• Kara Lynn Richardson

#SustainabilityWednesday: Simple Ways to Adopt a More Earth Friendly Lifestyle (Part 2)

When you throw something in the trash, where does it go? Trash from your home (not recycling) eventually makes it to a landfill, where it sits until it degrades. Some things are biodegradable, like paper and wood, because they are made of natural elements that can dissolve back into the environment. However, a lot of things, like plastics, cans and glass, are not biodegradable because they are made with synthetics and unnatural materials and take years to even begin to break down. Combine that with the rise in consumerism and the increase in the amount of items we throw away, and you can imagine that our landfills are bursting at the seams. The more I begin to understand how the things we consume can have a negative effect on the environment, the more I want to change my habits. The other day, I found myself eating take out and getting real discouraged by the amount of waste I was producing in just the packaging alone. It's overwhelming to even think about! But when we all start making small, daily changes to reduce our footprint on this earth, we will begin to see the shift our environment needs to bounce back.

Take a moment to read the #SustainabilityWednesday post from January 15th. We are picking up on a three-part series where we're giving you tips on how to adopt a more earth friendly lifestyle. These tips include ways to reduce your trash waste, your textile waste, and your carbon footprint. Try out a few of these tips and see how small lifestyle changes can make a huge impact.

Tip #4: Start cutting back the number of single-use plastics in your home.

Did you know that approximately 93% of the world's plastic are not recyclable? Companies continue to use plastics like this because they are affordable and easy to work with. However, the more plastics we produce, the more we'll find in landfills and oceans, especially with the rise of consumerism. Try to find a way to limit the number of single use plastic bags that come into your home. Instead of using plastic shopping bags, carry a reusable bag with you. Use a metal thermal bottle for your water instead of buying individual (or cased) plastic ones. And consider using glass containers to hold leftovers instead of those plastic ones that ruin upon heating. And if you do have to bring home a plastic bag, find a way to reuse it. Carry lunches, line trash cans or use as gift bags. Finding second (and third) uses ensure that we exhaust the plastic before absolutely having to get rid of it. Also, there are places in Dallas where plastic bags can be recycled. For more information, click here.

Tip #5: Rethink how you eat (and live life).

The other day I ordered a lunch from a local restaurant. What was supposed to be one drink, one dish and one soup led to four containers, including a straw and a set of cutlery. Order lunch for a five day work week and you can imagine the kind of waste that builds up. Some simple solutions for limiting this type of weekly waste include making your own lunch, carrying rubber, reusable straws, bringing your own cutlery and eating at places that are as conscious about sustainability as you are.

Tip #6: Walk, bike, or ride share to work.

In a state that has a sea of cars, it’s hard to feel like you can travel without one. But it is possible. Carpool the kids back and forth to school. Take a bike to run small errands. Ride the train in to work, especially when you work off the train line. You don’t have to do it all the time, but cutting back on individual car use reduces the emissions into our air, and that, in turn, affects not only air quality, but climate change.

What are some things you're doing to develop a more earth friendly lifestyle? Let us know in the comments below! And stay tuned for next week and the last 3 tips in the series.