Earth Day 2020: What On Earth Are You Doing?
Wednesday, April 22nd is Earth Day. According to Wikipedia, "Earth Day is an annual event celebrated around the world on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection. First celebrated in 1970, it now includes events coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network in more than 193 countries."
Honestly, as stewards of the Earth, man has done a terrible job. Greed, apathy, lack of foreknowledge about how certain actions could be detrimental, and lack of education about how our everyday actions can affect the environment have brought about too many issues to count. It's comforting to know the Creator doesn't intend to have bad stewards destroy the work of His hands (but that's a conversation to be had offline).
We still can do our part to help our planet Earth and so Earth Day's intentions are great for bringing awareness to what we change up upgrade in our routines and habits that can make a larger impact as we all work together.
As mentioned, many times we are doing things out of ignorance that harms our health and the health of the Earth and its eco-systems. Through community sharing, we can often learn a thing or two we can start to do to have a positive impact.
This blog post will include some real-life suggestions from two on the Dexterous Organizing team . Leslie Sunderlin and Andrea Hancock.
In the Kitchen
Leslie & Andrea both use reusable kitchen bags - a brand Leslie uses is Stashers. She says: "They are a bit pricey, so I don't have a lot of them, but they can be put in the dishwasher and have been great for storing items in the freezer too. We have also used them during the cooking process, like to sous-vide meat." Andrea uses a brand called Re-Zip. She says: "Although we haven't totally given up using the gallon-size plastic bags in the kitchen, using reusable bags has really reduced the amount of plastic bags we use. We even will reuse plastic bags when we have stored dry or cooked items in them. We typically use reusable bags for sandwiches and snacks. Another brand we usually have on hand is LunchSkins that comes in a paper (which is recyclable, compostable, and toxin-free) and a reusable dish-washer safe sandwich bag.
Reusable bottles are also in use at both households! Andrea loves her Sodastream which she got used on Facebook Marketplace which replaces the purchase of sparkling water and all the glass and plastic waste it produces. She even takes the carbonating cylinder back to Bed, Bath, and Beyond for it to get recycled. Leslie and her domestic partner love Swell-brand reusable double-walled, stainless steel bottles. She notes that these bottles are easy to clean and keeps the beverage nice and cool for a long time. Before using Swell, she would purchase Voss water and reuse the thick glass bottle it would come in. Andrea found her Italian-born 24 bottles stainless steel bottle on discount at the Crate & Barrel outlet store in Old Town Alexandria. Andrea also uses US-based KeepCup for her hot beverages. She loves the coffee shop design her cup has complete with a silicon cup-holding ring that keeps holding her hot beverages cute and comfortable.
Using glass Pyrex or similar containers with lids to store leftovers can reduce the use of plastic containers and bags. Leslie gives another benefit: "They don't degrade as quickly and I don't feel bad about putting them in the microwave or oven to reheat food, so [fewer] dishes/water use."
is something Leslie has been doing for most of her life and recently had to adapt to the challenges of composting in a large city apartment after having a wooded backyard. She relates: "The tricky part is the collection of food scraps. With limited space and no immediate outdoor access, we decided to find a small container and line it with a compost specific liner that fit in our freezer. All food scraps get put in this freezer bucket. Keeps us honest about limiting our amount of scraps, and keeps them from smelling! When the bucket is full we take a walk to our community garden. Win-win-win!"
Here is an article about effectively composting using coffee grounds!
Around the home
To keep things organized around the home, Leslie reused Amazon shipping boxes. She explains: "...to reduce/reuse boxes from our Amazon purchases I cut off flaps to smaller boxes and put them in our drawers/cupboards as dividers/containers. Easy, cheap, functional...not necessarily the prettiest...but they're not very visible in these spots. If I wanted to get creative I could cover them in contact paper, wrapping paper, fabric, etc...and depending on how long this quarantine goes, they just might become [fancier]! "
In the Laundry department, Leslie uses the laundry detergent shipment service Dropps. Her review: "I have been very happy with them so far. They're shipped directly to the home, the shipping packaging was minimal and the detergent is in small non-toxic, dissolvable pouches so you have no plastic waste." Andrea switched from using traditional dyer sheets to wool balls in the dryer. She loves the fact they also can fluff clothing and you can use a bit of essential oils on the balls for fragrance instead of harsh chemicals.
Andrea switched from using Comet and Ajax powered-cleaners to BonAmi, a harsh-chemical-free powder cleaner that is made with biodegradable cleaning agents. Before COVID-19 she purchased this CleanSmart disinfectant spray that powerfully kills 99.9% of viruses and bacteria, eliminates odors, while leaving behind no chemical residue and breaks down to a saline solution, making it safe for most household uses.
Health & Beauty
Our female monthly visitor aka Aunt Flow can cause quite a stir and also create a bit of waste. For the woman willing to experiment with some non-traditional methods, she can reduce some of the environmental (and possibly health) disadvantages. Menstrual cups like Flex and Diva Cup are silicon cups that can be washed and reused. They usually come in a cloth pouch to keep them clean and protected. Reusable pads can be purchased by hand-makers on Etsy and leak-proof underwear can be found online in places like Amazon, Grove.co. An original and popular brand is Thinx.
Reusable make up removal cloths can be an eco-friendly way to reduce the single-use wipes that we see advertised so often!
We've given you quite a few to try out. The key is not to get overwhelmed but perhaps be conscious about adding one new way every few weeks or months and slowly but surely your small steps can make a big difference in the total impact made by us collectively. That's what we think Earth Day might be all about!
We'd love to hear from you. Place in the comment section below a product, service, or activity you do to help reduce, reuse, recycle!