How has science become such a political issue? How is science even politicized to begin with? I was never a science kid in school. To this day I have no advanced comprehension of science in general. And so because I am aware that I am not a scientist, chemist, biologist, etc. I know that I have no room to argue with the people who study and are knowledgeable in that field.
This “argument” over whether climate change and global warming have become – and excuse the pun- a hot topic in American politics. Different states have different laws and regulations when it comes to combating climate change. In my home state of Florida, there isn’t really much being done to regulate our impact on the environment.
Producing plastic is cheaper for companies to produce than using eco-friendly packaging. Large corporations produce so much CO2 and non-recycable plastic that it will take centuries to get rid of the plastic they produce on a daily basis. Many corporations and American legislation have pretty much put recycling of products on the consumer rather than taking responsibility for the damage they have caused and continue to cause to the environment.
Our society has been set up to make it difficult to be eco-conscious. Public transportation is not accessible in most cities in the U.S. There are no federal regulations currently in place to minimize climate change. And to top it all off large corporations are currently not doing enough to help reverse the damage they have already done.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t do our part in trying to live sustainably in our individual lives.
Save your glass containers for easy storage
Why would you spend money on mason jars when you can reuse your empty pasta and condiment containers? I keep a majority of my pantry items in glass containers that I acquired over the course of my pasta addiction. I use jars to hold my office supplies, cleaning supplies, etc.
Invest in reusable Ziplock bags
I didn’t realize how many plastic ziplock bags I use up until I started putting things in jars. I usually pack my lunches every day and also do a lot of meal prep for the week. I have used plastic ziplock bags in my kitchen my entire life. I recently found out that a lot of those plastic bags are not recyclable.
Amazon has a lot of different options for reusable ziplock bags. I currently use a reusable plastic brand that comes in a pack of 20, which is perfect for meal preppers like myself, or for families who are always packing sandwiches to go.
Refill your water bottles
I have already written about the importance of drinking water and staying hydrated. The current recommendation is to drink at least half of your body weight in ounces in water per day. So if you are 200 pounds then it is recommended to drink at least 100 ounces of water per day. Now, I don’t know about you but that seems like quite a lot of plastic bottles- six to be exact- to be drinking every single day. Not only is that not cost effective, but that is a lot of plastic use just for one person. Almost everyone I know owns a reusable water bottle. I personally have one for every day of the week (listen, they were gifts… from me to myself).
Small businesses are the current front-runners in reusable products. Many of the small businesses I go to are all finding ways to make sustainable products available to their communities and finding ways to reduce their own carbon footprint.
My favorite not-so-small business for reusables is currently Zero Waste Store. They are currently an online store with so many different products. All of their packaging is carbon neutral and is 100% recyclable. They pretty much have everything you can think of from bathroom products, food storage, cleaning supplies, and so much more.
If you are like me and have some sensitivities toward hard chemicals, mixing your own natural cleaning products may be a great fit for you. There are many different DIY recipes on the internet. My favorite natural cleaning item I always keep on hand is cleaning vinegar. Just a small amount is enough to work as a disinfectant and is great for cleaning my counters and floors.
DIY cleaners also can be stored in reusable spray bottles so you are able to limit your plastic use. This may seem time-consuming at first, but once you get the initial cleaners done, it is really easy to maintain.
Ask for paper bags instead of plastic when grocery shopping
I personally like to rock the reusable grocery bags to do my shopping, but there have been numerous times I have walked into the store and realized I left my bags at home again. Not enough customers think to ask for paper instead of plastic when checking out at their local Publix. Cashiers don’t even ask ‘paper or plastic’ anymore. Whenever I am in line to check out at the store I would either ask for paper bags or if it’s just one or two items I simply do not take the bag.
Reuse where you can
My plastic grocery bags have been reutilized as my bathroom trash bags, make-shift poop bags for my dogs, and of course been used as gloves for when I am working with staining materials. Pretty much anything can be reused at least one time. My family used to reuse the aluminum foil because “it was still good”. We also would reuse the plastic water bottles and fill them with tap water. We weren’t exactly eco-friendly more than we were just poor.
There are so many ways that we can cut back on our carbon footprints on an individual scale. Recycling, using public transportation, buying sustainable and reusable products, building a compost bin, planting a garden, etc. There is not a complete checklist that we all have to follow in order to be considered eco-friendly households. Not every single sustainable life hack fits into every person’s lifestyle.
At the end of the day, the best advice is to try what you think will work best for your lifestyle, do research for hacks and ideas, join Facebook groups that discuss sustainability, zero waste, and recycling, and just doing the little things is good enough. One day we might actually come together and governments can find a way to help combat climate change. But in the meantime, we can all do our part in making our only home last long enough to last us generations.