It’s Pollution Prevention Week and as someone who lives by the beach and witnesses the effects of pollution in the ocean firsthand, I’ve become more and more passionate about the little (and big) steps I can take to reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Pollution can be nasty and often detrimental to the wildlife. Something as small as an abandoned plastic straw can severely damage both animals and their ecosystems. And this is a straw! Not to mention cars with exhaust, buildings with fossil fuels, cans and bottles that are discarded, and a plethora of other recyclable items that miss their chance to be re-formed into something new.
One of the arguments that I often hear when it comes to recycling or fighting pollution is, “It’s hard,” or “I’m too busy,” or “There’s nothing I can do to make a difference.” While I understand how powerless we can feel in a world of millions and millions of people, I know for a fact I’ve used one of those excuses before. They’re just excuses. No matter how little we are, we are still capable of making a difference. We just have to start.
In honor of Pollution Prevention week, I’ve gathered some of my favorite tips for reducing pollution and products I love that help do exactly that. I hope this inspires you to know that you really can make an impact—for the better—in the world.
1. Fight pollution with a reusable straw.
Straws and their subsequent bans have been all the rage in California and I understand both ends of the spectrum. Some people believe that the ban is a positive thing, encouraging people to be more environmentally conscious and not waste plastic for a one-time use. Others argue that banning straws is foolish—there are plenty of other items polluting the oceans, etc. There is also the argument that it makes restaurant experiences more challenging for people with kids or disabilities. Both arguments are valid; however, when it comes to pollution a straw ban is taking a forward step and that’s why I’m personally in support.
I love straws, but I know I can reduce a significant amount of personal waste by opting for a reusable or paper straw instead. Last year I opted for a metal straw, which I love because it feels and keeps my drinks so cold (or hot, if I use with warmer beverages, but I’m typically an iced-beverage-drinker).
These straws come in a pack of four with a cleaning brush (plus they’re dishwasher safe!) and you can even buy straws in combination packs with colors and both silicone and metal options, too.
Sure, one can argue tha metal straws are expensive, but in the long run your $10 purchase can be used and re-used every single day. You can also clean these straws easily and pack them with you in a purse or bag. If metal isn’t your thing, there’s also paper straws, like this multi-color biodegradable straw pack that you can simply use and toss guilt-free!
2. Opt to walk or bike when possible.
This seems like a no-brainer, but when was the last time you intentionally pursued other transportation options? I know for a fact I get lazy, or get into the habit of doing the same-old. Jumping in my car to run errands makes sense, especially when I’m running late, but it is possible for me to ride my bike to the post office or walk to a closer grocery store instead of doing a bigger haul in my car. Little changes like that can make a big difference.
Instead of always relying on a vehicle for your main mode of transportation, can you replace at least one drive with a walk or bike ride?
3. Invest in a reusable water bottle.
So I’ve been loving my reususable water by DYLN. As an environmentally-conscious brand, this company has made it their focus to share what’s wrong with bottled water and create alternatives for our everyday use.
Bottled water has become an easy way to hydrate on the go, but how often do we drink and then toss? And how often do those bottles we toss end up in the garbage instead of the recycling?
To date, the company has reduced the use of over 82,722,000 (and counting!) water bottles. Their DYLN Living Water Bottle is an eco-friendly, stainless steel bottle with a silicone sleeve grip, easy-carry handle, bamboo cap, and VitaBead diffuser. Not only do these bottles reduce waste, but they actually alkalize water, making the liquid you drink better for you. Alkaline water has health benefits, especially for athletes looking for maximum hydration or long distance runners in need of quicker recovery.
As the company’s page says, these bottles “Reduce plastic waste and create alkaline antioxidant water whenever, wherever.” This makes pollution-reduction easier than ever, and with the hydration benefits, healthier for you, too! [Here’s where you can buy the bottle on the DYLN website and here’s where you can buy it on Amazon!]
4. Turn off the lights + opt for smart bulbs.
I’m pretty good at turning off the lights when I leave a room, but when it comes to smart bulbs and other products, I’ll fully admit I’ve been less-than-great. I never wanted to invest the extra money in a costly bulb; I was always under the silly assumption that there was no true difference. This is definitely wrong.
A few weeks ago I did a study on the best smart light bulbs, experimenting and trying different brands. I realized that 1) yes, there is a big difference between smart and regular bulbs in terms of air pollution and energy consumed and 2) a pricier option pays off in the long run—some of these bulbs have a lifespan of 50 years!
This is a simple, relatively painless way to reduce your day-to-day (air) pollution and electricity usage.
5. Be intentional about recycling.
This is one of the easiest and most valuable ways to reduce your daily personal pollution. Instead of getting lazy and simply tossing everything in the trash, be intentional about what can be recycled. If your home, town, apartment complex, etc. doesn’t offer options for recycling, create your own. This can be as simple as grabbing a make-shift paper box for under your sink (this is totally what I do!) or as advanced as purchasing a recycling bin for inside/outside your home.
There are a pletora of options on Amazon to choose from, for example, these waterproof baskets with separate compartments to help you stay organized, or a bin with handles for easy transport. There are even options to combine trash and recycling in one, sleek-looking container.
When you create the opportunity to recycle, you will. If you don’t, it’s just easy to forget and throw everything in one can. While you’re at it, learn more about recycling and what you need to do in order to be an ‘effective recycler,’ if you will. Example: Fully rinsing glass jars before tossing them in the bin so that there aren’t any food scraps. You can also learn about what foods you can compost, too, which is another great way to reduce food waste and trash.
Any other #PollutionPrevention ideas? Comment them below.
Featured Image Credit: Pawel Czerwinski
all of these things combined are so important to work towards a bigger picture