We’re all eco-conscious. We’ve come of age in an era in which we learned about turning off the water when we brushed our teeth and recycling our paper and plastic. Yet, what we’ve come to realize is it takes more than conserving water and cashing in our cans.
To me, Earth Day is like the New Year’s Day of environmental responsibility. It’s the day every year when you vow to make at least one change, do at least one thing differently, to help our planet heal. These changes may seem small. You might say to yourself, “How much is this really helping?”
The thing is, there are over 7 billion people on the planet, and over 300 million of them live right here in the Unites States. Summary: we use a lot of stuff. Which means if every person in the U.S. made just one small change to their habits, that’s a lot of change.
My biggest pet peeve is water bottles. Not only is the plastic not good for the planet, but it’s not good for you either! Make a small investment in a reusable water bottle and you can cut down on the 22 billion plastic bottles thrown away each year. I highly recommend the Camelbak Groove which has its own filter built in, so you can fill it up anywhere, anytime and have thirst-quenching clean water ready to drink.
Another super simple change is to bring your own bags when you shop. Whether it’s a trip to the mall or your weekly grocery trip, there’s no need to allow yourself to be loaded up with non-biodegradable, flimsy plastic bags. Outside of the fact that they turn you into a walking billboard for the store, they’re just totally unnecessary. Keep a stash of convenient,, reusable bags in your car so you can skip the horrible plastic monstrosities.
Same goes for your packed lunches. Skip the plastic and keep your sandwich stored in an unbleached paper snack bag. If you really like to be organized, the New Wave Enviro Lunch Bag comes with BPA- and lead-free containers that fit nicely in the insulated (also lead-free) lunch bag.
And don’t forget to take care of yourself and your family inside your home. Vitacost.com has a huge selection of eco-friendly household products and cleaners including Method, Seventh Generation, GrabGreen and Mrs. Meyers. I personally noticed a big difference when I started using GrabGreen Automatic Dishwasher Detergent. I hadn’t realized it, but those common place soaps were coating everything I ate with — flatware, plates, glasses, etc — in chemicals just to keep my drinking glasses “spotless.” Now, my food and drinks taste like they’re supposed to, and nothing beats the taste of orange juice sans ammonia residue.