What you, me, and anyone else must do before making any life change, is to realize change needs to happen. Rethinking the situation to make the change, is the next step.
Forget about recycling. Forget about reusing. If we do not learn to dramatically reduce ALL of our consumption, in every aspect of life, reusing and recycling will not matter. There is already too much waste in this world that has no place to be disposed of, and as a result so much of our world is toxic. The only answer is to reduce consumption across the board through education, better and easier access to information, and hands-on experience.
Buy items that are reusable. Reuse items that you buy. Do not be fooled by the word "Disposable." Observe what you purchase and make note of what you can, and cannot, reuse. Aim to purchase items which you can reuse over and over again to reduce waste. Avoid items that are one-time-use and are individually wrapped. Get creative and think outside the box when reusing an item.
Don’t trash it. Fix it. When something breaks, it does not mean is it trash. Most items in existence can be repaired. If something breaks, learn how to repair it. If you don’t have the time, pass it on to someone who does. Even if you think the item you have cannot be salvaged, chances are, it can. Some digging and elbow grease simply might be in order. If it truly cannot be repaired, reuse it for something else, or recycle it properly.
Recycling is good, but it is not the answer. Any benefit from it dissolves with lack of knowledge and improper practices. Know the what’s, where’s, and how’s to recycle. What can I recycle? Where can I recycle? How do I recycle? Not all streams take the same items. Many local business and centers offer recycling services. Anything being recycled must be clean. Contamination could ruin the process, doing more harm than good. Ending with your recyclables in a landfill. Thus, I suggest, reducing then reusing, and only using proper recycling as a last resort.
#6 DO YOUR RESEARCH:
No matter what you are doing or seeking, always check multiple sources, and as many places as you can. If you rely simply on one avenue of information, the chances of being misinformed are very high.
#7 ADAPT- Become The Teapot:
Adaptation is key to a successful life. In the words of the immortal Bruce Lee; “Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend”. A caveat: there are instances in which rejection and disturbance must also be used. An example: if harm is being done or a bad path has been taken, you do not adapt and except the circumstances, you reject it. Then adapt to fight it off, stop it, and reverse it. Adapt yourself to create a positive outcome in the situation. This could mean a swift kick to the face, busting through a wall, lending a helping hand, or simply walking away.
#8 Recycle your batteries:
Do you toss batteries in the trash? Bad Human! Check this video out and expand your brain: DNews (including the info below the video) and I recommend looking it up for yourself. I've posted some Recycling Links/more info in the opposite column.
#9 HAVE PASSION:
If you have passion in what you are doing, the only thing that can stop you...is you. Without passion, anything can stop you.
#10 QUESTION IT:
Practice healthy questioning. Question anything and everything. Especially yourself. Know the right question has more power than the ‘right’ answer. Also, not all of the answers will be to your liking. However, would you rather know, or not know? That is the question.
#11 Throw your TV out the window
Actually, don't. That's wasteful, you're adding to the worlds waste, and could hurt someone. Instead, give it away, turn it off, put it in another room, don't buy a new one when it breaks, recycle it. Then go talk to people, REAL PEOPLE! Read a book. Go outside. See the world before humans destroy it. You cannot truly experience and understand the world though a screen.
#12 Look up...from your phone!
Put your phone down for an hour, a day, a week, or more, and observe the world around you. It's changing fast, and if you don't stop and check things out, you might miss what's really happening. Open your eyes and look at all of the people who have their heads buried in their phones. It's a scary and disturbing action to witness. Interact and experience the world in full frontal reality, before you forget what reality really is.
#13 Dance, Sing, Laugh
There are many things in this world that are fueled by/and filled with negativity and regressive actions. And as a result, these things can bring you down, create anger, make you feel helpless. While I have no ultimate solution for how YOU can overcome these and other awful feelings, I can say that dancing, singing, and laughing, help me out a great deal. So dance, sing, and laugh whenever possible! All are scientifically proven to boost your mood and help you feel better.
#14 Life is shades of gray, not Black and White
Have an open mind about life, because things are not black and white. This world we live in is bathed in gray areas. Events and actions that have been good for you, could be bad for another, and even ruin their life. And what might seem completely insane and foolish to you, might be perfectly normal and on the level to somebody else. It’s all a matter of perception, perspective, and situation. Open your eyes, and your mind to the nuances of existence.
