Making A Difference
In case you didn't know, this Wednesday, April 22nd is National Earth Day, and Friday, April 24th is National Arbor Day!. This is the perfect time to reflect on all of the wonders that Mother Nature provides for us; after all, we are interconnected.
~ Thomas Moore
We are all responsible for taking care of one another, for taking care of our planet. "We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children" -Native American Proverb.
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not" -Dr, Seuss, The Lorax
While I have previously discussed how I choose to practice sustainable eating and green techniques in my life, this week I wanted to feature some wonderful things that members of our global community (YOU!) are doing to make the world a better place.
"When we heal the Earth, we heal ourselves" -David Orr
Two Years Without Waste
Here is an excerpt from her article on Mind Body Green
I know what you are thinking. This girl must be a total hippie. Or a liar. Or she's not real. But I assure you, I am none of those things. Well, except for real...
1. I save money.
I now make a grocery list when I go shopping, which means being prepared and not grabbing expensive items impulsively. Additionally, buying food in bulk means not paying a premium for packaging. When it comes to my wardrobe, I don't purchase new clothing; I shop secondhand and get my clothes at a heavily discounted price.
2. I eat better.
Since I purchase unpackaged foods, my unhealthy choices are really limited. Instead, I eat a lot of organic fruits and vegetables, bulk whole grains and legumes, as well as a lot of seasonal, local food, since farmers markets offer amazing unpackaged produce.
3. I'm happier.
Before I adopted my zero-waste lifestyle, I would find myself scrambling to the supermarket before it closed, because I didn't shop properly, ordering in takeout because I didn't have food, always going to the pharmacy to get this scrub and that cream, and cleaning constantly because I had so much stuff.
I never anticipated that actively choosing not to produce waste would turn into my having a higher quality of life. I thought it would just mean not taking out the trash.
First a statistic, the average restaurant produces about 100,000 lbs of garbage per year. That is 273 lbs a day on average! This garbage can range from paper, plastics, metals, packaging and so on. Most restaurants are using ridiculous amounts of products and or packaging that could easily be cut down with a little bit of thought and effort. One of our main issues is that we don’t think of these things because we usually are just repeating someone else’s model, hence why we are about to destroy our entire world. It seems all we care about is success and money. So much so that we’d rather have money than a planet, yet without the planet we can’t have money… go figure.
The good news is, people are changing and the consciousness on this planet is shifting! More and more people are starting to look at things in a new light and are dropping the old destructive habits. Of course big businesses do get in on it from time to time as they attempt to market all their “green” strategies and products, but most of this is just so they can sell more of whatever they produce. The real passion lies in people like Justin Vrany who runs a restaurant called Sandwich Me In which to date has produced ZERO waste.
That’s right, his Chicago restaurant is profitable all while producing no waste and having a blast while doing it. As he explains in the video below, most restaurants are producing about 8 gallons of garbage an hour, where as it took his restaurant 2 year to produce the same amount. Then he had an artist come pick it up to make a sculpture bringing his waste back down to zero.
How expensive is the food to be able to do this? All of his sandwiches are under $10 and they come with a side dish. On top of that, the meat and produce is all raised and grown locally. So while slightly more than what you’d pay at McDonald’s for their toxic and environment destroying food, you can go to Sandwich Me In and get something that’s both healthy and eco-friendly! Check out his story.
Marketplace Green Machine
Although recycling and more efficient packaging-waste efforts have made a dent in the amount of garbage heading to landfills, every day the average American still produces a whopping three pounds of trash, much of it from our food. So what if we could eliminate food-packaging waste before it even gets into our shopping cart? That’s the idea behind Original Unverpackt, a new concept supermarket in Germany.
The grocery store doesn’t sell anything that comes in a disposable box, bag, jar, or other container. It ditches the traditional supermarket model of shelf after shelf of packaged convenience foods for one that gives shoppers grains in bulk bins, attractively displayed produce that’s not shrink-wrapped or stored in tetra packs, and beverage stations just waiting for refillable bottles.
What YOU can do TODAY
Recycle EVERYTHING! iRecycle is an easy-to-use app that tells you how and where to recycle anything.
Keep your eyes peeled for neat reverse vending machines that are popping up nationwide. These little green machines can equate to bus tokens, food vouchers, or even help dogs,
Plant a tree!
Stop junk mail in its tracks! "PaperKarma" helps save trees by eliminating junk mail. This app works by letting you scan junk mail, and unsubscribing you from that mailing list for good. Available for iPhone and Android.