Happy New Year! During the New Year many people make resolutions to change. Why not make some green resolutions this year? Controversy to popular belief, living a green lifestyle doesn’t take that much time, it is very budget friendly, and very easy to do. It can be as simple as making a few small changes in how you view the world and how you live.
A few weeks ago I was at my local Whole Foods health food store eating in the dining area. I got up to compost my food scraps and napkin, and put away my plate (I had used my own bamboo utensils so I did not need to throw anything away). To my chagrin, someone had thrown away a few compostable and recyclable items into the trash bin!
I was really bothered by this. At my Whole Foods, the compost, recycling, and trash station is basically a single counter with different holes in it for trash, compostable items, and recyclables. In addition the station has a display behind clear plastic that has examples of what to put into each hole (So the recyclables display has items such as a glass bottle and plastic containers. The compostable section has a paper napkin, a few paper food containers, and a sign that says ‘food scraps’. And the trash/landfill part has examples of items that should be thrown away). The holes are located right next to each other, literally just inches away from each other. Someone had thrown away a couple of the paper food containers and a glass bottle, which were the exact same type as the ones in the display. I am not sure why anyone would want to throw away recyclable and compostable items when there are bins for them, when there were clear examples of what to place in each hole, and the different holes/bins are right next to each other. It only takes a few extra seconds to dump items into a few different holes instead of a single hole.
So like any good environmentalist or green-minded person, I picked the items out of the trash and put them in the right holes. And then I cleaned my hands.
This situation really concerned me, but while I believe we still have a long way to go in regards to environmental responsibility and change, I also think there has been much progress in the last few years. More and more people are using reusable bags when they go shopping, which reduces trash in our landfills. Traditional incandescent light bulbs are being phased out in favor of energy efficient light bulbs (the phase out started last year and will end in 2014), which reduces carbon pollution, lowers electric bills, and saves families money! Other countries have phased out traditional incandescent light bulbs too. And more people are educating themselves about environmental issues every single day.
It is not really that hard to be eco-friendly. Being green can be as simple as thinking about the impacts of your actions, or learning about new things. Or it can be as easy as making a difference--no matter how small or seemingly insignificant—such as putting your waste into the right bin, or reaching into a trashcan to fish out recyclables or compostable items. Start with a few small changes and then move on to bigger changes. I truly believe people can make a difference, if they choose to.
It is my hope that during this New Year, more and more people will learn about environmental issues (large and small), and how to live a green lifestyle.
My article from last year on eco resolutions: http://www.allnaturalbeauty.com/articles/eco-living/69-living-an-earth-friendly-lifestyle/701-eco-living-new-year-eco-resolutions
My first anb eco living article from 2008, What is Eco Living?: http://www.allnaturalbeauty.com/articles/eco-living/69-living-an-earth-friendly-lifestyle/66-eco-living1
Natural Resources Defense Council’s article on light bulbs: http://www.nrdc.org/energy/lightbulbs/
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) website on recycling basics: http://epa.gov/recycle/recycle.html
Search Earth911’s website to find out where to recycle different items in your area: http://search.earth911.com/
About The Author:
Li Wong is the owner of Earth Alkemie, an all natural, vegetarian skin care and perfume company. She has a B.A. in Environmental Studies (Biology) and a M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy. Li has been crafting natural cosmetics and studying aromatherapy and herbalism since 2001. Environmental interests include conservation, botany, ethnobotany (uses of plants by indigenous peoples), mammals, organic standards in cosmetics, urban wildlife issues, environmental education and awareness, and public perception. She is the all natural beauty website’s Eco Living and DIY Natural Beauty Formulating Expert, and the anb’s mall Eco Living writer. http://www.anbportal.com/meet_the_all_natural_beauty_experts.htm
For more information on environmental issues, Eco Living, natural cosmetics, aromatherapy, and herbalism check out: Solarkat’s Eco Blog: http://solarkateco.blogspot.com/
For information on Earth Alkemie's products (skin care, hair care, DIY raw ingredients, and containers), properties of natural ingredients, the benefits of natural cosmetics, and green business practices, please visit Earth Alkemie’s blog: http://www.earthalkemie.com/blog