#15 Cup Clean Paint Brushes
Cleaning paint (or any toxic chemical) off of art brushes should never be done in a situation where the waste goes down the drain and back into the public water source (I’m 100% guilty of doing this in the past!). Use the ‘Clean Cup’ method. Get at least 3 cups (more if necessary), fill all three with equal amounts of clean water. Use the first cup to get all of the visible paint off the brush. Put the visible clean brush into the second cup and clean off any excess amounts of residue. Use the third cup as a final touch up and swish for any last fragments. Dry the brush on a clean cloth, then lay on a clean surface, ideally with the bristles hanging off an edge where air can access all sides. Once the water is beyond usable in the first cup, take a large lid or flat surface with a lip (i use an upside down drum head) and pour the liquid in a thin layer into the lid. Let dry. No toxic paint or chemicals down the drain! As an added bonus the dried thin layers of paint and chemical residue become a work of art in itself after multiple drying sessions!! The result: a sustainable method for cleaning paint brushes!! *Note: oil paints where not used in this method. However, this method can still be used with oils given adjustments to what is used to clean the brushes.
#16 Avoid synthetic and plastic clothing
Avoid cloths made from synthetic materials and recycled plastic products (plastic bottles). When these items are washed, microscopic pieces of material degrade off the clothing, and into the water. The synthetic and plastic micro particles flow into the water system, and eventually end up in the rivers, lakes, and oceans of the planet. Resulting in further contamination of nature, animals, and everyones food and water supply. While many companies promote ‘recycled plastic clothing’ over standard cotton (as cotton uses tons of water to produce) it’s not a solution to the problem. Stick with non-plastic recycled clothing, and purchase used threads if you can. if you are going to buy new, aim for sustainably sourced wool, cotton, or hemp. Hemp yields more per acre, uses far less water, does not damage the soil like cotton, needs no pesticides, is more durable, and lasts longer. A downside of hemp is the feel, it’s not as soft as cotton. If you find you do not need/use the cloths you have any longer, donate them. And if they are damaged, recycle them. Places might be tough to find, but many places around the world do except cloths to be recycled into rags, other cloths and materials. And lastly, but most important, repair your threads whenever possible! Almost anything can be repaired and made new again. If you can repair the damage to your wears, you extend the life of the clothing, and avoid polluting our world further. You can search online for how-to videos into repairing your clothing, or drop me a line and I’ll be happy to help you as I’ve been repairing my cloths for almost 20 years! PS: when repairing your clothing, avoid synthetic thread as well!
#17 Fabric Softener is Toxic. Avoid it.
Fabric Softener is a purposeless, useless, over consumed commodity. It’s toxic to the environment, people, life, and the water supply. It’s made up of hazardous chemicals which can have dangerous side effects on life. It’s harmful to cloths as it leaves a waxy residue behind. You breath in the chemicals that “smell clean”, but in actuality, you are breathing synthetic materials that are harmful to anything it comes in contact with. The resolution? Stop using it. I stopped using softener well over a decade ago, and my clothes are soft and fresh. A replacement for fabric softener is wool dryer balls. Which will naturally soften your cloths, remove static, and cut your drying time down without the use of dryer sheets.
#18 Beat the Sheets, and pick up some Balls!
Dryer sheets presumably make your cloths smell nice, and reduce the presence of static cling. However, the scents you inhale from sheets are derived from tens to hundreds of varying toxic chemicals. Inhaling these chemicals, and having them ride along in your cloths can make you ill. They can cause problems in the central nervous system, allergies, breathing problems/asthma enhancement, headaches, and other unexpected illnesses. As well as leaving a chemical residue behind on everything they come in contact with, dryer sheets are not a good choice. An almost perfect natural alternative to dryer sheets (and fabric softener) are 100% wool (or alpaca) dryer balls! Dryer balls assist in the drying process by creating gaps in the load of wet cloths where heat can penetrate and speed up drying times, thus reducing energy and cost. Additionally, wool is an anti-static material, thus replacing the dryer sheet for static reduction. Plus, a properly made and maintained dryer ball will last for 1,000s of loads (3 balls per load typically) if not indefinitely! Be cautious, some vendors state that you need a ‘refresher ball’ after a few months…this is a marketing gimmick. Avoid these vendors and their inferior product. By switching to dryer sheets you are saving valuable energy, materials, reducing waste, removing toxic chemicals from your life, and saving money! Plus the balls are compostable when they are exhausted! Beat the sheets, and pick up some balls!
