It’s interesting that by writing this and implementing these changes, I simultaneously feel like a bandwagon-er and completely behind in times. It’s unfortunate that we live in a society where people trying to make a change outside of their normal day-to-day routines are often scoffed at or mocked, when really any small step we take, is probably a step in the right direction. Given my recent change in heart, I am not ashamed to admit this:
I haven’t been overly concerned with recycling or saving our planet.
Was I in the right? No. Was I young, selfish and slightly too self absorbed to care about something as large scale as our planet? Probably. Am I making amends and trying to encourage change now? Yes.
Going green wasn’t a huge come to Jesus moment for me or anything, it was more so the evolution of moving out, actually going through the motions of adulting myself, and seeing the options I had to make a difference. I’m fortunate that I was raised in a caring, aware and conscious family, where the basics of recycling, food waste, and plastic reduction were always implemented. With the building blocks there, and my frontal lobe finally (fingers crossed) developed, I guess something clicked.
We all scroll by those Facebook posts; divers floating through ocean currents of plastic, beached whales whose stomach contents are full of trash, the proof is in our dying ecosystems. It’s easy to feel a pang of sadness, tut at it for a moment, and keep scrolling. It’s easy to question why it’s happening, but it somehow wasn’t that apparent to me, that I wasn’t exactly the pillar of change myself. I’m so tired of the cliché saying that “every little bit helps” or “we can each make a difference, but together we can make a change”. While true, they’re tired and uninspired messages, that don’t really sink in anymore.
“I can’t fix the world’s problems, but I will do what I can to make a difference where I can.”
The quote above resonated with me much more. It’s silly to think that I alone will make a difference in helping our planet thrive, but it’s also ignorant to think that it isn’t the right step. If a student loan victim, city dwelling, uninformed millennial can choose to make a difference, then really, everyone can.
5 Steps I Took To Going Green
- Reusable shopping bags
Your local grocery store probably sells these for a $1 or $2- but if you like to throw money at things, here are some cute, coloured ones from Amazon. I don’t always remember to bring them, but it’s better than never.
- Reusable Straws
We are into saving the turtles people, get on board and get on your local restaurants backs if they haven’t gone straw free already. Opt for some stainless steel ones for home, or if you hate the sound of metal (it’s a thing), reusable plastic or glass straws.
- Produce bags
This is one thing your local grocery store definitely doesn’t supply, and you absolutely should invest in. Unlike plastic grocery bags, which you can at least reuse as a garbage bag, those plastic produce bags are literally just waste. Get some reusable ones, and start getting in the mindset of wanting to make a difference.
- Researching recycling laws
It definitely takes some getting used to consistently recycling and disposing of each item properly. Each municipality here has very different recycling rules when it comes to black plastic, styrofoam and even baby diapers. Make sure you’re aware of what you can and cannot recycle- and that you rinse your food items before recycling. Just one soiled piece of recycling can damage an entire batch, so don’t be lazy.
- Getting the proper bins
You’re much more likely to recycle if you aren’t having to accumulate cans and jars on the counter, before waiting to run them all out at once. We have it even worse living in a condo building, which sometimes means having to run to the ground floor if the chute is out of service (90% of the time). A 10 minute process you’re even less likely to do.
We got two of those door garbage bins, and set one up as recycling. The bathroom is one of the worst culprits, with 90% of items being recyclable, but getting spoiled by the 10% that isn’t. If you have room for a trash can with a divider, the bathroom is the perfect place for it.