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June 9, 2021

5 Easy Eco-Friendly Switches we should all Make Today.

 

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Sustainability is one of my favorite subjects this year.

It’s important and something we should talk about more. It’s not just a hippie thing; it’s a survival thing. We have been doing things the same way for a long time and just because they work, it doesn’t mean it’s what’s best.

I want to share some eco-friendly switches you can make today that can make a difference tomorrow:

1. Toothbrush.

One of the cheapest and easiest switches you can make. Did you know every single plastic toothbrush you have ever used still exists today?

One billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown away every year in the United States, creating 50 million pounds of waste annually.

The most obvious problem is that most of these plastic toothbrushes will never fully biodegrade. They’ll just degrade into smaller microplastics, which are dangerous to us and our wildlife.

A science team estimated that the average American consumes more than 70,000 particles of microplastics per year. We are producing so much trash that we are literally eating it. You don’t have to believe me. Just do some research.

But, with over one billion toothbrushes being thrown out each year, it’s concerning enough for us to politely nudge our friends and family to make a switch.

Brushing with bamboo is a small way to help eliminate unnecessary waste and help out our environment. Start a daily revolution in your life by making the switch.

2. Bottles.

Plastic bottles are the number one waste item. According to the EPA, the average American person will produce about 5.91 pounds of trash, with about 1.51 pounds being recycled; 4.40 pounds is the rough average daily waste per person. That’s a lot of trash.

In the United States alone, 38 billion water bottles alone end up in landfills. Investing in a reusable water bottle helps the environment in all the ways plastic water bottles harm it.

I know most restaurants will not let you refill your own cup for sanitary purposes but imagine if that was the new normal? If every restaurant had a bring your own cup policy, it would cut down on overhead expenses and help save the planet! Honestly, it’s a win-win in my book.

Aside from the pollution plastic brings, it can also be unhealthy. Drinking from plastic puts you at risk of being exposed to harmful chemicals like BPA and other plastic toxins that can eventually cause problems like cancer or liver and kidney damage. Nowadays, most plastics no longer contain BPA, but the bacteria that can form after bottles are used can still be harmful to your body.

The best choice is to choose an environmentally friendly alternative, such as a stainless-steel bottle or a glass jar.

3. Bags.

Plastic bags have taken over and more than just the cabinets under our sinks. They have polluted our planet, harmed our oceans and animals. There is a plethora of documentaries available begging people to make lifestyle changes.

Did you know other countries have already banned plastic? The west coast has already joined the movement by banning single-use plastic from grocery stores. I’m a big fan, but my first experience was a little awkward.

I went grocery shopping in Oregon and at the end of check out, they never bagged my groceries. Well, I stood to the side for a few minutes wondering how they expected me to carry all this food. Luckily, my friend let me know you’re supposed to bring your own bags!

What can you do now? Politely decline the bags and bring your own. It’s an easy habit to start and it makes a difference.

If pollution and chemicals weren’t enough reasons, here’s one more: plastic bags require unsustainable amounts of resources to make. In the United States alone, 12 million barrels of oil are used every year to meet the country’s need for plastic bags. I’m no professional, but I’m pretty sure we could use those 12 million barrels for more important things.

With so many reasons to ditch plastic bags, it’s no wonder that an ever-growing number of places are making the ban. We can start making a difference now.

4. Straws.

Can saving the turtles be enough reasons to ditch plastic straws? I think so. There are so many straws, and it’s not even a real necessity; it’s a luxury. A luxury that is polluting our planet. Most plastic straws simply break into ever-smaller particles, releasing chemicals into the soil, air, and water that are harmful to animals, plants, people, and the environment.

If turtles weren’t enough reason, drinking through a straw can contribute to lip wrinkles, cavities, and teeth staining. If you must drink through a straw, consider using a reusable straw to help reduce plastic waste.

5. Plastic Utensils.

Let’s be honest, this is a lazy trend. Even the restaurants know it. No one needs plastic cutlery delivered to their home. We already have it. It’s an unconscious and wasteful habit.

Maybe you think, “It’s just one fork,” but multiplied by millions, those plastic utensils are terrible for the environment. After just one single use, most are thrown out and end up in landfills and in our water.

Plastic cutlery is one of those items that won’t get recycled even when you put it in the recycling bin. It’s too small, contaminated, and lightweight. So those 40 billion plastic utensils per year are a complete waste. One eco-friendly bamboo cutlery kit can cut out this bad habit.

Sustainability is a choice, but I hope we can make it a passion for our area. We don’t need everybody doing the eco-friendly thing perfectly—we just need every person making an effort. With every eco-friendly switch, you are saving money and the environment.

Let’s do our part!

For more plant tips, sustainable switches, and lifestyle choices stay tuned for future columns by me.

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