#19 More Toothpaste!
Most people toss their toothpaste tube out when it has been visually rolled/squished to remove all of the paste. Not so fast! Once you’ve done the squeeze, you can then cut the bottom of the tube off and scoop out at least 12 more rounds to brush with, decreasing your waste over time! Sadly, almost all toothpaste tubes currently are not locally recyclable, get tossed once exhausted, and outlive you. However, Terracycle (an awesome company!) excepts and recycles toothpaste tubes (along with brushes and floss containers) via the mail! Additionally, there is a company in Florida that is experimenting with dissolvable tiny packets for single brushings; Poppits. I haven’t tried them, but this could be the future of brushing(?). You could also experiment with Pure Baking Soda to brush with and forgo the plastic tube, but the possible harshness could be a drawback, TBD. Lastly, if you choose to make your own toothpaste, be sure you are taking into consideration the plastic packaging the ingredients you are using come it. It actually might be more harmful to the world to make your own, than to buy a plastic tube. NOTE: if you make your own, or make a paste out of pure baking soda, you can reuse an old plastic tube to hold the mixture in, simply by clamping down on the open back end of the cut tube! Brush twice a day, everyday with the proper amount: a dab the size of a pea!!
#20 Say goodbye to over dry!
A common failure in drying cloths: over-drying - I've done this probably 100s of times. When items are completely dry, continual dry heat invites static electricity into the mix and wastes energy. Keep tabs on your times and shave minute by minute off until you are at optimal use. Once you’ve gotten the times down, you’ll have reduced your energy waste, static cling, time spent, money spent, and frizzy hair!
#21 Drip dry synthetics
Synthetic fabrics in the drying cycle are a main culprit of static, and can lead to longer drying times. If allowed to air dry after being removed from the wash, these items do not have the chance to charge up other articles of clothing with static electricity. Less static and reduced drying times means money saved, and no wasted energy!
#22 Frankenstein is not the monster
When one says ‘Frankenstein’, the thought of the monster comes to light. However, the doctor is Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein to be correct. The sewed together and electrified hodgepodge of human body parts are "Frankenstein's Monster".
#23 Go Dark
Air pollution, land pollution, water pollution, mind pollution…but what about Light Pollution? Unnatural, excessive, intrusive, misguided light at night that can been seen as a glow on the horizon from big cities, small towns, your back porch, wipes the sky clean of hundreds upon hundreds of stars, and the Milky Way, in the night sky. It disturbs sleeping patterns, creates stress, has adverse effects on the health of all ecosystems, wastes energy, money, and interferes with astronomical scientific research. If you search for a map of world light pollution, it’s very alarming. However, there are ways to change all of this! The first, simplest, and cheapest method, is to simply shut any light off that is not being used. From there you can replace all your lights with energy efficient LEDs once the existing ones burn out. While the LED’s won’t reduce the light pollution, they will reduce the amount you pay on your electric bill, and will last for a very long time. You can also add motion sensor technology to any and all light outside so that they only come on when needed, instead of burning all night, wasting money, energy, and assisting in blotting out the night sky. The closer you are to a city, the more your actions, and the actions of others will help. And perhaps one day, you’ll be able to see the beauty of the solar system, while standing in the middle of crowded community! Now, go outside and enjoy the epic night sky!
#24 Glass over plastic
‘Microwave Safe’ or ‘Freezer Safe’ does not mean it's ‘Human Safe’, when it comes to plastic. When heated, plastics soften, and when frozen, they become brittle. As a result of both temperature changes, chemicals harmful to humans leech into the surrounding areas: our food. To avoid these chemicals, try freezing/heating your items in glass, rather than any form of plastic. Glass lasts longer, there are no harmful chemicals leeching into your food at any temperature, and it’s highly recyclable. Glass isn’t perfect however. It’s heavier, more susceptible to breakage, can cost more, and you must leave plenty of empty space at the top of a container if it is being frozen, otherwise it will explode when the contents inside expand. The main point here is that plastics leach chemicals into your food, glass does not. And plastic is tougher to recycle. While plastics are an easier option, glass is a better, non toxic choice. Weigh your options.
