Celebrating Earth Day 365 Days A Year
8 MINUTE READ
When you grab a coffee in the morning, are you bringing a reusable cup? How about when you run to the grocery store, do you bring your own bags? When you see garbage lying around your neighborhood, do you pick it up? Part of advocating for a cleaner, more sustainable world, means always doing your part. It might seem like a daunting task to run back home and grab your reusables, but it’s important. We’re going to give it to you straight – if you don’t do it, you become part of the problem.
Here Is What We Know
The oceans cover more than 70% of the Earth’s surface. According to Ocean Conservancy, 150 million metric tons of plastic circulate our marine environments. That number is over 330 BILLION POUNDS of plastic. Scientific American says that about 90% of that plastic is coming from 10 rivers. The root of the problem stems from plastic production and manufacturing single-use items. These items are in demand from the billions of people who use them daily. If we have any chance of cleaning up ocean plastic pollution and our other waterways, we all need to make an effort to prevent plastic from entering our daily routines.
Refuse single-use plastics. Is this the theme of the decade or what? It seems like something we’ve all grown accustomed to saying and hearing, but it desperately needs even more attention! It’s too easy to choose convenience over sustainability. Or, to tell yourself you’ll reuse the plastic bag, so it’s ok to say “yes” once while. Yet, as important as your sleeping habits are, so is a dedication to refuse plastics. The more you find alternatives, the easier it gets and the more strategic you become for solutions that work for you. While it’s not always affordable to choose eco-friendly products and get into sustainability-focused habits, balance it with payoffs that would work. If you don’t own reusable bags, snag boxes lying around your house or office to use next time you’re at the store. Curious what the top ten items found in the ocean are? Here are a few suggestions for replacing or avoiding as many of them as possible:
- Plastic beverage bottles – Silipints are perfect for replacing your beverage bottles and disposable cups. Refill them all day for maximum hydration. Safely reheat hot drinks in the microwave. Best of all, top them off with a Silicone Lid & Silicone Straw so you are refusing the entire single-use plastic package of cup, lid & straw.
- Food wrappers – Whole, real foods offer much more nutrition than processed (and packaged!) foods. Try to buy items with little to no packaging, especially plastics. At home, instead of using plastic wrap, grab yourself some Meli Wraps. They’re made with organic cotton, beeswax, tree resin, and plant oils, to keep your food fresh, naturally.
- Plastic bottle caps – Eco-friendly Silipint Travel Lids are a great plastic-free drinkware accessory. They are free of BPA, BPS, phthalates, and other harmful toxins that are found in petroleum-based plastics. You only need one of these Silicone lids to replace a lifetime of plastic coffee lids, and they often fit more cups than just our Silipints.
- Straws, stirrers – If your coffee, smoothie or quick stop shop is using single-use stirrers, be sure to request that they switch to washable spoons. If you’re still using plastic straws, consider switching to flexible, reusable, dishwasher-safe Silistraws, which easily pack on-the-go. They’re also free of BPA, BPS, and phthalates and again, one will last you a lifetime. Don’t be shy to voice your opinion about switching to reusable alternatives.
- Plastic garbage bags – While hard to avoid, putting the work in to cut your garbage bag use in half can be easier if you break it down. Start a small compost in your yard to cut back on the amount of waste you’re throwing out. Then, consider using paper bags to collect your dry garbage and only use a plastic bag for wet garbage.
- Starting a compost is as easy as designating a spot in your yard for items. Some people would prefer a bin, that’s great too. Either way, food waste is a huge problem in America and it’s one way to reuse the food you don’t eat. Here is a list of 100 items that are compostable and an easy guide start to composting.
- Glass beverage bottles – While this might not be an item you can avoid depending on how your favorite brewery, winery or cidery packages its beverages, just do your best to recycle the bottles the right way. Make sure you always separate your glass from your other recyclables.
- Plastic grocery bags – There are plenty of alternatives to plastic grocery bags. There are mesh bags for your produce, cotton or hemp bags and they all come in various sizes. You can even get a single bag that folds up to carry in your pocket for the times you run into the store for an item or two. Stash the bags on you or in your car when you head to the grocery store or farmer’s market.
