Small Eco-Changes for the New Year! Six (6) ideas!
The dawn of a new year means new resolutions, fresh starts, and the revitalization of the get-it-done spirit. This year – I am making it a point to include an eco-resolution, and hope you will join me. It doesn’t have to be anything big – even a small change can have a big impact. Below are some great ideas to get you started on your Eco-resolutions! **Feel free to share your eco-resolutions too!
ECO-RESOLUTION IDEA #1- Ditch the Plastic
Find a reusable shopping bag and stash it someplace smart. I leave one in my office, one at home, and one in my car. I use them to carry groceries, shoes, makeup, paperwork, office supplies and just about anything I can dream up. From humble beginnings the re-usable shopping bag has become quite a fashion statement.
In 2007, San Francisco became the first city in the U.S. to ban single-use plastic bags in chain grocery stores and pharmacies. Dozens of other cities and counties have followed over the past four years, making this the easiest eco-resolution yet! I recently bought my grandmother a FEED reusable Tote, which not only reduces waste by being reusable, it provides school meals to children through United Nations World Food Programme. Check out http://www.feedprojects.com to learn more!
Visualizing Waste: what 60,000 plastic bags looks like, the number used in the US every five seconds
(Above: Running the Numbers: An American Self-Portrait by Chris Jordan)
(Below: enlarged pictures of the above image)
ECO-RESOLUTION IDEA #2 – Support Artisans
I’ve recently discovered a new love of artisan organic cheese, and a new passion. Brie, Blue, Crumbled, Goat, Cow, hard cheese, soft cheese, aged cheeses, truffle cheeses – each word is a beautiful note on my palate, and learning about where they come from has been rewarding pursuit. I especially love discovering the story behind the cheese.
As Cowgirl Creamery (one of my favorite organic cheese-makers) remarks, “It is possible to name the cheesemaker, identify the pasture where the animals grazed, and to name the breed of cow, sheep or goat whose milk was used. Artisan cheese comes with a sense of place, ecological values, and a unique relationship between the artisan and the raw materials.”
This 2012, make it a point to buy something artisan, or locally grown. It does’t have to be cheese. I never liked tomatoes until I tried a large farmers market tomato the size of a grapefruit, overflowing with delicious juice. Now, I love them and anxiously await the summer and fall harvest. Visit a farmers market, a trade show, or a fair. Find something that inspires you; locally grown fruit, wildflower honey, wine… You never know – you may find something that changes your life!
ECO-RESOLUTION IDEA #3 – Make your house sparkle with Green Cleaning products
Eco-Cleaning products used to be more expensive, harder to find, and never quite worked as well. This may have given them a bad rap early on, but this is not the case any longer. Today, you can stop into any grocery store and find an entire section devoted to green-cleaning. I’ll admit to having a strong affinity to my bottle of blue windex, after all, I grew up using it.
When first choosing to switch, I was worried about how well my new green cleaner could handle the job, but my worries turned out to be unfounded. I love cleaning with products like Green Works, and Method’s all vegan line. Here is a great list of products covering glass cleaners, dishwashers, floors, bathrooms, drains and more… http://www.care2.com/greenliving/cleaning-house-the-green-vegan-way.html. Want a DIY solution? Click Here for a DIY Non-toxic cleaning kit from National Geographic.
ECO-RESOLUTION IDEA #4 – Go paper towel-less!
“What if a whole group of people did the same “green” activity at the same time?”
That very question was the foundation for a campaign spearheaded by Reduce Footprints called Change the World Wednesday (#CTWW). Each week a new challenge is posted on the site and anyone can join in. One of their Wednesday Challenges was to avoid using or buying paper towels for 7 days. Groovy Green Livin (founded by Lori Popkewitz Alper) did a great story on this challenge, providing paper towel facts and figures, and tips to go without. Read it here: http://groovygreenlivin.com/2011/08/how-to-go-paper-towel-less/ If every household in the U.S. used just one less roll of paper towels,we would save more than 544,000 trees each year!
ECO-RESOLUTION IDEA #5 – Eco-Social-Apparel
Aside from eating, drinking, and sleeping, there is one more thing most people need to do everyday. Put clothes on… unless you live in a nudist colony, in which case you are already ahead of the game. For the rest of us who need to cover up, it is worth noting that According to the EPA Office of Solid Waste, Americans throw away more than 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per person per year. That equates to about 21 billion pounds of waste each year! The first thing you can do is be sure that what you don’t need goes somewhere that it can be of use. Goodwill, crossroads, vintage stores, you name it.
Another great idea is making what you do buy, count. There are endless options for apparel that does more. Multeepurpose (where i work, sorry for the self promo but I believe in what we do…) donates 20% of the sale price (up to $25 per item) sold via our website www.multeepurpose.com. If you buy from one of our retail partners like Fred Segal, we donate $1 per item.
Other great brands we love:
TOMS – one for one http://www.toms.com/
Kayu– Unite for Site http://www.kayudesign.com/index.html
Patagonia – Recycled bottles to fleece http://www.patagonia.com/us/home
Oscar de la Renta and Diane von Furstenberg also make some great earth-friendly fashions.
ECO-RESOLUTION IDEA #6 – Ditch your bottled water addiction
I love bottled water – I really do! Its tastes great, its easy to take with me, perfect for the gym, and available just about anywhere I go. What I don’t love, is the plastic bottle it comes in. Its also pricey – and according to James Owen from the National Geographic, not as healthy as good ol’ tap water. Tap water, on average, is 500 times cheaper than bottled water. So what to do? Snag yourself a BPA-free bottle and drink up.
If you’re like me, you may still like the idea of using a filter. A great option is Bobble – available in most retail locations, even stores like Bloomingdale’s. Brita also makes great filters that fit right onto your sink faucet!
If you havent already: check out THE STORY OF STUFF
Feel free to leave your eco-resolution comments 🙂 I’d love more ideas!