It’s 2018. It’s that time of the year where people, like myself, make those New Years Resolutions.What are the most common ones?
Most common New Year’s resolutions
According to a recent ComRes poll, the most common New Year’s resolutions include:
- Exercise more (38 per cent)
- Lose weight (33 per cent)
- Eat more healthily (32 per cent)
- Take a more active approach to health (15 per cent)
- Learn new skill or hobby (15 per cent)
- Spend more time on personal well-being (12 per cent)
- Spend more time with family and friends (12 per cent)
- Drink less alcohol (12 per cent)
- Stop smoking (9 per cent)
- Other (1 per cent)
This year my resolutions are not for me but for the environment.
Back in November I attended the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Group meeting in Paracas, Peru. My first time in South America! Though there are several memorable and educational experiences I absorbed from this meeting, there was a poster that from an Argentinian man that has stuck with me. Despite my horridly poor Spanish and his moderately better English (thank goodness), I gleaned something from his work that disturbed me. We all know about the issues of plastic waste. The ‘islands’ of garbage that float around in the ocean. A quick google search gave me these results like the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” or the “Trash Vortex”. Regardless if these islands are myths or exaggerated stories going viral on the internet how can you dispute that there is a lot of plastic waste in the ocean, Trash Vortex or not?
It’s horrible and you want to look away. Only a few minutes online looking at wildlife affected by plastic waste was enough to get the blood boiling.
Back to the conference, this gentleman was creating awareness of his own plastic waste struggle. Several cross country rivers drain into the Laguna Mar Chiquita in the Reserva Natural banados de rio dulche. These miles and miles of river carry TONS of waste, depositing right into the lake within a protected reserve. Some of the coolest wildlife exist there. One of which is the Aguatero – Nycticryphes semicollaris.
Attempting to breed, shorebirds like the Aguatero establish nests right in amongst these piles of plastic bottles, bags and cartons.
He graciously allowed me to take some photos of his poster for reference.
Where does your waste go? When you throw away plastic in your recycle bin and in your trash bin, what happens to it? A teacher once said to me that the problem with garbage is that everyone thinks it’s not theirs. But how can you be so sure?
So this year I’m going to eat healthy, sure, but I’m making specific attempts to reduce my waste.
So what could I do that was manageable and not break the bank?
- A lot of people are doing this but really make a commitment to reusable bags at the grocery store. Fabric bags for produce, BUY or make your own.
- Eliminate the use of plastic bags in any garbage bins in the house that commonly are only dry waste with using newspaper instead:
This worked but I ended up still putting smaller paper bags into one larger plastic garbage. Not sure if this is the best method. Larger paper bags that you can fold over before placing in the dumpster will work better.
3. Make your own washable tissues. The hankie has been around since the dark ages, but why aren’t we using them more often in the house? So I did a quick serge on these cloth pieces and have a laundry net to hold used hankies to throw in the washer. This waste reduction method over the past few months has greatly reduced household waste but doesn’t reduce plastic waste.
4. Eliminate the need for cleaning products with chemicals by using natural options like essential oils and washable cloths. There are several environmentally friendly and safe for the house, children and pets. For example; NORWEX
We use these great cloths for everything from cleaning surfaces, including our dogs, managing spills and dirty floors, dusting, scrubbing, the works. It’s great to reduce waste camping too. Never buy another paper towel again in your life; help reduce waste and safe money.
5. Stash travel mugs at home, in your office and in your car to ensure no matter what time of the day or night you are feeling like a beverage on the go, there is a reusable mug. Trent University had a promotion, FREE coffee and tea for a whole MONTH on campus if you bring your own mug. So get on board and eliminate beverage waste!
6. Compost. If your city or town doesn’t have a compost waste pick up service then just compost in the yard, or even in your house. My lovely and adventurous friend actually has a worm system in her house that composts their family’s waste; aka vermicomposting.
Try one thing to reduce your waste. Those that are making the effort say that they feel empowered and proud of their efforts.
As for plastic reduction, I’m still working on improving my daily choices. One big one has been the use of compost-friendly dog poop bags. For all those dog owners out there, think of all that plastic going straight to the dump or elsewhere…..these are a great alternative.