Environmentalist Hacks : What You Can Do To Start Reducing Waste

Let's get real.

As a species we are doing a terrible job collectively when it comes to taking care of our planet. The sooner we realize that right now, this is the only habitable place we've got, the better. I'm sure that just like me, there are many times that you feel frustrated, feeling so powerless to make a difference given the magnitude of this problem we face. But know this, to make long and lasting change for the environment, we need everyone on board. So don't get discouraged. Instead, make the decision to be mindful of what you consume and dispose of. Every little effort adds up, and making these small lifestyle changes helps significantly.

If you've already made that decision, and don't know where to start, this article is for you. Here are some everyday changes you can make to help save the Earth. 

Bring Your Own Water Container
There is enough plastic thrown away each year to circle the globe four times over. That's a LOT of plastic; and to think that most of these waste products come from single use items, your water bottle being number one on the list. That harmless looking 20 peso purchase, was made at a great cost for the environment to produce. You can help stop this by bringing your own water container to work. 

The brand I use is Klean Kanteen. I like it because its insulated, and keeps my drink cold the whole day. I fill it up with water and ice before leaving the house, and keep refilling throughout the day, at the studio or at restaurants I go to. Not only does it save you a huge amount of unnecessary waste, it also saves you up on money as well.

A little experiment you can do once you make the switch is to count the number of times you've had to refill your bottle in a day. Now multiply that number by 20 (an estimated cost in Philippine Peso for a bottle of water), and then by 365. Now you have the amount of money that you'd save in a year, just by bringing your own container. 


Ditch the Straw
You can live without a straw. You literally can live without it in your life. What other use is there for a tiny strip of plastic that sits in your drink for 15-20 minutes, only to be thrown out right after? 

Like most people, I didn't realize how much harm one straw could cause until I saw a video of a sea turtle, with a plastic straw stuck up it's nose. For 8 painful minutes, I watched this harmless, innocent creature suffer, because of something that could have been avoided. My feelings could not possibly amount to his, yet this video really struck me. To think that this is only one, out of millions of other suffering animals in our seas, and it's because of us. If you haven't seen the video yet, here it is: https://youtu.be/4wH878t78bw. Let's all do these little guys a favor. Don't use a straw. Sip your drink instead.

Tell the waiter, or the barista when you order that you'll have your drink without a straw. Some establishments make it SOP to stick it in your drink unless specified otherwise, so you have to make sure to tell them before they prepare it. Another option is to use reusable ones. Get a metal straw from Sip PH. They sell stainless steel straws in different sizes, and deliver straight to your doorstep.

Bring Your Own Bag
When going shopping, or when making a quick run to the grocery, bring your own bag with you. Say no to plastic bags. Instead, carry with you a canvas tote for your purchase. I have an Envirosax tucked inside my everyday bag all the time for sudden store runs. They fold up really small, and take up very little space. Keep one of these reusable totes close to you at all times. Because usually, it's the sudden purchases that get you to use more plastic. Never be caught off guard and have one ready when you need it.


Say No To Disposable Cutlery

Carry a set from your house and keep it in your bag. These are some of the things that you are bound to use everyday. If you usually eat out in a restaurant, this is not a problem. But if you're big on fast food (another reason to avoid this, if you need more reasons *coughs*) majority of the major chains practically give you no other option. 

The struggle for disposable cutlery is most real for me when going on trips. Having to eat everything off the street, sometimes it's just easier to give in and use whatever disposable spoon they hand you. But I realized, that much like fitness, reducing your everyday waste is a lifestyle choice. It gets so much easier once you accept that there is a bigger problem we have to face. Make the decision to do your part in fixing it. You fail a few times, but then you just have to pick up where you left off and try harder. After all, my guláš is not going to be any less delicious if I ate it with a metal spoon. 


As Much As Possible Dine In

Take out food will always come in a disposable container. Complete with one time use cutlery, cups, and condiments in plastic packets. All of this you will throw away after use. Sit down and enjoy your meal. Have your drink in a mug inside the cafe instead of in a to-go cup.

I understand that there will be some days when you really just want to sit home, do nothing, and order a pizza. Lessen the blow by making a few specifications to your order, without having it any less satisfying. When calling in, tell them not to give you plastic cups, cutlery, or a plastic bag when they deliver. You're at home anyway, and most likely, all the things you'll need to eat your meal with, will be readily available in your kitchen. It's Netflix and Chill nights less the waste. 


I choose to believe that there is good in humanity. If we are capable of making beautiful works of art that endure, and inspire generations to create. If we have the power to spark revolutions that can rock our consciousness, and change our social fabric. If we can dare to go out into the emptiness of space, and seek to discover things that are beyond what we can physically understand. Then, it is impossible that we don't have it in us to turn this mess around.

There is nothing that unites us more, than saving the only planet we all call home. We can do this. Let's go save the world.