It’s not easy being green. Actually, it’s easier than you think. The trend towards greener living has become a daily focus in my life. As a personal fitness trainer, my goal is to empower minds and motivate bodies every day. On a small scale, I work on my own positive lifestyle habits as well as my family’s habits everyday. On a larger scale, I continue to believe in my motto of “progress not perfection.”
I take any opportunity to educate, reach out and motivate others around me to take care of the things they love: themselves, their family, their friends, and hopefully their world. Once you start caring about how you treat yourself, you can’t help but start to care more about how you treat the environment.
The quest towards preserving our environment can be overwhelming when reading the news of overflowing landfills, poor air quality, lack of natural resources, and more. But let’s take a look at how each of us can be more ecologically responsible and how we can encourage others to follow suit.
According to the EPA, each individual discards about four pounds of material daily. Waste burdens our economy, our environment, and it should burden our conscience. As you start to care more about your health, you naturally start to care about how you treat the world. I became disgusted with the amount of garbage my family was generating. How could a family of five constantly fill a humongous garbage can each week? Quite frankly, guilt finally over took me and I started implementing ways to reduce and reuse things in my house. My kids were actually more receptive than expected…again progress, not perfection. Now I think we’ve reached a point where we can be proud that our garbage can is half empty on garbage pickup day. Here are five of the simple things we started doing at home:
1) Stopped using paper plates and cups.
Yes, they are convenient when I have a house load of kids, but it’s just as easy to load the dishwasher. I purchased more drinking glasses at Target so I could accommodate more glasses each day and start the dishwasher at night.
2) Start a new garbage system in the kitchen.
We have a recycle bin for plastic, glass, tin and recyclable paper products. We have an organic garbage bin for food scraps, coffee grounds, paper towels and napkins, freezer boxes and pizza boxes. (We are lucky that our city has an organic pick up each week.) And lastly, we have regular garbage for anything that doesn’t qualify for recycle or organic compost. (I’ve posted a list inside the cabinet to help the kids decide which garbage can to use.)
3) Use recyclable grocery bags.
I keep them in my trunk and take them into the grocery store each time I shop. If I forget them when I get inside the store, I make myself turn around and go back out to my car. They are actually a little bigger and more durable than the regular paper bags, which is great! Plastic bags are just a disaster. More than 380 billion plastic bags are used in the United States every year and plastic bags aren’t biodegradable. I have tried to avoid plastic bags at all costs.
4). Refill your water bottle
I try refilling my water bottle as often as possible instead of going through 10 a day. I have a reusable bottle and I fill it up and refrigerate it to get super cold. I encourage my kids to do the same. As a matter of fact, I like adding lemon, lime or orange slices to my water– it’s refreshing!
5) Eat fresh, whole foods
I always advocate this, but it’s also good for the environment because processed foods have excess packaging. Supporting your local farmer’s markets is another way to go green.
We should all do what we can do. If everyone makes small efforts, collectively, those efforts will add up. For more ideas, check out the Environmental Protection Agency’s Website.