#25 Showering with Money
Do you know how much water goes down the drain, per minute, while you’re in the shower? It depends on a few things, like water pressure, and the head setting. But whatever the factors, money is disappearing down the drain by the second, in two distinct ways. One, you are paying for each ounce of water used, every single second. Two, a portion of the water that is coming out of the shower head is warm, which you are paying for through your gas or electric bill. Both of these add up to funds you could be putting elsewhere. Thus I suggest monitoring the time it takes you to get clean. If it takes you ten minutes, set a timer for 8. Then 7. And so on, until you know exactly how long it takes. And from that, you will assist in ending the needless waste of your precious finances. Both in water, and energy bills. The water and energy saved here, could be put to better use! Plus, fresh clean water is not unlimited on this planet. It’s a precious resource that we should be taking very seriously.
#26 (re)Use YOUR container
If you purchase food that comes in a plastic package/container, why not save that container for reuse, instead of tossing it away and buying an EMPTY container (such as: tupperware, ziploc, rubbermaid, uline, dart, etc etc etc) for the same reason? It makes no sense!! And it’s such a waste on many levels. Containers from all sorts of convenience and store bought foods have great containers, but they are not typically thought of as ‘containers’. You can use these; to buy and store bulk food items, as to-go containers in restaurants, as school/work lunch containers, as a way to store leftovers, plus more that i’m not thinking of. And that’s just food, i’m not even touching on the non-food items that these containers are excellent for! Thus, RETHINK your container purchases, and how you perceive what a container ’is’. You won’t be tossing money down the drain for items you don’t even need. Plus you’ll be reducing your waste, footprint, and energy consumption across the board. I can hardly “CONTAIN” myself at the possibilities…Ha!!
#27 Sew it, Sew it Good!
You do not have to be a master seamstress, or a tailor, to repair clothing and textiles. All you need is a needle, thread, scissors, and the ability to tie a knot. If you have those basics, then you can pretty much repair anything. So much of our cloths and other textiles are thrown away because they have become worn, a hole has formed, or a tear has rendered it damaged. This leads to mounds and mounds of waste pilling up in landfills across the world. But this doesn’t have to be. If damage occurs to something you own, pick up a needle and thread, or a sewing machine, and repair it! By doing this, you’ve extended the life of the article, saved the money, time, energy, and resources it wold have taken to produce and acquire something new. Additionally, once you’ve learned to sew (what I think is an invaluable skill), you can use those abilities in other areas and emergencies; repairing outdoor items, shoes, athletic gear, customizing clothing, and in a pinch…an open wound. Additionally when sewing, be mindful of the type of threads out there. Some, if not most threads in Brick and Mortar stores are made from synthetic materials. These are toxic to the environment. Look for non-synthetic, non cotton (cotton uses a ton of water to produce) thread such as hemp, linen, plant derived materials. But if you already have synthetic thread in your arsenal, don’t fret! Use it! Then move on to a better solution once it’s gone. Now, get to patchin’!
#28 Can you Kick It??
Do you wear shoes?! If you do, at some point you either wear them out, outgrow them, no longer like or need them. But what do you do once they hit this point?? DO NOT TOSS THEM!! First, any footwear that is still wearable, should 100% be donated. Many organizations except lightly worn shoes for people in need. And Many other organizations simply except shoes to resell. Now, if your shoes are no longer able to be worn, the sky is the limit on what to do with them BESIDES tossing them out. There are ‘major footwear companies’ that turn old sneakers into usable materials, and other products. Annnnd, you can find a ton of inspiration across the internet (if you are stumped) into what you can do with them. The ideas blow my mind, give it a search! But before all of that, you want to pick a solid shoe to begin with. That way it will last a very long time -even with daily use- and your waste in the end will be reduced. Plus, it is also good to note that no one needs 20 pairs of shoes…food for thought. *Check out my website for a few links in the ‘Resource’ section!
