Earth Day is every day, right? We know we should be respecting the earth on a daily basis in order to maintain our planet, and I’d say for the most part, I feel people are as mindful of that as they can be. Single stream recycling programs are all over the place, energy-saving light bulbs are readily available, and electric cars are gaining in popularity. Every day, more and more people are creating avenues to make eco-conscious choices easier and more affordable, and global awareness continues to expand.
As a vegetarian, I’ve always believed that by not supporting CAFOs, I make up for the carbon footprint that I’ve created with my 10 year old, full size pickup truck. My family supports local farms, we replaced paper napkins/towels with washable ones, we pick up litter when we can, and we shop second hand as often as possible. Small, independent choices that combine with other families’ small, independent choices, creating a beautiful movement together.
But even though we believe Earth Day is every day, I still enjoy honoring this annual event with some sort of creative acknowledgement. This year I gave myself a challenge- for the entire week prior to today, my goal was to utilize as few disposable items as possible, with the hope that I walk away with a useful new habit or two. Here’s how it went:
Meal Prep– I’ve gotten pretty good at packing up reheat-ables in glass containers, so that was no biggie. On the weekends, I try to prepare enough meals/snacks so that during the week it’s just grab and go. This is where my secret love affair with ziplocs raised it’s ugly head, and my first hurdle was presented. I’ve tried re-usable baggies in the past, and they work great in the short term. Over time, however, I find that the food becomes stale, so by Friday the food’s no good. How do I portion out all of the lunchbox items so they stay fresh and convenient?
Mason jars! They come in all sizes, and they’re airtight- perfect!
Everyday Habits– So now that I’ve packed everything in reusable containers, I discover another obstacle as I began to prepare my meal- I’m using paper plates and plastic forks, items utilized heavily in my work place. Now what? With better planning, I can pack utensils, and eat my meals in the containers in which they’re packed. But today I made a sandwich- should I have brought a plate? I head to my local grocery to find alternatives- enter, the reusable placemat! Super cute, but instead of purchasing one, I decided to use a clean kitchen towel from home.
Washing Dishes– this is something I’ve been thinking about for a while, but haven’t actually moved forward on- replacing my beloved sponges. If I think about doing dishes when I was a kid, all I can remember is the soap on the Brillo pads that took forever to rinse off. What did we use before sponges? A crocheted washcloth! A good friend had gifted me some around the holidays, so I broke them out and hid the sponge. They worked great! For regular washing it was a breeze, and for items that would previously require the scrubby side of a sponge? I’d soak them briefly, scrape them with my wooden spatula, and voila! Wash them clean! Hang it over the faucet to dry, and it was ready for the next round!
So there you go! These were the biggest of my epiphanies- I feel like I learned some new tricks that I will continue to utilize going forward, a few more earth-responsible choices to add to my family’s arsenal. I do, however, have one burning question remaining- what do you pack your leftover pizza in?
Happy Earth Day! xo