When on Earth did everybody suddenly start talking about sustainable living, making eco-friendly choices, and protecting our environment? you wonder.
Your eyes glance over the vast blue ocean, you hear the seagulls chirping along with the crashing of the waves, and you feel the sun on your skin. The sand is tickling your feet and the wind is gently combing your hair. You feel at peace. Life is good today. In fact, it’s great!
This planet is beautiful, oh-so-beautiful, you think.
How come so many of us shy away from looking at the other side of things — the side that is threatening this very beauty?
Truth be told, we’re impacting life on this planet and more often than not, it’s an adverse effect, threatening the nature and beauty we all love and seek. The urgency to make eco-conscious habits happen is pressing and the need for sustainable living dire.
Did you know that every year about 8 to 10 million metric tons of plastic somehow make their way into our oceans?¹ Once there, they threaten marine life and disturb the habitat fish, mammals, and other animals call home.
But we got this. You and me — all of us. We’re in this together. We can do it! We just need to focus some of our efforts on sustainable living. From this day out, your new motto shall be: “live green” — it’ll be a reminder of your commitment. And it’s easier than you think. I promise.
So here we go, friend. Let me take you by the hand and show you how this works.
Sustainable Living: Practical Tips for You & Me
According to National Geographic, close to 80% of plastic waste ends up in landfills with only a disappointing nine percent of plastic being recycled.² Obviously, this statistic is a bit unsettling.
But there are things you can do — all of us can do, to tip the scale in nature’s favor, reduce waste, and make eco-conscious decisions. You can make sustainable living a habit, change your routine, and advocate for the environment.
We’re not helpless after all. Let’s take a look.
Say No to Plastic Pollution
Plastic here, plastic there, plastic everywhere. How in the world did we get here?
With so much plastic in our oceans and landfills already, it’s imperative that we find ways to avoid adding to this existing problem. But how?
Now, this is a tricky one, as we roughly produce 400 metric tons of plastic every year.³ There are two paths we need to take:
- Find a way to remove plastic already in our oceans and the environment through clean-ups or collective initiatives
- Limiting the use of and discouraging the production of more plastic that will embark on the same environmentally-damaging journey
Here are some practical steps that can help nurture Planet Earth back to health:
(1) Avoid All Single-Use Plastics
Ditch that to-go coffee cup in the morning and avoid plastic grocery bags. Why?
Well, here’s a statistic to consider when you’re on the way to work, debating whether you should get a freshly brewed morning coffee. A shocking 50% of all plastic is made to be single-use plastic.⁴
That’s crazy, right? Now consider using your single-use plastics for 30 minutes while you’re slurping your coffee or 10 minutes to eat that yummy piece of birthday cake.
The sad truth is that while you use your single-use plastics briefly, they’re not gone. In fact, they will stick around for a very long time… several hundred years to be exact.⁴ It doesn’t have to be this way though.
(2) Use Only Reusables
Whether it’s utensils, cutlery, or bags, you can find a reusable container to use for everything, limiting our ever-growing waste problem. Want to reduce the amount of waste you produce? Get yourself an eco-friendly water bottle and avoid using a plastic water bottle every single time.
(3) Buy Products with Eco-Friendly Packaging
Products with regular plastic packaging add significantly to the amount of plastic waste we produce. Support companies that value and implement eco-friendly packaging alternatives.
At Herbaland, we’re passionate about reducing plastic waste, so we can maintain the beauty of our oceans and planet. And that’s why we swapped our plastic bottles to compostable pouches, helping us divert over 9 tons of plastic from landfills in 2022. We can do it and so can you!
(4) Recycle, Recycle, Recycle
With so much plastic being produced and discarded daily, there’s so much you can (re)use it for… again, and again, and again. Don’t add to the problem, add to the solution, my friend.
(5) Refill Skincare & Hygiene Products
Did you know that there are hygiene and skincare products with either eco-friendly packaging or options to refill the very same containers? No need to toss out your deodorant or shampoo bottle every time it’s empty. Just refill it.