#29 Escape the island of misfit clothing!
Have clothing/textiles that you don’t wear/use anymore? Donate it! Have items that are NOT wearable/usable anymore because of ware, tears, damage, or stains?! We all do. But don’t toss it! With worn articles, first and foremost, repair. Repair. REPAIR! Next, if they are not able to be repaired, and they can be recycled in your area into something else, recycle! However, clothing/textile recycling isn’t easily available so…from there you could also explore ways to sell your textiles to companies, which then they turn into rags. Certain organizations and companies does this, so you could donate old cloths to them, and they will sell them off. This takes some digging around to find out. And if you are the crafty, creative, resourceful type, you can reimagine your shredded threads into something brand new; blankets, pillow cases, rags, bags, scarves, boat sail, parachute, on and on we go! Orrr, you could use these threads as transplants to repair OTHER threads. Become the Dr. Frankenstein of clothing! Whatever you choose to do with your wares after your break-up with them, avoid the landfill at all costs. Most of these items will never breakdown due to their components, and are toxic, especially the synthetics. The amount of clothing and textiles that WE ALL toss away per year, is Mind boggling. And this all ends up polluting our land, water, and air at some point. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Get educated. Do some research. Take action. And most importantly, keep your cloths on!
#30 Eat what you buy!
The world -with the USA leading the way- wastes, and has a food loss between 30-50%. It’s an obscene number. [generally and debatable; food loss comes from the supply chain, and food waste is post purchase] How much food do you buy, then don’t like, don’t eat, let rot, and toss away? Now look past the food, peering over the supply chain, and observe the multitudes of collateral waste -and damage- these habits generate… Look up how many people are starving in this world… It’s depressing. Why do we, mainly Americans, waste food? Because we can. And we don’t know any other way. The total loss in pounds of food per person, per year, on average, exceeds 200lbs. And the total loss in dollars over all (growing, production, packaging, transport, energy, consumer, post-consumer, etc) is estimated near 1 Trillion per year. (?!?!) Not to mention the vast natural resources being squandered and destroyed. …This doesn’t have to be like this. But, how do we all change? Observe yourself and buying habits. Then keep track, a log, of what you buy, eat, don’t eat, compost, and toss away. Make sure you are ONLY buying what you will eat. By simply knowing how much you will/can eat, not succumbing to mass produced and marketed over-consumption, and knowing that you should probably see the back wall of your fridge, you’ll be on the right track! It is that simple. Really. Be mindful of your purchasing habits, and only buy what you will eat. Observe yourself, your waste, and how much money you will save by only buying what you can eat. But don’t take my word for it. Dive into your own research to prove it to yourself! Eat what you buy!
#31 The Pie Pan TO GO Container
When you’re out to eat and in need of a To Go container, why not use your own, instead of the styrofoam?! That’s what I do! For at least the past 4 years I’ve taken along with me in some form, a container for leftover food. Be it from a restaurant, a party, a bakery, family gathering, work function, or a bevy of other situations. It’s been used 100s of times. Thereby minimizing my waste and footprint by declining the provided one-time use, but not disposable packaging, and using my own! While you can technically use any container you’d like, I’ve found that two aluminum pie pans (i love pie!) held together by three binder clips, with a set of utensils inside, is the most durable option for me. As this hangs out in my vehicle all year round (or in my backpack), it holds up against both the heat and cold, where anything plastic would soften, or become brittle. In addition, the pie pans are easily cleaned, extremely durable, keeps the food warm/cold until your final destination, and 100% recyclable! It’s an excellent choice to carry with you as your own TO GO Container! No waste, no worries! What do you think? Do you carry your own to-go packaging with you?
#32 Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate) as Deodorant!
