We’ve seen it a lot in the news lately: cities, states, and even restaurant chains are banning or limiting the use of plastic straws.
Why is this important? Because the use of plastic around the world has polluted our oceans, endangered sea life, and raised concerns about the long-term effects of creating non-biodegradable substances.
Banning straws is a small step (straws make up just 0.025% of all plastic in the oceans), but it’s an achievable one that has the potential to lead to larger, more impactful changes.
That’s a good reminder for all of us, and this is a great time to reevaluate the way your family views and interacts with the world around them.
It can be tough at first, but by consistently choosing to incorporate eco-friendly principles and practices, you can start down a lifelong path of greener living and creating a better environment for generations to come.
Here are a few things to consider when getting your family to focus on a more sustainable lifestyle:
1. Recycle – Make a conscious effort to recycle as much as possible
○ Use Recycle Nation to find out where to locally recycle almost anything from paper and plastic to electronics and tires
○ Commit to buying products that are packaged in recyclable materials
○ Start a compost pile in your backyard
○ Make sure to wash and separate recyclables – this is crucial to the recycling process
2. Use Alternative Transportation – Air pollution levels are greatly increased by the pollutants released by vehicles
○ Carpool when you can
○ Use public transportation if it’s a realistic option in your area
○ Walk and bike whenever possible, it’s good for you and the environment!
3. Buy Reusable – Stop using and or buying disposable products whenever possible
○ Shop with reusable bags
○ Stop drinking water from a plastic bottle!
○ Your dollars make an impact. When you purchase sustainable goods, that sends a signal to manufacturers that they should make more things like it
○ Take a cue from Hawaii and stop using plastic straws and one-time use plastic altogether
4. Make Sustainable Food Choices – The fossil fuels and chemical fertilizers used in the production, processing, packaging, and transportation of food can greatly harm our health and the health of our environment
○ Be aware of the impact of your choices as a consumer
○ Look for local and environmentally responsible food that supports rural communities and farmers
○ Choose foods that are healthy, nutritious, and that come in eco-friendly packaging
5. Conserve Water – Water is one of the most valuable resources we have
○ Purchase water-efficient dishwashers and washing machines
○ Take shorter showers (make it a family competition for fun)
○ Turn the faucet off while you brush your teeth
Try incorporating just one of these five practices into your family’s daily life. Once that becomes habit or second nature, add another. Any change makes a huge difference towards creating a better environment and living a more thoughtful life.