Updated: Mar 26
The majority of people who use products like Yellow Label Organics ™ tend to be very conscious of how their actions might impact the planet. Maybe you're extra diligent in how you manage your recycling, maybe you compost regularly, or maybe you pick up litter when you see it laying about.
Whatever you do, there's always more that we can be doing as humans to help pitch in with the effort of saving our planet.
In this article, we'll break down ways to help the planet that you may not have thought of.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
How to Shop Responsibly
Although it might be nice to buy cheap disposable items and order 90% of the things we need from Amazon, the reality is that there are more eco-friendly ways to stack our pantries and get our essentials. It's been estimated that roughly half of the 300 million tones of plastic that are produced every year is for single-use items like toothbrushes, bags, coffee capsules, body wipes, and so on. These commonly used items can take up to 1000 years to decompose and are known to waste our resources as well as leach toxins into our environment.
It's important that when we recognize something we own as a "single-use" product we're trying our best to find an eco-friendly substitute, especially for the things we use most.
Swap out your plastic manual toothbrush for a biodegradable one made of bamboo - at most, these takes four months to break down in a landfill (or your garden)
Use food wraps made of beeswax instead of saran wrap or aluminum foil
Swap out liquids for bars - this includes dish soap, shampoo, and laundry detergent
Look for sustainable sponges and cleaning items like towels that can be reused
Trade out plastic storage bags for mason jars or other glass containers
Use a tea infuser instead of pre-packaged bags and buy your tea loose leaf
Purchase everyday products that come in glass instead of plastic
Canadians are responsible for sending more than 9 million tones of trash to our landfills every year with an estimated 35 percent of that waste being generated from packaging related to consumer goods and food.
Compared to that, your efforts might seem small, but, every little bit counts, and you can make a difference.
Purchasing from companies that have sustainable efforts is another excellent way to put your wallet into action. There's no shortage of companies using eco-friendly packaging who are focused on their own carbon footprint.
By spending responsibly we end up doing all we can to support the companies and people around us who are helping to support our planet.
How to Eat With Thought
Have you ever heard of mindful eating? Harvard Health describes mindful eating as "being fully attentive to your food", and although that sounds simple enough, there's a bit more to it than just that.
The act of mindful eating goes beyond the act of attention and is instead the understanding and nourishment of your own relationship with food, as it is in your life and in any present moment.
When someone is practicing mindful eating they do a variety of things that helps to aid in that practice. They might take smaller bites of their food, cook instead of ordering take out, sit at the dinner table instead of the couch, or cut out harmful and artificial foods. They are also most likely to choose organic or locally farmed produce and avoid "factory farmed" grocery store options.
The idea is to feed yourself a clean diet of tracible food that provides you with only the good, body and soul.
How can mindful eating help you help the planet?
If you've stopped buying fast food or you no longer order take out then you've already reduced your carbon footprint by skipping the take-out bags and the rest of the packaging that comes with every order.
If you shop at your local farm and you're choosing ethical meat then you're not only supporting your local community you're redirecting your spending to a business that is not a factory farm.
Additionally, most mindful eaters tend to avoid mindless snacking, because that goes against the practice. This will help you to reduce your food waste because you'll not only be mindful of your consumption you'll be more selective of what you're buying, limiting excess food and the number of leftovers or uneaten food that's going into the trash at the end of every week.
How to Travel Responsibly
Wanting to help the planet starts at home with our own two feet. Sustainable travel, also known as green travel, is a great way to throw your continued support behind an eco-friendly lifestyle.
When we put environmental and humanitarian efforts front and center to our decision making we are opening ourselves up to a whole new world. When it comes to flying, for example, there are several ways for you to fly green.
Look for flights that are using biofuel and airlines that are taking steps to eliminate single-use plastic. The availability of eco flights has increased and with a little elbow grease, they can be located.
Pack a sustainable travel kit with reusable cutlery, bring your own towel on your travels, shop local, eat locally, support reputable conservation agencies, bring a reusable bottle for your beverages, and try to find accommodations at a green hotel.
When it comes to other practical eco-friendly travel ideas, have you ever considered reef-friendly sunscreen? Also known as ‘mineral sunscreen' these products are free of harmful chemicals and additives that can damage our water systems, the animals, and the plants living within them.
How to Reduce Your Waste
From the moment we wake up until the time we go to sleep we have the opportunity to make decisions that are planet forward.
You don't need to become a vegetarian to help the planet but there are a few things that you can do to help make your plate become more eco-friendly.
Consider purchasing less beef and pork if you aren't already and opt for a more seafood-based diet, instead. Fish and poultry have a much lower impact on the environment. Ensure your purchasing sustainable seafood by checking the packaging for verified labels or asking the butcher/fish market where the food has come from.
We all know we should be turning the tap off while we're brushing our teeth, but, did you know there are other ways to conserve water at home?
In the bathroom, check your toilets for leaks. You can do this by adding a few drops of food coloring to your toilet tank. Without flushing, it, check to see if the coloring appears in the bowl and if it does you might have a leak. Toilet leaks can easily waste up to 100 gallons of water per day.
You can also manage your water usage in the bathroom by adding a plastic water bottle to your toilet's tank. Fill one or two bottles halfway with water and add an inch or two of pebbles or sand to it. Put the bottle in your toilet tank on the opposite side of the operating mechanism and leave it there.
Surprisingly, this lifehack might help you to save upwards of ten gallons or more of water every day - and it should never harm your toilet or its efficiency.
You can also reduce your carbon imprint at home by:
Taking shorter showers
Installing water-saving showerheads or flow restrictors into your bathroom and kitchen
Checking faucets and pipes for any leaks and correcting any issues
Only watering your lawn when it REALLY needs it (if you step on your grass and it springs back up, it's good)
Not letting the water run while brushing your teeth, doing the dishes, or rinsing vegetables
Washing some articles of clothing by hand and using eco-friendly settings on your washing machine
Living an eco-friendly life can mean a variety of things, but in the most round-about way, it simply means the act of living with intent. If our intent is focused on reducing harm to the environment and preventing as much damage as possible then we will do exactly that. The practices we put into place through our own everyday life will benefit our neighbors, our environment, its wildlife, and the world as a whole.