Simple Ways You Can Be More Eco Friendly
Climate change is on the forefront these days - FINALLY - it’s been a long time coming that this important issue became a focal point for our government and our society as a whole. If you’re someone who has made environmental responsibility a priority for a long time, you likely have felt sometimes like you’re fighting an uphill battle. Our society tends to prioritize almost everything above environmental sustainability, or so it can sometimes seem. But luckily, that seems to be changing.
If you’re new to learning about the environmental impact that many of our society’s practices have, it can be daunting to know exactly where to start. The good news is, even starting small can make a difference, and the more people that get on board with these small changes, the bigger an overall impact they will have. As with so many things in life, a small start can tend to snowball into a new way of life. You don’t have to commit to living off-grid and using a composting toilet to effect real environmental change. You’d be surprised at the significance that seemingly small changes can have.
With that in mind, we wanted to focus this post on a few simple ways you can be more eco friendly in your daily life. These changes are easier to make than you think, and maybe you can even convince some friends and family to make them along with you.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Yeah, we know - we’ve ALL heard this one before! It might seem cliche at this point, but let’s really break down what this slogan means. It’s more than just throwing your cans and jars into the recycling bin each week. Most people just focus on the third “R” (recycle), if they follow this mindset at all. This is likely because it’s the easiest and can be followed without really having to change your daily life at all.
But what about the other “R”s? What does it mean to “reduce” and “reuse”? For starters, reducing your consumption of goods can have a pretty huge impact in the long run. Think about the products that you consume over the course of a normal day. Maybe you stop at a coffee shop on your way to work in the morning, grabbing a paper cup (with plastic lid) to go. And while you’re at it, better grab 5-10 paper napkins from the counter in case you spill during your commute. At lunchtime, you hop back in your car to drive a few miles for another to-go package. Your favorite restaurant uses styrofoam packaging, because it keeps the food warm and it’s inexpensive to buy in bulk. They hand you your food in a plastic bag, and they make sure to include a plastic (and plastic-wrapped) knife, fork, and some napkins. At the last minute, you decide to grab a refreshing beverage to go along with your food. And even this is served in an aluminum, glass, or plastic bottle or cup, along with an individually wrapped plastic straw to boot.
Do you see where we’re going with this? Here we are, having explained just a few hours in the life of an average person, and the level of consumption is mind-blowing. All that single-use glass, paper and plastic for ONE person, in ONE day. Many people live their lives like this and don’t give it a second thought. Multiply this consumption by several billion people, and you can see why the earth is in the precarious position it’s in.
Lowering this level of consumption is a perfect example of how a few simple changes can make a huge difference. With just a tiny bit of advance planning, this waste can be eliminated. Picture these alternatives:
- Make your coffee at home in the morning, and take it to go using a reusable travel mug. If you really can’t live without your daily dose of your favorite barista blend, bring your reusable mug to your local coffee shop
- Do a bit of meal planning during the week so you can bring your lunch to work. This can be as simple as just packing a sandwich or some leftovers in a reusable container and reusable lunch box. You save the wads of styrofoam and plastic you’d consume getting take-out, not to mention saving the gas and emissions of driving to pick it up.
- You can take this even further at home by replacing your single use plastic bags with reusable alternatives. Replace your parchment paper and aluminum foil with silicone baking mats or replace your plastic wrap with reusable beeswax wrap.
These changes are SO easy, but they make a huge impact! Yes, we’re all for recycling too, but reducing your consumption and reusing products (and buying reusable products instead of single use glass, paper, or plastic) can make a much bigger difference.
Become a Conscious Consumer
Paying attention to the environmental impact of the products you buy is another simple way you can be more eco friendly in your everyday life. Research the companies and products that you purchase, and make it a point to support companies that make conservation and sustainability a priority. Buy local when you can. Afterall, not only is supporting a local economy incredibly important for its ecological and societal impact, but by purchasing products that don’t need to be shipped long distances (sometimes across the world!) you’re helping to lower the carbon footprint of your consumption.
One of the main reasons we started Grain4Grain is that we feel it’s important to offer a sustainably-produced, eco friendly wheat flour alternative to give consumers a choice in lieu of the popular almond or coconut flours. Both almond and coconut flour have a harsh environmental impact, as we’ve explored in some previous blog posts. Spent grain, on the other hand, is made using the upcycled products from the beer making process, which would otherwise be considered food waste and wind up in a landfill. We don’t have to grow fields and fields of mono-cultured barley to make our product. Instead, we use the leftovers that have already been grown and mill that spent grain into a low carb, high protein flour using a production process with an incredibly low environmental footprint.
Thankfully, we aren't the only company out there that makes environmental sustainability an important focus of its business. While it might take a bit of research to find such companies, the environmental payoff is well worth it. Becoming a conscious consumer and supporting eco conscious companies is another simple change you can make to live a more eco friendly lifestyle.
Educate Yourself - and Others - on Environmental Issues
We’ve outlined a few lifestyle changes that you can make to become more eco friendly. None of the changes we’ve suggested take much effort to implement, but the impact they have is substantial. You don’t need to stop there, either. Now that you’ve learned a bit about how easy it is to make a few simple eco friendly choices, take the time to educate yourself on other ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle, and educate others too. The more people that we can convince to make just a few simple changes in their lifestyle, the more we all have a chance at making a real impact.