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Sustainability Begins At Home | Our Daily Planet

We hope that ODP’s special Earth Week’s content, with newsmaking interviews and an extra dose of “What You Can Do” ideas helped to inspire you to find new ways to conserve the planet.  As our final post for the week, we wanted to share with you what we are doing to “walk the walk” with you.

Monica:  My New Year’s resolution in 2019 was to start to compost. I did not realize that composting has many benefits beyond what it can do for your garden.  Composting is a great way to lower your family’s carbon footprint — it reduces as much as 20-50% from your household waste stream, which in turn decreases the amount of trash in landfills and reduces the weight and volume of trash being picked up in those giant trash trucks.

  • I was surprised to learn from researching a story that food waste decomposing in landfills creates large amounts of methane gas. Indeed, according to EPA, landfills are the United States’ third largest source of methane emissions.
  • I know what you are thinking — that compost bin will stink and will attract critters.  I can honestly say that has not been my experience — my bin sits outside my backdoor, and it shuts tightly — so odors are not getting out and pests are not getting in.

I am lucky in one respect.  My neighborhood has a composting program — we all have bins and our scraps are collected once a week.  But if you have to DIY, there are many good web sites explaining how and what to compost — making it easy.  The Environmental Protection Agency’s is superb.  And I have seen the difference in the volume of my trash each week — so I get a sense of satisfaction from doing it too.  Between recycling and composting my trash is down to one small bag a week!

Miro: I read numerous times a week about how pervasive and destructive plastic is for our planet and I wanted to try and limit my own consumption at home. While some things (well, most things) are difficult to purchase in plastic-free containers I made an effort to start eliminating unnecessary plastics in my kitchen…before I moved onto the much larger challenge of my bathroom.

  • I noticed that my husband and I would use Ziploc baggies for a variety of purposes and while I tried to wash them and reuse them, there’s realistically only so many times you can do that. I invested in a set of silicone Stasher bags and have been able to ditch disposable sandwich baggies entirely (you can even poach food in them)! While they’re pricey, I couldn’t recommend them more and currently, all products are 25% off on their site for Earth Day!

In this same spirit, I decided to part ways with plastic wrap once and for all.

  • The first step was to buy a set of glass food storage containers to eliminate the need to use plastic wrap to cover the numerous plastic tubs whose lids were lost long ago. There are so many sizes and shapes that they eliminate the need to reach for plastic wrap.
  • Next, I bought a pack of beeswax food wraps which are washable (in cold water only!) and reusable for about a year (not to mention they smell heavenly). They now even carry a version of these at Trader Joes!

And while I’ve tried for years to carry a reusable bottle I’d often find myself buying a big bottle of water at the airport because I didn’t have room to bring a bulky bottle with me on my flight. This collapsible silicone water bottle has been the perfect solution, it rolls up and fits in my purse when I’ve finished my water.

Being conscious of your plastic consumption is the first step to finding ways to change our habits and avoid using it unnecessarily.

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