Sustainability Begins At Home

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.

Up Next

One Cool Thing: Green Halloween

One Cool Thing: Green Halloween

Spooky season is almost over, how does your everyday werewolf or vampire keep it green this Halloween?  While the holiday can easily be filled with candy wrappers, disposable decorations, and costumes your kid will likely never wear again, the internet has some “tricks” to keep your celebrations environmentally friendly.   EcoWatch’s list of best methods […]

Continue Reading 106 words
One Cool Thing: Going for the Climate Gold

One Cool Thing: Going for the Climate Gold

This past July, all eyes were on Tokyo when over 10,000 Olympians from 206 nations descended on the city to make history. Despite a decrease in carbon emissions due to COVID-19 and fewer traveling spectators, the games still produced 2.3 million tons of CO2.    In 2021, The International Olympic Committee (IOC) pledged to reduce […]

Continue Reading 144 words
One Cool Thing: Fighting the Pandemic Plastic Boom

One Cool Thing: Fighting the Pandemic Plastic Boom

Startups across the country are on a mission to provide sustainable food packaging options and close the plastic loop, especially prompted by the pandemic take-out boom. Over 70% of Americans order delivery one to three times a week, creating hundreds of billions of single-use bowls, bags, utensils, and more.   But some innovative companies have […]

Continue Reading 168 words

Want the planet in your inbox?

Subscribe to the email that top lawmakers, renowned scientists, and thousands of concerned citizens turn to each morning for the latest environmental news and analysis.