My 30-day Earth Month Challenge is under way and I’ve already met with both some successes and challenges. This April, I’m trying to decrease the amount of waste I send to the landfill. To do that, I’m trying to ensure that everything I consume gets a second life before I recycle or landfill it, with a couple of exceptions.
Guiding Principle: Sustainability for me is about using something for a long time. Therefore, all items with less than a 3-day usefulness lifecycle need to have a second purpose before recycling or sending to a landfill. Anything that can go directly into compost is off the hook.
Success: Accomplishing this goal 85 – 95% of the time, thus far
Hot tea packets – I drink a few cups of tea a day. Many packets of tea have a wax lining and can’t be recycled or composted. I’m switching from those to loose leaf tea in a reusable infuser or the tea bags that are packaged without a wrapper and that can go into the compost.
- Toothpaste containers – This was going to be a challenge because while my toothpaste tube lasts longer than 3 days, it goes to the landfill when it’s out. To solve this dilemma, I turned to my friends at Tom’s of Main, who recycle tooth paste containers, floss packets and more! Problem solved.
- Almond milk containers – I drink a lot of almond milk and couldn’t think of anything to do with the left over containers besides turn them into bird feeders. Instead, I’m going to try making my own. Stay tuned!
- To-go containers – Luckily, Whole Foods containers are compostable. However, when I don’t go there, I’m getting in the habit of asking and then frequenting stores that can wrap leftover food in aluminum foil that I can reuse for baking or roasting vegetables and then recycling.
- Draft beer – Maybe not a total sacrifice, but when I get a beer at a happy hour, I’m going to ask for a draft beer in a glass vs drinking it straight out of the can.
Cutting myself some slack:
- Sports nutrition – I’m running a marathon later this month, so I’m cutting myself some slack and still purchasing single-use nutrition packets for training runs and the race itself.
- Oatmeal packets – Unfortunately, oatmeal packets have a plastic coating on the inside, so have to be thrown away. This one I’m going to try to solve by making my own oatmeal from the raw ingredient section of the grocery store. However, between using an oatmeal packet and eating a fatty scone at the conference buffet, I’m going to cut myself some slack and go with the oatmeal packet.
I have a good amount of work travel coming up this month, so look forward to sharing stories of “the girl who carries a grocery bag of food in her luggage to avoid individually packaged airplane peanuts and tiny boxes of cereal at the hotel breakfast buffet.”