by Krista Rossato, Registered Interior Designer –
For a long time I used to feel a sense of pride as we hauled numerous recycling bins full of plastic, cardboard, metal and glass out to the curb twice a month. Like so many, we are a family committed to making better environmental choices starting at home. We collect and recycle all our soft plastics, styrofoam, electronics, paint, cooking oil and batteries. We donate clothing, toys and books and we compost religiously. We’ve installed LED light bulbs, have invested in water efficient fixtures, and we turn down the thermostat. Yet there at the end of our driveway, through heaping piles of recyclables, was a display of so many things we could still be doing better. Taking clues from our recycling, we have set out five simple, yet highly impactful goals for change:
1: Phase out single use products. Replace single-use with reusable and refillable containers. The right retailers will offer time-, cost- and environmental-saving alternatives to things such as paper towel, plastic wrap, straws and storage baggies. Shopping in bulk allows you to buy the quantities you need and glass containers can be reused indefinitely for both storage and food prep. www.zerowasteemporium.com; www.westcoastrefill.com; www.victoriasoapexchange.com; www.nezzanaturals.com.
2: Buy food that is in season. Not only is it optimum quality because it is grown under its natural conditions, but there will be more options to buy it fresh from a local farmer. In doing so, you will reduce excessive packaging and emissions from transportation. Many farms offer seasonal and/or organic produce boxes with pick-up or delivery options. For a listing of Island resources go to: https://islandfarmfresh.com.
3: Avoid Fast Fashion and design trends. Invest in fewer yet better quality items that you will love, feel great wearing, and that will go with the stuff you already own. Buy the best quality you can afford, from reputable manufacturers or from quality consignment stores.
4: Unsubscribe. Email advertising, media and junk mail all have a huge influence on our purchase decisions. If you are not tempted into buying unnecessary things, then you will only buy the things you actually need.
5: Downsize. If you don’t need it, use it, or love it, then don’t keep it. It can be hard to part with our stuff, so make a “Nostalgia Album” – a photo book of things you wish to remember but don’t need to keep. Borrow and share less common items with friends. Utilize the library. Donate your items to organizations that are personally meaningful, thereby making the process easier.
Just one influential person in a household of four can quadruple their efforts for change. It takes time to break old habits and form new routines so start by implementing one goal at a time to ensure success. What will be your goals for change?