Signing up for GreenerBins is a great first step to get started on your green journey. As we all know, big change happens in baby steps; there are so many small adjustments we can make to our everyday lives that add up in the long run. It can be so overwhelming to tackle everything at once, since there’s so much we can do as a community, country, and world to be more sustainable. Many of you are already making a huge difference just by diverting your food waste from landfills, but for anyone who is looking for some guidance on what their next sustainable goal should be, we’ve gathered a few of our favourites.
1. Participate in “Plastic Free July”
This is an awesome global initiative with 120 million participants. They provide attainable goals, whether you’re trying for a day without plastic, a week, all of July, or from now on. It’s a great way to target certain aspects of your life where you’ve been relying on the convenience of plastic, like swapping your disposable coffee cup for a reusable one or saying goodbye to Styrofoam take out containers. It’ll take some getting used to, but it may make you think, run back into the house, and reach for a reusable container.
2. Plant a Pollinator Garden
Planting native and non-native plants and flowers create pollinator corridors throughout our city (especially in spots where there’s a lack of green space). These give our pollinators (bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds) food to forage along their journey through the city, and bring some floral beauty to our yards.
3. Stop Spraying Your Yard
Having a well-kept lawn and garden is important, of course, but definitely not at the expense of our ecosystem. There are manual ways to keep invasive species out, which don’t involve herbicides or lawn chemicals. Spraying for pesky, “other” bugs like mosquitos or spiders is also a problem. These don’t just affect the “bad bugs” but it takes away food from the beneficial ones. It’s all part of a wider ecosystem, and if the “bad ones” go, a lot of the “good bugs” will follow. *If you truly have to spray, do so in the early evening or very early morning when foragers aren’t out collecting.
4. Stay Goodbye to Fast-Fashion
The garment industry is a huge contributor to climate destruction (and it’s not so great for the garment workers, either.) We are consuming too much, so these companies are producing large quantities to keep up, and there’s no room in the landfills (and many of these pieces take too long to break down). Along with the devastating amount of water used to make cotton t-shirts, keep an eye out for polyester in clothing, as every time you wash this garment, microplastics are released into the water. A quick switch could be to find pieces at your local thrift or consignment store to recycle pieces (at a low cost), or do your research and find higher-quality (and higher price point) eco- friendly and slow fashion brands that produce only on demand, with properly sourced materials, or reused products. Aim for fewer, high-quality pieces.
5. Source your Food Locally
This one is a double whammy. We advocate for local produce to reduce on the emissions that come from shipping and importing goods, but also because so many grocery store items are coated with plastic. Bring your own bag and stock up on local in-season food, and you can always freeze and save for the colder months to avoid out-of-season and shipped foods.
6. Properly Recycle and Dispose of Waste
It’s normal to want to take on more environmentally friendly tasks, but we can only move forward if the measures we’ve already put in place are done correctly. A great example is recycling. It boils down to more than just throwing everything that is recyclable into the same bin. Take that extra minute and throw the plastic cap from your bottles and jugs into the garbage. Rinse your containers before you throw them. Finally, educate yourself on what actually IS recyclable and what’s not. Anything that ends up in the bin that isn’t recyclable, contaminates the rest, and extra costs are invested to get them to the landfill anyway.
There are many little things we can do...and every little bit helps. Talk to the people in your life. Start conversations about eco-friendly choices. It's up to all of us. Keep fighting the good fight and don't lose hope! Together we can make a difference.
Dane & the GreenerBins Team