- Metal bottle caps – Considering how many of us are beer lovers, we don’t believe replacing or avoiding these is exactly easy. Yet, making sure they end up in the correct recycling bins can be.
- Plastic lids – Plastic to-go lids should be a thing of the past. Our Silicone Travel Lids are a gamechanger for your commuter coffee cup, soda dispensary or water bottle. Our lids are dishwasher-safe, Earth-friendly, and safe for hot and cold.
Avoid plastic packaging.
This is a tough task, we aren’t going to sugar coat that. It’s a matter of being more resourceful and diligent. However, this is a huge reason there is so much plastic pollution in the oceans. We need to find alternatives that help us reduce plastic production needs. There is so much plastic in packaging, it’s hard to find something without it. People wanted spill-proof milk containers so they added a plastic twist-off cap. People who may not need bottled water, choose to drink it. People want cheap and easy, and plastic is exactly that. Choose plastic-free packaging. If your favorite brands don’t offer it, write to them. Tell them how much you love their products but would prefer sustainable packaging solutions. But, as a consumer, you also need to be willing to pay a few cents more for that packaging each time. It will be less overwhelming to start with one or two products. Switching everything you use at once may be costly.
Check out the TerraCycle program.
A great resource to learn about recycling random items you most likely have is Terracyle.com. First, you sign up for free to create an account. Then, you search for items or brands that you use. Some items you will need to pay for special containers to ship them back, but others are free. For example, Burt’s Bees will send you pre-paid shipping labels to send your empty packages back. Burt’s Bees works with TerraCycle to recycle it. There are also brands of toothpaste that will take your empty tubes back. Even Febreze has a program set up to take your empty aerosol cans back.
Other Ways To Celebrate Earth Day
We encourage you to adopt more eco-friendly habits year-round. But, if you’re looking for a way to get involved in your community for Earth Day there are plenty of ways.
- Clean up your community. Our partner Leave No Trace, has a week-long campaign known as Leave No Trash. They want as many people as possible to get outside for an hour and pick up trash in their community. Leave No Trace is encouraging participants to post on social media with #LeaveNoTrash. There are contests for amounts or most interesting garbage collected. Our Cupster Crew will be getting out a few times during the week to do this. Try to get your office out for an hour or friends out on their lunch break.
- Be a part of a waterway cleanup. Stay on the coast for a weekend and take part in a beach cleanup or a river cleanup. Pollution in our waterways has a harmful domino effect on the ecosystems that make up our planet.
- Donate to a cause that’s important to you. You can also ask your friends to donate via social media. Facebook has made it very easy to choose from different causes and post information about them to ask for donations. Add to the post explaining why it’s important to you in particular and how their donations will help.
- Start an eco-friendly swap. There are many groups for swapping clothes, furniture, or other miscellaneous items. Yet, there’s not much out there for swapping eco-friendly products or giving feedback on items that you’ve tried. If you’re not sure a product is going to suit your needs, it’d be nice to turn to a group for recommendations. Create a group where people can post their reviews followed by specific feedback.
A Look Into the Plastic Water Crisis
This article in National Geographic, written in March 2019, has highlighted the current issues on ocean plastic pollution and what everyone is doing, or not doing, about it.
More than half of the total plastic sitting on Earth was produced after 2005. Currently, disposable plastics account for 40% of what’s already here and is largely to blame for the pollution of our waterways. Plastic production is expected to double in the next 20 years. As an individual, it’s important to take action. If not for you, then for the future generations. There are a lot of organizations looking for support in continuing the work they do to prevent a bigger plastic crisis. For instance, The Ocean Cleanup is actively removing plastic trash from our oceans. They have estimated that with their technology half of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch will be gone in 5 years.
Be In The Know
Educate yourself on plastic production and pollution. More importantly, check out why reusing and repurposing is better than recycling habits. Everyone has a voice and a way to make a difference. Whether you vote or contact your local representatives to ensure they’re doing their part for these causes. Earthday.org has updates on petitions and campaigns around the world to help our planet. The time to stop plastic pollution is now or never.