April is home to Earth Day. While we think every day should be Earth Day, April 22 is a great time to revisit what you’re currently doing to preserve our awesome earth and to start doing more. And the extra awesome news: All of the things on our list not only help save the environment, they also help you slim down and save money. Win-win-win.
DON’T: Fall for Pretty Packaging
According to the EPA, plastics, paper, and cardboard make up over 40% of our waste. Skip the packaging and buy items like whole grains, beans, dried fruit, nuts/seeds, and spices from bulk bins. Storing these in jars at home not only looks really cool, it prevents packaging waste. We like to take reusable fine mesh bags like this with us to the grocery store, load them up with items from the bulk bins, and then transfer our goods to glass jars.
DO: Pack Meals and Snacks from Home
Buying breakfast on your way to work, or heading out to pick up lunch on your lunch break, might seem like the most time efficient option, but it’s neither environmentally friendly, nor cost-effective. Consider that a to-go meal usually comes wrapped in paper or plastic (or in a styrofoam container), is placed inside a paper or plastic bag, and packed with plastic utensils and paper napkins.
That’s a whole lot of waste! Instead, pack up your lunch and breakfast (remember our 4 Fast Make-Ahead Breakfasts?) the night before in reusable containers. In the morning, grab your meals and head out the door. You’ll save cash, unnecessary packaging, and in most cases, time!
DON’T: Sip and Toss
Have a morning latte habit? If you sip on coffee from a disposable cup every weekday morning, you’re tossing over 250 cups, paper sleeves, and plastic lids into the landfills each year. We personally love the feeling of sipping out of the disposable cups (you can’t beat those lids!) so we use a ceramic version with a silicon lid (like this). Just bring it with you to your local java spot, or make your own coffee or tea at home to carry with you en route.
DO: Embrace Leftovers
We think we drove home our point that our food represents a considerable amount of earth’s resources, so we won’t dwell on that point. However, we will remind you not to waste food. So many people toss out leftover food, or don’t take a to-go box when they have restaurant leftovers. For your wallet, your waistline, and the earth, eat smaller portions and save the leftovers for a meal the next day!
DON’T: Supersize Your Portions
Eating more than your body needs to stay energized and healthy is not only bad for your health (and waistline) but also bad for the earth. It takes a lot more resources than many of us realize to produce our food. Next time you sit down to eat, consider what might have gone into the production of what’s on your plate.
If it’s packaged food, consider the resources that went into creating and packaging the tasty tidbits. If it’s produce, think about the water that was needed to grow the colorful fare (and the fuel needed to transport it to your local market if it’s not from a local farm). Our point is that everything you eat requires earth’s precious resources to get to your plate — so don’t waste food, whether that waste comes from eating more than you need, or simply throwing extra food out.
Will you do any of these things? What do you already do to help the earth?