April always has so much to offer in terms of making space for new things in your life. There is a beautiful sense of renewal this time of year, and everything seems to be reawakening with purpose and enthusiasm. It’s no surprise that Earth Day falls in April, since the arrival of spring provides a chance to review our habits and patterns with a fresh look towards protecting our planet. We’d like to focus this year’s Earth Day suggestions on an area of the house that tends to be the heart of any home, the kitchen. By incorporating these tips, you’ll be well on your way to making a difference in your life, your health & the sustainability of our planet.
Waste Less Food
Each year, 108 billion pounds of food are wasted in the United States. Remember that head of lettuce in the back of your produce drawer that wilted before you had a chance to use it or the leftovers that just went in the trash? The first step is being thoughtful about perishables that you bring into your house. Try to have a bin in the refrigerator labelled “Use this first” and plan your meals so that you use up ingredients in the refrigerator. And definitely compost food scraps instead of putting them in the landfill!
By eating vegetarian and/or dairy free for one day each week, you’ll go a long way towards reclaiming your health and reducing greenhouse gases. Amazingly enough, livestock production uses more greenhouse gases than the entire transportation sector, according to MondayCampaigns.org. Plus, you’ll end up eating more vegetables, grains and plant-based alternatives, which cuts down on your risk for diabetes and heart disease.
Say “No” To Plastic
Whether you reduce your plastic consumption by bringing reusable bags to the grocery store or shopping in the bulk section as much as possible (and don’t forget to bring reusable jars or paper bags for this type of shopping, too!), you’ll notice how much single-use plastic you can easily avoid. You can also think about lobbying your town or city to impose a fee for bags, since nothing changes habits faster than a hit to the wallet.
Earth-friendly Cleaning Products
From the minimalist packaging of their cleansers to the ingredients inside their spray bottles and cans, companies that offer eco-friendly cleaning products are thoughtful about what they are putting out in our environment. As opposed to many of the well-known cleaning brands, these products are safer for children, pets and the adults doing the cleaning. You always have the option to save a few pennies and make your own cleansers from vinegar, baking powder and the like, but store-bought brands offer convenience and ease while still being good to the Earth.
Use Less Water
A simple change of habit can go a long way, especially when it comes to water usage. Instead of running the tap while washing dishes, think about soaping up all the dirty dishes first, and then turning the water on for rinsing. If you’re using an earth-friendly dish soap, don’t be afraid to save the water from doing dishes and pour it on your outdoor plants. As a bonus, you may find that you start turning off the tap when brushing your teeth, too.
We worked to find things that wouldn’t feel like a radical transition to sustainability, but ones that could produce meaningful changes, nonetheless. You’ll find that when you crack open that door to rethinking your effect on the environment, it may just open your mind to a whole new perspective. And the amazing things is that a smaller footprint on this planet has incidental positive effects, like a healthier body, a less stressed pace of living and a more meaningful connection to the world around you.