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We can all agree that climate change is real, right? Okay, so even if you’re a non-believer for whatever reason, at least we as a society can agree that we definitely produce too much waste, and in general are not the most conscientious about being socially responsible as much as we could.
With that being said, it can be discouraging to see the polar ice caps melting, polar bears wilting away, turtles caught in plastic, to name a few among many tragedies. We think, “How can my plastic bag from the grocery store cause this, or me not using one reduce it?” Well, even if you’re not going out and collecting trash from the oceans, or planting trees daily, you can definitely help reduce our impact on climate change. These are all very basic, realistic, and simple ways that almost anyone can do.
This seems incredibly basic, but SOOOO many people just do not recycle. I’ve heard countless times that people don’t recycle because they don’t have time, or more commonly, they don’t have access to recycling bins in their apartments, alleys, wherever.
There have always been arguments about whether recycling is efficient or not. For example, some materials can be broken down and reused to make the same materials again, whereas other recyclable items can be downcycled, recycled once to make something and then may become unable to be recycled again. (I will cite an article below on the debate of the environmental and economic impacts of recycling and the importance of recycling.)
To make things simple for you, here are the things you can recycle and where you can recycle them if you don’t have access at home:
Things to recycle:
- Plastic (check labels if recyclable)
- Paper and Cardboard
- Metal (tin, aluminium, and steel)
Where to Recycle
- Recycle Facility Locator (You can type in your address and find a facility near you.)
- Restaurants/Stores (Restaurant bins are typically open and accessible during the day. They’re located behind the building usually. You can ask the restaurant/store manager if you can toss your recyclable items in their bin. There is a good chance they would not have a problem with it.)
2. Buy eco-friendly household products.
From household cleaners to toilet paper, all of the items you use in your home on a regular basis can contribute to the environment in two ways: Harm it or help it.
When you go shopping, try to find products that are stored in recyclable bottles and/or are biodegradable. You can also use online delivery services to cut out the research for you.
Also, did you know that “green” products will actually cost you about the same amount of money as toxic, harmful products we are all used to.
Websites to Check Out
They donate a portion of each shipment to plant trees.
I personally use this website and I think it’s amazing! You can get things delivered every month, or you can move the shipping date/cancel at any time!
You can use my referral link and get a free gift set.
2. The Good Trade for Cleaning Products
Here are some Eco-Friendly Brands that I personally use:
- Seedling by Grove
- Seventh Generation
- Mrs. Meyer’s
3. Stop buying fast fashion.
Fast fashion is the inexpensive super trendy clothes that we all love so much! It’s so tempting to buy Fashion Nova or Forever 21 clothes. Honestly, I love the clothes. But they’re so damaging for the planet. I know it’s cheap and cute, but if you bought something higher quality, more ethically responsible, it’ll last longer and impact the world in a better way.
If you want to learn more about fast fashion and its impact here are some videos to check out:
- The True Cost of Fast Fashion - The Economist
- Fashion: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (This one is funny.)
Here are some clothing brands you can buy from instead:
1. Patagonia (This is my absolute favorite company.)
Patagonia promotes creating the smallest environmental impact, not creating more harm to the environment than absolutely necessary, fair labor practices and working conditions.
They are striving to minimize the environmental impact, and have various lines of their clothes dedicated to that.
They use sustainable processes and materials, and strive for admirable business practices.
1. New Balance
Besides social responsibility, NB has created environmental initiatives, and NB Gives Back Campaign.
They actually use recycled plastic to make shoes.
They’re cruelty free and repair shoes so you throw less away.
This is another familiar brand, similar to NB, and they use sustainable production. Their shoes are made of 80% recycled material.
H&M is known as a fast fashion brand but they have placed goals striving for sustainability, are attempting to go organic for their cotton products by 2020 and have set environmental requirements for their suppliers.
You can also drop off bags of old clothing you don’t want and they will send it to a recycling plant and even give you a 15 percent discount. Learn more here.
4. Donate to awesome organizations.
Here are some awesome organizations you can look into, and see which you’re most passionate about. You can donate to some, actually volunteer for some, but since this article is about simple things you can do at home, you can just skip one day of Starbucks or McDonald’s or even stopping at the gas station for a snack and just donate a bit of change!
5. Research before you buy.
This is by far the most time consuming thing on this list, but well worth it. If you’re thinking about buying a new laptop or a new pair of shoes or ran out of laundry detergent and have to run out to get some, you can simply google “green” or “eco-friendly” products/brands/etc. You can find what you need almost instantly.
So next time you want a new outfit, or want new sneakers, check out the list above, or just Google it and make a smart decision. Maybe if you start doing it little by little, it can turn into a lifestyle. The principles are simple. It’s supply and demand.
If you demand more ethical, socially/environmentally responsible products, the supply for those will increase and they may even become mainstream.
I am not sponsored by any of the mentioned brands above. All of the opinions are my own. I have a referral link for grove.co.
Please note that these lists are just a sample and by no means extensive. You can definitely look into all of this more but if you’re interested in a quick breakdown of simple things to make the world a better place, this is the article for you!
Hutchinson, A. (2019). Is Recycling Worth It? PM Investigates its Economic and Environmental Impact. [online] Popular Mechanics. Available at: https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/environment/a3752/4291566/ [Accessed 13 Mar. 2019].
Recycling Guide. (2019). Recycling is Important. [online] Available at: http://www.recycling-guide.org.uk/importance.html [Accessed 13 Mar. 2019].