It's no secret that we are Earth-loving-plastic-haters over here at Little Big. We created a business dedicated to non-plastic kids things after-all. But as environmentally conscious products and businesses are becoming the norm and green-living is on trend (let's hope it sticks around) consumers are overwhelmed with eco-friendly choices. Some are more legitimate than others, there's certainly a lot of 'green-washing' in the industry as big business jumps on the, wooden-of-course, bandwagon to cater to a growing market of ethical consumers who ask questions such as...
- Which reusable coffee cup has the smallest carbon footprint?
- Does sweet baby Declan need one too for his babychinos? (um yes!)
- Which packaging-free shampoo will actually tame my 70's fro-like-perm?
- Which stainless steel lunchbox won't leak through my ethically-made leather alternative backpack?
Among all this choice it's sometimes easy to forget that having the ultimate environmental impact involves, well, doing (and buying) nothing...
Here's 6 ways you can make positive environmental change without the need for a $40 set of reusable produce bags (which are great btw if you can actually remember them - see below).
I don't know about you but I am absolutely terrible at remembering to bring reusable shopping bags along when I go grocery shopping. Nearly TWO MILLION single-use plastic bags are distributed worldwide EVERY MINUTE*. When I'm at the checkout and the pang of plastic bag guilt hits me I politely ask the checkout attendant to "Load up the bags as much as you can". You'd be amazed at how much can fit into one plastic bag and how little check out attendants are actually trained to put in one. A $150 grocery shop can fit into 3-4 plastic bags, and no they don't break unless you swing them around. If left up to the diligently trained attendant, that same shopping cart would probably end up in 15-20 bags.
Obviously, remembering to bring your reusable bags is better, but when you forget; using less makes a difference and it only takes a polite request.
Continuing at the supermarket, stop grabbing the little plastic fruit and veg bags. You don't need them. Just put the fruit loose in your trolley, seriously it's fine. You should be giving it a good clean before you eat it anyway, 'cos pesticides. If you really want a bag grab one of the paper mushroom bags for your loose leaf spinach. The aforementioned check out attendant will have to peak inside to see what's in there but no biggie. Less plastic = happy earth.
Packaged fruit and veg. So convenient, yet so unnecessary. I'm talking about those three packs of avocados on a styrofoam tray and plastic wrapped pumpkin halves. It'll take you about 56 seconds to grab 5 "perfect for small hands" small loose apples rather than pickup the pre-packed ones. If we all stop buying these, the supermarkets will stop providing them.
Don't just stop with fruit and veg though! Think about all the packaging for all your products and buy paper packaged (or non-packed) products rather than plastic. Again, if we all start be a little more mindful, without actually having to do anything, we can stop businesses using plastic as the default. Some other examples are:
- Laundry powder rather than laundry liquid
- Soap instead of body wash - little cardboard box
- A big packet of chips rather than individually wrapped
- 1L yoghurt instead of individual serves/pouches
Finished your grocery shop and heading to the cafe? Just remember when ordering your smoothie or Declan's babychino (dammit you forgot his reusable cup, didn't you?) to say "no straw please".
500 MILLION plastic straws are used EVERY DAY, JUST in America. (Couldn't find a stat for Australia).
That’s enough to circle the Earth twice. Just stop using them. You like really like sucking your liquids though? Then buy a reusable one, there's plenty of options out there (if you can remember to bring them).
Thirsty after all 'dem soul destroying facts you just read on this blog? Ask for tap water in a glass or find a water fountain. Plastic water bottles take between 400 and 1,000 years to decompose (and not actually ever biodegrade - virtually every piece of plastic that was ever made still exists in some shape or form.)
And believe it or not, most tap water is more heavily tested and regulated than bottled water. (www.banthebottle.net)
Support environmentally conscious businesses. Whether that's in the way they package their products, their environmental initiatives or their manufacturing processes. If you're trying to choose between Company A or Company B for Declan's first birthday gift, have a quick squiz at each of the company's websites. You'll be able to get the idea on whether they give a damn about the earth he is inheriting. Now here is of course where we're going to blow our own trumpet a little - we've gone to a lot of effort to be an environmentally conscious business. We package our products in biodegradable and recyclable materials, we plant trees for every purchase and every time we have to make a business decision we think about what how it may cost the earth and not just what it costs our company. And really, we don't deserve accolades for that - it's actually pretty easy and all businesses should be doing it.
The beauty of all these tips - they don't require anything more than a shift in awareness. Don't for a second think something as simple as the above can't make a difference.
What's your favourite easy 'go green' tip?