I would like to think I’m a generally environmentally friendly human. I recycle, I don’t produce a lot of garbage and I avoid driving whenever I can.
However, while I was doing an extensive deep-clean of my room and getting rid of a good chunk of my stuff, I realized how much of it had to go into a landfill because it couldn’t be recycled, donated or sold, either because it was no longer useable or it was just plain ole’ junk that I likely couldn’t have paid someone to take from me.
This had got me thinking about how many everyday items I purchase that are disposable but don’t think about them going into a landfill. In fact, nobody does. We use these products every day and don’t think twice about what happens when we’re done with it when we throw it into our trashcan.
A big example: makeup. I love makeup and have a ton of it, admittedly. But what happens to the mascara tubes, eyeliner pens and eye shadow pallets when they’re empty? Most of these containers are made from plastic and cannot simply be tossed in an everyday recycling bin, so they go straight to the landfill.
How do we combat this? Brands like MAC offer a recycling reward program where empty packaging is exchanged for a product. Some brands offer refillable pallets, which is not only awesome for reducing waste but it allows you to only choose pigments you will actually use.
Now, every morning after I draw on my face with stuff housed in plastic containers, I go to my kitchen to make lunch.
And I take pita chips, crackers, veggies or whatever I have ready and put them in plastic baggies and put it in my backpack.
Not very environmentally friendly at all.
First of all, my food is already packaged in some sort of container, whether it’s a bag or a box or a combination of the two, so in being a human who needs to eat, I’m already contributing to landfills. Repackaging my food in plastic baggies is just doubling the waste produced.
Reusable cloth bags can be made for sandwiches and snacks if you’re feeling crafty. For the lazy (and those with a sewing machine deficiency), just use a washable food storage container.
Not everyone uses makeup, though. Not everyone packs a lunch in plastic baggies. Sure, these two things contribute to a good chunk of the non-biodegradable waste thrown away by Americans each year but there is one thing we are all definitely, one hundred percent guilty of.
That’s right. That pack of Bic pens you pick up at the beginning of every school year has to go somewhere (yes, even after you lose all but that last one you found on the ground during finals week).
Pens, like lip balm, are hardly ever used to completion. They either get lost or are overshadowed by that shiny, new package of fresh pens that write ever so smoothly.
Americans throw away 1.6 billion disposable pens every year. That’s a lot of plastic that’s never going to decompose, ever. Using pencils (although drastically sub-par and having environmental problems of their own, they’re at least renewable) or refillable pens (more expensive, but think of how fancy you’ll feel writing with one) are more sustainable ways of writing.
By taking the time to think about where something is going to go once you’re finished with it can drastically reduce the amount of waste you produce. Reducing, reusing and recycling on top of practicing minimalism is the best way to live an eco-friendly life.
UNLESS YOU DON’T CARE ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT, THEN YOU ARE THE GARBAGE AND I HOPE EVERYTHING YOU THROW AWAY IS USED TO FILL YOUR GRAVE, YOU PIECE OF TRASH.