There’s a social psychological phenomenon called the bystander effect, if an individual sees a troubling situation, they do nothing, in the assumption someone else will take care of the issue. These situations usually involve an individual in a dangerous position and witnesses standing by doing nothing to help, however, with the state of our environment, it seems like the planet may fall victim next. This phenomenon is BIG when it comes to the “go green” initiative.
It’s easy for us to tell ourselves, “surely, someone will fix this!” And, it’s even simpler to convince ourselves, “I’m only one person, what difference will I make?” As cliché as is sounds, we can each make a difference, individually. Here’s a list of 10 small efforts you can begin TODAY, in hopes of us making a big change, together.
1. Ditch The Plastic Straws
There are several neat and cheap reusable straws on the market right now. From bamboo to collapsible metal straws that can clip to your keychain; all simple solutions to a major problem.
Bonus Tip – next restaurant trip, request no straw with your beverage.
2. Reusable Bags
Keep canvas bags in your trunk for grocery and shopping trips! These usually cost 75cents to $10 at craft stores so you can easily decorate them however you’d like!
Bonus Tip – you can also purchase reusable produce bags!
3. Buy In Bulk
Typically, buying bulk is cheaper; more importantly, it will help cut back on trash output caused by unnecessary packaging.
Bonus Tip – most health food stores will weigh your containers BEFORE you fill! Just bring them up to a cashier to weigh and document.
4. No More Plastic Cutlery
When getting take-out, try not to request plastic utensils when they are useless to you. You have a fork somewhere at home, wash it with a little soap and water and use it as it’s meant.
Bonus Tip – I wash and reuse my plastic utensils to take on outings, picnics, and for work lunches.
5. Refillable Razors
Using a razor with replaceable blades, rather than disposable razors, will create far less trash in the long run. There are many different options that are open for everyone!
6. Reusable Beverage Container
If you haven’t gotten into the reusable water bottles/mugs trend yet – do it!!! There are various designs, purposes, colors, and price ranges; all ultimately saving the planet, one plastic bottle at a time.
7. Cloth Napkins
Cut back waste production and class up your dinner table with fabric napkins. This may seem like the old-time-y days, but trust me, you’ll feel fancy and they won’t be too much to add to your wash.
Bonus Tip – Buy a variety of colors and designs to keep your table versatile (don’t forget the holidays).
8. GO PAPERLESS!!
Pay your bills online, but receive the hardcopy in the mail? (I’m totally guilty of this) It’s 2018 – let’s take an afternoon to get ourselves enrolled paperless where possible. You can always print out your invoices or billing statements later on if there’s an issue.
Bonus Tip – Stop your junk mail while you’re at it.
9. Buy Secondhand
So many reusable items end up dumped somewhere – from clothes to toys – buy second hand. On the same coin, offer your unwanted items to others before tossing out. Local Craigslist and thrift stores are great resources to buy and sell.
10. Give Up Paper Towels