A box of baking soda should be in every household. It’s uses and versatility are unmatched. One of those uses is as a deodorant. Yup! It both absorbs moisture, and odor -minus all the harsh chemicals!- better than (I’d argue) anything sold anywhere as a deodorant/antiperspirant. I’ve been using Baking Soda on my armpits for the past 6+ years. And i’d recommend nothing else. First, put some in a container which you can keep in your bathroom. Then take a small amount in the palm of your hand (too much and you’ll have dust everywhere!) then pat into your pits lightly. Dust the rest back into the container, and pat your pits with a towel to release any excess dust. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. The drawback; until you get the hang of the right amount, too much and you’ll have the cops on your door mistaking you as Pablo Escobar, and chaffing if you used too much…as it’s still an abrasive. Depending on how much you put on, then sweat out, you could also have white rings on your shirt. But this excess dust only adds the same positive effects to the washing process! Results: It’s cheaper and works better than anything on the market, it removes ALL plastic from the process as the cardboard box it comes in can easily be recycled -reused -or composted, and you only have to use it 2-3 times a week! Seriously, you don’t need deodorant on a daily basis. Who told you this? Your Aunt Clara? Take it from me, and try Baking Soda out for yourself… Hit Your Pits Today!!
#33 H20 Filters: returnable & recyclable
A lot of us use varying types of water filters to get a cleaner, crisper, tastier glass of water. We also use them to remove the potential threat of harsh chemicals from the treatment plant, and the pipes it arrives to us in. But what do you do with these filters once exhausted? Toss them away? Stop! You don’t have to do that. All of these filters can be returned, and recycled into something else instead of being tossed! If you use Brita filters, you can save/collect 5 pounds or more (15-20 filters) and send them to Terracycle, via the Brita site, for FREE! Yes, for FREE! And yes, that’s a lot of filters. But if you connect with your community to get a collection going (which can be tough), the amount becomes less daunting. There are other ways to return your H20 filters instead of tossing them, but these methods all cost money (Check out Terracycle to get those details). The Brita way is FREE. Thus, if you use a plastic H20 filter to assist in cleaning and making your drinking water safer, skip the trash bin once it’s exhausted, and ship it off to Terracycle (via the Brita site) to give it a second life! Plastic is everywhere. Any amount we can reuse positively, instead of simply tossing it out, is an amount worth the effort.
#34 Junk the JUNK MAIL
Junk snail mail is one of the many contributors of landfill waste, and household annoyances. Some pieces do get recycled, but a good portion of it has plastic in it. Therefore it cannot be put into paper recycling (note this!). There isn’t any point to it. Have you ever responded to an unsolicited random offer in the post? I Haven’t! Let’s junk the junk mail! To stop junk mail, and only get the mail you want, there are a few ways to go about it. First, optoutprescreen.com will let you stop for 5 years, or permanently, credit offers associated with the major credit reporting companies. DMAchoice.thedma.org will let you manage direct mailings from businesses (note: there might be a hidden price here, be alert!). Direct mail, will also get you removed from similar lists. You can be removed from the yellow pages, or phone directories via (registration required). And if you receive mail that doesn’t say your name, but instead says “current resident” or some other generic statement, put in big bold letters on the mail; “RETURN TO SENDER”, and drop it back in the post box. However, through my own experiences, the very best method to be removed from any mailing list -as the references above will not cover everything- is to call the company who is sending you the unwanted mail, as soon as you get the mail, and ask to be removed from their list permanently. This has been the most successful method for me by far. As of this writing, i typically get 3-5 pieces of mail a week; DVD’s and bills. In the big picture, that’s still a lot, but its waaaay smaller than what I used to get 5 years ago. Take it one piece at a time, pick up the phone, and junk the junk mail!
#35 VOTE: None of the Above
Straight up; if you don’t like any of the possible candidates running to be your elected representative, instead of not voting (or voting for Mickey Mouse as that is a waste of a voice) vote a write in ballot with ‘NON OF THE ABOVE’. Why? It’s a signal to leaders, and fellow citizens, that you, and the people around you, deserve better representatives. And by doing so, you have exercised your right to let your voice be heard, where so many have, are, and will die for that same chance. While I can’t blame anyone for not voting, as I never did until 2017, I personally did a 180 after the 2016 election. Never again will I pass up the opportunity to vote. Because if I do, i will have given up my right to voice my opposition to a truly toxic individual. Next time, no matter the race, vote. And if you do not like anyone on the ballot, let your voice be heard and vote… ‘NONE OF THE ABOVE!’.
