by Kristin Strackerjan
As a resident of North Grenville, and someone who makes the effort to be a responsible global citizen, it bothers me to read about islands made up of plastic in the ocean, and to see litter on the streets, in the streams, and in the rivers of our own region.
A simple question that I posted online: “What changes should we make to reduce the amount of plastic waste in our community?” has sparked responses both thoughtful and thought-provoking. It is a question that I have personally been thinking on and acting on for quite some time, and this online conversation has shown that many others are also doing what they can to minimize their environmental footprint and to reduce the amount of plastic waste that they contribute to the world. But, there are also those who struggle with how they can make a difference. Below are some of the things that my family does to reduce our household waste WITHOUT spending a fortune.
Use the extended version of the 3 R’s: Refuse everything you do not need, reduce what you do need, reuse everything you can, recycle what you cannot refuse, reduce, or reuse, and rot/compost the rest.
Avoid excess/single-use packaging & items. It is hard to avoid plastic. It is everywhere! In order to reduce our consumption of it, however, we need to be aware of it. We can all try to make choices to purchase items with reusable, compostable or no packaging.
Why not – Buy in bulk. Use a reusable cup for your coffee. Refuse straws in your drinks.
We can also – Buy second-hand items. One way to reduce packaging is to buy items second-hand. Although many of these items likely once came wrapped in plastic, buying second-hand means that you are not adding to the plastic waste in our landfills and our environment. North Grenville has access to several local shops that focus on reused items for your family and for your home renos. Don’t forget to bring a reusable bag for your new purchases. You will also save some money!
Buy food from local farmers. Our local Farmers’ Market offers a wide variety of vegetables for sale during the warmer months, and there are many local farmers who offer options to be part of their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Although my thumbs are not very green, we are attempting to grow a larger garden this year on our property. Hopefully we will get some great veggies out of it and save some money as well!
Talk to your local grocers and farmers. Let them know what works for you, and what doesn’t. You are paying for what they provide and they want to make you happy. What do you have to lose?
Online resources: Here is a list of references (there are a lot more out there than these) that I go to on a regular basis when I am looking for inspiration. Don’t be turned away by them – some do have “zero waste” in their titles, but they are so much more than that. Lots of great tidbits!
www.paredownhome.com. www.zerowastehome.com www.adreamlivedgreener.wordpress.com
If this topic interests you, please weigh in and feel free to drop me a line – I’d love to hear from you. Kristin Strackerjan at [email protected].