Go Zero Waste for Earth Day...and turn it into a Lifestyle!
This year, Earth Day will be celebrated on Saturday, April 22, 2023. Founded in 1970 -- Earth day is an annual global day of action to raise awareness for environmental issues through engagement, activism, and education, and to inspire society to take action to preserve our natural environment by reducing the impacts of climate change. One way each and every one of us can take meaningful personal action to address the impacts of climate change is to go zero waste and turn it into a lifestyle! Below are a few zero waste lifestyle tips to help you get started on this journey.
- Begin Composting
SB 1383 is a relatively new California state law aimed to divert organic materials from reaching our landfills. In Santa Rosa, 40% of what is thrown in the trash is organic and considered compostable. Some examples of common organic materials that are compostable include: food scraps such as fruit, vegetables, meat, bones, grass, flowers, branches, food-soiled paper such as paper towels, napkins and delivery pizza boxes. When organic materials such as food scraps and yard debris end up the landfill, they decompose anaerobically (without oxygen) and produce greenhouse gases. Do your part to help slow climate change by composting in your green organics bin provided by Recology or create your own backyard composting system!
2. Reuse, Reuse, Reuse
Purchase a durable and reusable water bottle and coffee cup to prevent you from purchasing single-use throw away alternatives. This seems simple but is incredibly impactful. You can avoid on average 156 bottles annually by just using a reusable water bottle. Purchase reusable cloth or mesh produce and shopping bags to avoid using single use plastic bags every time you go shopping -- this can significantly reduce a huge source of individual waste.
Other examples of common household items that you can switch to a reusable option include paper towels and single-use disposable razors – instead opt for reusable cloth rags/towels and straight razors. Lastly, jars, jars, and more jars – jars are the zero waster’s best friend. You can use them to buy in bulk, store prepared meals, or even make your own do-it-yourself stuff. Reuse is the way to go!
3. Refuse unnecessary plastic items
If you don’t need the item, you don’t have to take it! We all live in a plastic disposable world, but we can help change the culture with our daily actions. Single-use consumables are not only piling up in our landfills at staggering speeds, but there is also a good chance some of these items are piling up in a long-forgotten cupboard at home. Examples of such items include plastic water bottles, takeaway coffee cups, plastic cutlery and straws, plastic grocery bags, etc.
4. Shopping – Buy in Bulk As Much As Possible
Whether you’re aiming for a plastic free kitchen or just cutting back on your overall packaging waste, bulk shopping can help you reach these goals. Bulk shopping doesn’t mean stocking up on 40 rolls of wrapped paper towels from a big box distributor, but rather refill and bulk bin shopping where items are stored in bins or dispensers, without individual packaging. Benefits of buying in bulk include; only buying the amount of product you want or need, filling your own containers thereby eliminating the need for packaging, and wasting less food and household items.
5. Always ask yourself – do I actually need this?
For items you can’t outright refuse, simply try to reduce how much of them you buy or reduce the amount of waste they generate. Start by cutting back on how much you buy in general. Adopt a minimalist mindset and stop buying stuff you don’t need. Challenge yourself to buy less new clothes or technology upgrades. Try to eat out less – pack your own lunch instead of buying plastic wrapped foods and snacks on the go. Purchase fewer physical gifts – ask for a donation or an experience gift – these are generally more eco friendly and well received by friends and family!
Visit Zero Waste Santa Rosa or Zero Waste Sonoma for more information.