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3 Easy Little Things You Can Do To Make Earth Day, Everyday!

3 Easy Little Things You Can Do To Make Earth Day, Everyday!

I met a lovely lady who was equally passionate about sustainability and eliminating our dependence on plastic. She worked in a local government office that specializes in the environment and I took the opportunity to ask where do all our trash go. Her answer amazed me.

“All our city’s garbage? They go to the landfills. It’s against the law to burn trash so all of it is just buried.”

 Paper straws are an option but make sure they don't have plastic lining (which is hard to check sometimes).

Paper straws are an option but make sure they don't have plastic lining (which is hard to check sometimes).

I was shocked at the truth that I knew I heard before but didn’t believe. All your trash from last year up to the present is still somewhere buried in our landfill. If it was biodegradable, we wouldn’t have to worry because it would decompose. But if it wasn’t? All those plastic-based materials and synthetic ones would still be there and remain there for years to come.

This would remind of you a few items that made the news recently like first world countries shipping tons of waste to another country just so they could rid of this awful baggage. No wonder countries (even our local Philippine cities) scramble to find more land to bury trash in.

It’s not a far reality that one day, we won’t have land to dump our trash in. Though, all is not lost. I heard that local government units are required by the law to have a materials recovery facility (MRF) per barangay.

The MRF can act as your local recycling center where you can bring all the trash that can be recycled so they wouldn’t have to go to landfills. All your biodegradable waste can be turned into something valuable like fertilizer if you’ve got space in your house for a compost pit. You can google or go on YouTube to find ways to make your own compost pit.

You don’t have to live on a farm to do it. Trust me, it’ll save you the unnecessary hassle of throwing food waste. Also if you’re growing a garden or have plants around, the fertilizer you get from the compost pit will help you grow better plants.

A few months ago, I made the commitment to reduce my “plastic footprint” and my overall waste consumption. Now, I’m contemplating of taking the long hard road of going zero-waste. It’s going to be really hard considering the limited resources that we have locally but as in everything in life, if there’s a will, there will always be a way.

According to 4Ocean’s Earth Day Edition emailer, global climate change has increased average ocean temperatures with new record temperates almost every year. More than eight million tons of plastic enter our oceans each year. Again 8 million… That’s a LOT of plastic. If this makes your heart want to roll up in a little ball and cry, don’t fret! It’s not too late to take part!

Even if it’s a small step, the little change you do for yourself still goes a long way and creates a ton of impact. It’s not just for the environment but for the people around you. If they see this new change in you, it’ll spark awareness. It may even start conversations that lead to the other person to follow suit. And that’s the best marketing - being a good example.

So, what’s the easiest switch to make today? There is a ton of info on the internet so I gathered all the local businesses that are also doing their part in reducing our dependence on plastic. Here are a few tips to get you started.

 My metal straw set.

My metal straw set.

SKIP THE STRAW

One of the most terrible single use plastic that was ever created! Good thing there are alternatives. If you go online like on Instagram or Facebook, for example, you can see there are individual sellers of metal or bamboo straws. I personally tried both and decided that metal straws are the better option for my lifestyle. I don’t have the time to dry the bamboo straws under the heat of the sun so cleaning metal straws take lesser effort for those who are on the go whether for work or play.

Where to buy? Check out Sip Steel Straws (@sipsteelstraws on Instagram). They sell a variety of metal straws and wooden cutlery in packages or as an individual purchase. I got my rose gold metal straw from them and I always bring it with me. Each pack comes with a cleaner and little pouch that doesn’t ruin your OOTD or adds weight to your bag.

A word of caution though when buying colored metal straws, make sure to ask your vendor about the material, it should be plated stainless steel straws and not just painted stainless steel. Ingesting paint on the colored straws isn’t good for us. I checked with Sip Steel Straws before I bought them.

 Plastic toothbrushes don't decompose. Get a biodegrable one that doesn't add to the growing pile in our landfills.

Plastic toothbrushes don't decompose. Get a biodegrable one that doesn't add to the growing pile in our landfills.

GO FOR BAMBOO TOOTHBRUSHES

I can’t wait to get my own bamboo toothbrush. It took me quite a while to find local options and I’m so glad to come across The Toothbrush Movement from Minka Ventures from a friend who’s reselling bamboo toothbrushes. I’m glad local stores like Human (Heart) Nature, EchoStore and Healthy Options.

They don’t just sell one kind of bamboo toothbrush but they have options for kids, brushes with charcoal bristles and brushes that come in a lighter packaging which is good for the environment! It’s important to support businesses that also do their part in alleviating excess waste from packaging. Businesses should realize that they should burden their customers by adding more waste materials from their packaging.

BRING YOUR OWN ECO-BAG

 My Sip metal straw comes in a cute pouch.

My Sip metal straw comes in a cute pouch.

Canvas bags are the in-thing, not just for the summer’s fashion fad but for the whole year round! You can use it to go to the market or palengke. Avoid getting that flimsy plastic that the tindera would place your items in. Use your own canvas bags to place your produce in and bring paper bags (the ones without plastic linings) to put wet market items in. Canvas bags can be washed and cleaned so you can use them again and again. Imagine how much plastic one person saves if you bring your own bag to the grocery stores or the palengke?

I’ve yet to find a local business that specializes in selling canvas bags of different sizes. If you know one that sells or anybody who can make, please let me know! Drop me a message or tag me in social media. I’d love to know what you’ve been doing to reduce single-use plastic waste. 

Perfect Palawan: A Bucket List From North to South

Perfect Palawan: A Bucket List From North to South

It's Time to Ease Your Conscience and Just Pick Up Trash, Please.

It's Time to Ease Your Conscience and Just Pick Up Trash, Please.