(6) Do Your Research on Who You Support
Whether we care a lot about the environment or just a little, in the end, isn’t it still a matter of conscience for all of us?
Make sure you look into the companies you purchase from and investigate their contribution to our plastic problem or check if they’re part of the solution. How do they operate? What’s their philosophy on sustainability? You have the power to impact their path.
What to Do with Food Waste & Other Types of Waste?
While plastic is a major contributor to our growing waste problem, it’s not the only one. There are other types of waste we produce and wasteful habits we possess.
But if we’re awakening the environmentalist deep within you, we’re going to tackle more than just the pile of plastic waste. So, get your (metaphorical) shovel out, my friend and let’s get working on the mountains of waste we humans are creating.
(7) Limit Food Waste & Start Composting
Alone in the US, over 54 million tons of food were wasted in 2019,⁵ which is an insane amount of food. So what can you do to make things better?
- Start by purchasing only what you need, your fridge doesn’t need to be overflowing. Meal planning comes in particularly handy because it allows you to limit what you buy.
- Say “yes” to leftovers. Remember how your mom told you to always finish your plate? Yep, she’s a wise lady, I tell ya. She didn’t just want you to grow big and strong but also to help limit producing more unnecessary food waste.
- Use your veggie scraps to regrow vegetables in your own garden
- Compost & use food waste as a fertilizer, like coffee, banana peels, and tea bags
- You know what it’s like being at the store and seeing that funky-looking fruit or mildly deformed zucchini. Buy it. Sometimes people shy away from buying veggies and fruits that are different-looking. Allow me to let you in on a secret: they taste just as good.
(8) And Then There Came Electronic Waste
Truly a problem of the modern human, electronic waste is becoming a real issue. Think about all the different cables and chargers you get every time you purchase a new phone, the laptop you broke just the other day, and the headphones that stopped working on the train to Boston.
Where do they go?
If you can’t reuse your electronics, recycle them. Don’t add to the mountain of waste going into landfills. There are designated organizations willing to recycle the ever-growing amount of electronic waste. Try Earth911 or Recycle Now to find a location near you.
(9) Discard Batteries and Paint in an Eco-Friendly Fashion
You might think it’s easier to just dump batteries and paint in your regular household trash, but nope, can’t do, my friend. In fact, oil-based paint falls under “hazardous waste” and could harm wildlife as well as adversely impact groundwater aquifers.
Batteries should be recycled or taken to special household hazardous waste collection points. Lithium batteries could potentially start fires and should never be discarded with regular household trash.
The good news is that a lot of devices allow you to select a “battery saver” mode, so you can avoid draining your battery too quickly. Limit any unnecessary waste and recycle your batteries when they’re used up.
Ready to Start Your Sustainable Living Journey?
Sometimes we simply don’t know where to start. We feel lost. But don’t worry, friend — we got you. We’ll embark together on this journey towards sustainable living.
At Herbaland, each and every one of us is passionate about educating fellow humans about what we can do to make a difference for this beautiful planet that we all call home.
Become an advocate for the environment and support the companies that love and nurture that environment. Want to see how Herbaland is eagerly working towards sustainability? Learn more about Herbaland’s sustainability efforts and our products here.
- Ocean plastic pollution an overview: data and statistics. Accessed December 20, 2022. https://oceanliteracy.unesco.org/plastic-pollution-ocean/
- A Whopping 91 Percent of Plastic Isn’t Recycled. Accessed December 21, 2022. https://education.nationalgeographic.org/resource/whopping-91-percent-plastic-isnt-recycled
- 25 Plastic Wave Statistics that Will Shock You. Accessed January 4, 2023. https://theroundup.org/plastic-waste-statistics/
- Plastic Pollution Facts. Accessed January 4, 2023. https://plasticoceans.org/the-facts/
- Food Waste Tons. Accessed January 4, 2023. https://insights-engine.refed.org/food-waste-monitor?break_by=sector&indicator=tons-waste&view=detail&year=2019