
Bags you can roll up and store in your purse, so you’ll always have one on hand (Source: Amazon)
The difference you’ll make: If you save four plastic bags during your weekly grocery trip, that’s 208 plastic bags that won’t end up in the landfill this year.
And it’s not just grocery bags…
Think about how many plastic bags you get from the bookstore, clothing stores, toiletry shops, liquor stores, etc. You can easily save ten bags a week!
How to get started today: The easy answer: bring a reusable bag with you on your next shopping trip.
But in the real world, you’ll inevitably get stuck at the store without a reusable bag one day.
When that happens, commit to finding at least ONE way to reuse that bag. Use it as packing material when mailing a delicate item, wrap a gift with it (a little pretty ribbon can go a LONG way in dressing it up!) or re-use it with the Dooli™ Bag Adapter to refill your Litter Genie®.
More real talk: the earth needs a lot of help. But that doesn’t mean we have to throw up our hands and lament about it.
You have the power to keep hundreds of pounds of waste out of our landfills this year by making a few small changes.
Commit to trying out just one of these strategies this week and see how easy it is! If we all make little changes, together we’ll make a big difference.
Repurpose your plastic bags
Sometimes, you have no choice but to use a plastic bag. That’s where the Dooli™ bag adapters come in!