Welcome to day 4 of our Earth Week #ptchange1thing challenge!
Change 1 Thing: Recycling
Recycling is one of the best and easiest ways that you can have a positive impact on the environment! Recycling is important to both the natural environment and our planet.
The amount of waste we create is constantly increasing for several reasons:
- People are buying more products and creating more waste.
- There are more people on our planet, which means there are more people to create waste!
- New packaging, especially for tech products, is created with non-biodegradable materials.
- Global lifestyle changes, like eating fast food, mean that we create tons more waste that isn’t biodegradable.
Recycling is super important! Waste has a huge negative impact on the natural environment.
- Harmful chemicals and greenhouse gasses are released from the garbage in landfills. Recycling helps to reduce the pollution caused by waste.
- Habitat destruction and global warming are just some of the effects caused by deforestation. Recycling reduces the need for raw materials so that the rainforests can be preserved.
- Recycling requires much, much less energy than what is used to make new products. It also helps to preserve natural resources.
Basically, we should all be at least thinking about recycling, even if it’s just something small.
1. Recycle as much as you can at home.
Here’s my confession: I’m a not-so-great recycler. How is it that I’m a professional adult and somehow still don’t know how to properly “recycle”? I’m not against recycling in any way. I try to reduce my waste and follow all the other tips mentioned here. I would even recycle if it required more work on my part! But…it seems like there’s a mysterious secret list somewhere of what can and cannot be recycled. And that list is in a castle far away guarded by a series of riddles and an angry wizard.
But we’re recycling today, so clearly it was time for me to do some research! Here’s what I found:
Some general rules of recycling, or recycling 101
- Recycle bottles, cans, and paper (yay! Easy enough…)
- Keep items for recycling as clean as you can
- Don’t mix plastic bags in with the rest of your recycled items. Seriously.
What can you recycle?
- Hard plastics
- Plastic bottles
- Paper and cardboard
- Aluminum and steel cans
- Glass food containers, jars, and bottles
This, of course, depends on your city. But even if your city doesn’t offer curbside recycling pick-up, you can still look up a recycling center in your neighborhood and donate the items the city doesn’t take.
What isn’t recyclable?
- Plastic shopping bags
- Plastic cling wrap (instead, make your own DIY beeswax version!)
- Polystyrene foam cups or containers
- Egg cartons
- Take out containers
- Drinking cups
- Soiled food items
- Dirty food containers
- Dirty paper products
- Broken or sharp glass
- Fast food packaging
- Plastic utensils
The moral of the story is that you should try to recycle as much as possible from these lists and avoid using what you can’t recycle. It’s actually that easy!
2. Avoid fast fashion and shop secondhand for clothing.
We’ve already talked about taking steps towards natural and green living. And avoiding fast fashion is incredibly important.
Did you know it takes 2700 liters of water to make one cotton t-shirt? Then think about how many new items of clothing in your closet you haven’t even worn yet (no judgment here, we’re all guilty). Yeah…that’s a lot of water!
But maybe it’s time to consider the number of resources and labor it takes to make new consumer products, especially clothing. By shopping for secondhand clothes, you can save money, reduce waste and support a local charity while you’re at it. Plus upcycling used clothing is a fun and creative way to make old pieces feel new.
And if scouring your local thrift store isn’t your idea of fun, you can also check out consignment shops or online marketplaces for lightly used, quality items.
3. Re-use old containers, packaging, and wood.
Think outside the box! Reuse old products in different ways to keep from producing waste. Plastic microwave dinner trays can be used as picnic dishes and coffee cans can be used to pack lunch. Thinking about other ways to use these throwaway items helps save on the costs of purchasing new items.
There are so, so many ways to re-use old containers instead of throwing them away. Here’s just a short list:
- Reuse old lip balm tubes to make your own chapstick.
- Use old tin cans as biscuit or cookie cutters in the kitchen.
- Turn old rotisserie chicken containers into mini-greenhouses.
- Reuse old coffee creamer bottles as snack containers.
- Turn old milk jugs into garden scoops or watering cans.
- Use egg cartons as seedling planters.
- Old wine bottles make great water glasses. All you need is a glass cutter!
- Clean old candle jars and use for storing small things like q-tips.
4. Compost your leftover food and garden scraps.
Composting is a great way of recycling unused food! Things to compost include non-meat items like vegetable peelings, fruit waste, tea bags, plants, and grass cuttings. These items break down quickly (and provide important nitrogen as well as moisture). It’s also good to include some things like cardboard egg cartons, paper products, and tree leaves.
Bonus tip: Especially if you’re composting your food scraps you need to make sure you wash your produce before you eat it. You should anyways (because no one wants to eat pesticides or poo) but if you’re composting those foods you absolutely don’t want those chemicals potentially leaking into your nutrient-rich soil.
5. Do simple repairs on broken items (Girl, you got this!)
Those inexpensive earrings that broke the second time you wore them. That chair with the wiggly leg. The sunglasses that lost their arm because one of those tiny annoying screws came out…all these things can be easily repaired, saving you the trouble of replacing them.
Honestly, YouTube is a fantastic resource for repairing most things. Spending a few extra minutes learning how to repair them yourself saves you money and helps the environment. Plus you get bonus girl-power points!
Further Reading for Going Green
- Essential Oils and How They Support Green, Non-Toxic Living
- Plant Therapy’s Commitment to Sustainability
- Spring Cleaning with Our Deodorizing Blend
- Spring Cleaning with Essential Oils: A Complete Guide
- Get to Know Our Cleaning Set: All the Oils You Need to Get Started Cleaning!
Head to our Facebook group, Safe Essential Oil Recipes (SEOR) for more amazing ways to use essential oils on your journey to greener living!
Be sure to check back tomorrow to see how our Plant Therapy team is doing with our recycling challenge!