#36 Biodegradable does not mean Compostable
If you see something that says ‘Biodegradable’, do not be fooled into thinking that this means it’s safe, non-toxic, or earth friendly. Many companies use the term ‘Biodegradable’ as a greenwashing tactic into manipulating the consumer into thinking it’s safe. And that by buying it, you are doing a positive for the environment. In extremely basic terms, biodegradable means that it will break down in a small undetermined amount of time -much less than 1,000 years, as compared to plastics- but in no way is biodegradable acknowledged as a safe, non-toxic, earth friendly end to an item. Companies, and people, also use ‘Biodegradable’ interchangeably with ‘Compostable’. This is not correct. In simple terms, ‘Compostable’ means that the item will safely degrade back into the environment, into a non-toxic no longer recognizable state, in a very short amount of time. Thus, get educated; don’t be fooled by people, companies, and items stating ‘Earth-Friendly Biodegradable’ or other such phrases. The only safe way an item can go back into the earth, is if it states it’s entirely ‘Compostable’.
#37 Let the pee be!
Simple: don’t flush every time you take a pee. Why? There isn’t any need to. If you at least flush every other time, that’s half the amount of water -fresh drinkable water- that you’ve just saved from going back into the system, getting treated, and going back out into the world in some form, at some place (perhaps the creek near your home). If your toilet is new, and High Efficiency, it could use as little as 1.2 gallons per flush > if you flush 4 times a day, half of that would be 2.4 gallons saved > over a year you would have saved 876 gallons. And that’s just YOU, and your high efficiency toilet!! Think about it; if everyone flushes on every trip, and being the possibilities that a lot of toilets are very old and could use up to around 7 gallons per flush, that’s a crazy amount of fresh drinkable water being wasted for no reason! Next time your about to hit the handle, steady your hand, and holster it until the next round. Your bank account will thank you from a smaller water bill, and you’ll have saved a massive amount of fresh drinkable water, which we do not have a limitless supply of here. Thus, If it’s pee, let it be.. and if it’s brown, flush it down!
#38 Beware Greenwashing!
In short, Greenwashing is; disinformation disseminated by an organization, or a an individual, so as to present an environmentally responsible public image, and having little to no action or effort being undertaken on the specific topic. This problem is everywhere, and there is no sector that is free of such manipulation, nor is anyone safe from being manipulated (this includes me!). And certain ‘green companies’, are a big part of this problem as well. A few signs of greenwashing are; spending more on advertising/marketing/design than the actual product or service; using a ‘green name’ but selling a toxic product; disclosing only the good parts of a product/service, but leaving the negatives hidden deep in fine print or behind closed doors; using words such as ‘organic’, ‘sustainable’, ‘green’, ‘eco’, ‘earth friendly’, ‘non-toxic’, ‘compostable’, ‘biodegradable’, and much more in a false context; plus more, and more, and more examples. All of these issues cause great harm to the consumer, the economy, the environment, and the actual ‘Green’ companies. The ways to fight ‘Greenwashing’ (based upon whitewashing) is to do your research -don’t automatically believe what you read or hear; use your purchasing power to fight back; and tell people, companies, anyone and everyone what you’ve found…Speak Up! Greenwashing causes great harm, and it’s not ending anytime soon. But you can make better, more informative choices, by refusing to be deceived.
#39 Bag the plastic bag, for a better bag
Plastic shopping bags are a cheap, easy way to collect your purchased items. The items go in. You go home. The bag goes in the trash. Out of sight, out of mind. But it’s not that simple. The plastic bag is a notorious pollutant. They get tossed on the streets, degrade into tiny pieces -not to be confused with composting- get into natural habitats, the oceans and waterways, are eating by animals, and create all sorts of severe environmental damage. Yes, your free plastic bag is a cause for great concern. But have no fear! Reusable bags are here! And are mostly FREE!! Pick a few of these up, carry them around with you, and refuse the free plastic bag whenever you can. If you do happen to use a plastic bag, see if you can save it for recycling. While it’s not common, there are places that will recycle plastic bags. Reach out to your local government, or food store, to see if they have info on this. But in the end, the solution to the plastic bag is to simply refuse. And bring your own non-plastic reusable bag!