I haven’t talked awhile about the “Greening of the Zoots” around here but I thought I’d give you all some updates as we’re about to take a few other baby steps into becoming more green.
As I’ve discussed before, becoming “more green” can seem very overwhelming if take note of all of the things everyone else is doing. And then you you feel so behind you do nothing. Instead, educate yourself and start with one thing. Or start partially with one thing. Every step you take is a step in the right direction, so don’t not use your reusable bags simply because you keep forgetting them, celebrate the once in awhile you DO remember. It takes awhile to reprogram old habits so don’t be too hard on yourself.
Popular views are that Vegetarian diets are the best step to creating a smaller carbon footprint. And while I agree, there are also articles that suggest that – depending on how you look at environmental impact – some crops may be equivalent to meat in terms of carbon footprints.
HOWEVER – I still believe, after all I’ve read, that being vegetarian is the best decision for me to minimize my carbon footprint. And most literature supports that. But maybe you can just choose to do Milk-Free mornings, or meatless Mondays as baby steps! And remember – buying from local farmers at your local farmer’s market is ALWAYS a better environmental decision no matter what you’re buying. Factory farming is much worse for the environment than small-scale farms so you can celebrate any time you opt that route!
This was actually the “first step” my family made back in 2005. We were filling up an entire garbage bin every week so we started really focusing on what our city would pick up for recycling at the curb. Now, every state is different and it should come as NO SURPRISE that here we can’t put as much on the curb as other cities, but figure out what’s allowed in you area. And then, do what we do, find out where your drop-off recyclery is and see what you can take there. We can’t leave corrugated cardboard or glass on the curb, but we CAN take it to the recyclery. NOW – if you have to go 8 miles out of the way to recycle stuff YOU ARE NOT MINIMIZING YOURE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT. Plan smart, ours is just about 1 mile away from a common route I take to certain stores so I plan my trip to the recyclery around those errands.
Now, first of all, Reusuable Bags are only better for the environment if you NEVER THROW THEM AWAY. They decompose at terrible slow rates so you need to make sure you’re actually using them and not giving up and putting them in the garbage. Now, that article points out that regular plastic bags are recycleable, BUT, When petroleum prices are really low recyclers won’t recycle them because it costs more to recycle than for people to make new ones. So educate yourself. And buy reusuable bags that you can use for other things (I have several cute tote bags that I use for tons of stuff and several plasticy bags I use for wet stuff like pool gear) so that when/if you ever have to thrown them away, you know you’ve used them enough to justify it. It takes awhile to get in the habit of using them, but once you do it’s so easy. I don’t even think about it anymore.
Don’t Buy Individually Packaged Items
Now, here my family is about halfway there. We use tiny storage containers for chips and crackers in lunches so we don’t buy those individually packaged, but we’re still doing individually packaged granola bars and applesauce/fruit strips. Remember – BABY STEPS. I know I could make my own granola bars but I haven’t figured out how to fit that into my life yet. It’s okay to just do a little bit. Now, we are going to try out reusable sandwich bags this year as Nikki finds the little containers embarrassing. I’ll let you know how that goes!
Y’all, my favorite thing about fountain drinks is drinking out of a straw. I LOVE IT. I hate it when servers assume that I’m a grown-up and therefore don’t want a straw – GIVE ME A STRAW. It never occurred to me that they are terrible for the environment until I read this and I AM SO VERY SAD. So, our next baby step is to work on our straw use. I’ve talked to the kids about it (they’re sad too) and I am thinking about buying these. I’ll keep you posted on that.
BABY STEPS! Find one thing, do research on it, and then take baby steps in the “green” direction! Don’t be so overwhelmed you don’t do anything.