Going greener

A post for those who want to go greener and do not know where to start.  Here you will find a compilation of ideas, projects and websites that I have discovered while trying to reduce my ecological footprint and that may also help you go greener…

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Photo from Ecobags‘ website

Less plastic is possible.

The total volume of all plastic ever produced is around 8.30 bn tones. Of this, 6.3 bn tonnes is not waste and 79% (!) is in landfill or the natural environment (Geyer, Jambeck and Lavender 2017), such as oceans. The amount of time plastic containers take to biodegrade varies, but it can go from 50 years (an Styrofoam cup) to 600 years (a fishing line). Do we really need to use so much (often single-use) plastic?  Read about it at the BBC webpage.

Start here:

  • Eat real food, not food wrapped in plastic.Processed food, convenience food and to-go food almost always come in plastic wrappers and containers.
  • Ban the bottle. Stop buying water, soda, energy drinks, juice and other beverages packaged in plastic bottles.
    • Carry a stainless steel travel mug or water bottle at all times
  • Drink loose-leaf tea. Fabric and mesh tea bags are often made of synthetic material (i.e., plastic).
  • Refuse single-use plastic.Say no to plastic shopping bags; plastic straws and stir sticks; plastic utensils, plates and cups; and other disposable plastic items.
    • For instance: tell your server up front when you order in a restaurant.
    • Provide your own containers for take-out places to use.
    • Use a reusable coffee cup (Does it have to be on the go?).
    • You can purchase bamboo utensils. Even reusable plastic utensils are better than disposable ones.
  • Bring your own cloth shopping bags (with natural fibers, not synthetic materials that shed tiny plastic fibers in the washing machine).  If you don’t find them near your place, you can also buy them online from stores such as Ecobags and Life Without Plastic.
  • You’ll find these and other general tips at Zerowastechef’s website.

 

Buy bulk!

  • Find packaging-free supermarkets in Spain or anywhere
    • In Spain or Italy, you can go to places like Goccia Verde, that allow you to reuse your own bottles when buying cleaning liquids
    • Contribute to the twitter campaign against plastic wrapped organic fruits and vegetables. Isn’t that contradictory? #DesnudaLaFruta
  • Feeling brave already? You don’t have to do it alone.
    • You can start with a Plastic Free July, and here is some help to achieve it. How does it work?
      • Step 1: Sign up to be countedand we’ll email you tips and recipes throughout July.
      • Step 2:Take the Pesky Plastics Quiz to help you track down where your plastics come from.
      • Step 3:Choose what you will do:
        • avoiding the plastics that seem to fill your recycling bin;
        • targeting the takeaway items that could end up in the ocean;
        • going completely plastic free (finding alternatives to everything) for a day, week, month or more.
    • Or you can start with a June challenge: the Marine Conservation Society has some advice for you.

 

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Photo by Janne Hellsten @Flickr

Zero Waste?

Going beyond recycling towards a zero-waste lifestyle that includes not only buying and using less plastic but also producing less food waste or waste in general. You can start by consuming less but you can also discover new ways of reusing old things or exchanging them. It’s the Circular economy, baby.

  • Learn how to fix your own stuff (or at least trying!): look around for places in your hometown. In Barcelona, you can try Millorquenou, they will teach you how to fix your bike, your vacuum cleaner or your radio transistor (if you still have one).

 

Think Global. Buy Local.

Food cooperatives foster conscious consumption around food, creating networks of alike-minded people. They are easy to join (some require in-person collaboration, others just to pay a quote) and they not only care about health and the environment but also about the social impacts of food production and distribution.

 

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Photo by Ivo Hristov @Flickr

Want to reduce your carbon footprint? Add new veggie-recipes to your diet.

Worldwide, 30% of Earth’s landmass goes to meat, dairy, and egg production (FAO 2006). The production of crops and animal products releases »13 % of global greenhouse gas emissions, without counting land use change. Also, 57% of wild marine stocks are exploited to their full potential, and another 30 percent are overexploited and are likely to decline in the future (World Resources Institute 2015).  However, most of the world’s people consume more milk and meat than necessary, and many consume more than is healthy. Replacing meat with plant-based foods would reduce carbon dioxide emissions, even if only one meal per week. And it can be tasty!

 

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Photo by Félix Rodríguez-Manzaneque @Flickr

 

Feeling down or lonely in your project? Want to be informed about new projects?

Because there are millions of people that care about the future and they are working to make the planet a better world. And it’s not always easy to find the information…

  • Take a look at Atlas of the future: an online compilation of worldwide projects that are: “real, innovative, with long-term vision and committed to lasting positive impact”. You can subscribe to their weekly newsletter
  • Read the Sustainable Business’ section at The Guardian
  • Keep up to date on signals of change by following Future Centre’s twitter
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