There’s light at the end of the long pandemic tunnel. And while isolation has been hard on us, it’s been a boon to the planet. According to recent data from NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey, air pollution has decreased, water quality has improved and noise pollution has dropped. We have an opportunity to rethink and reimagine how we want to live. Now is our chance to do better. Here’s how to get started.
1. DITCH THE GLITTER
When tiny pieces of plastic enter the ocean, fish, seabirds and other marine life gobble them up. Last year, scientists found the highest concentration of dangerous microplastics ever measured on the ocean floor, about 1.9 million pieces in 11 square miles. Even sparkle makeup may come from microplastics. Instead, consider products that use synthetic mica, a sparkly but biodegradable alternative to plastic glitter.
2. BE FOOD SMART
We throw away 30 to 40 percent of our food supply—219 pounds per person in the U.S. every year. The majority of food waste happens in grocery stores, restaurants and food service businesses but it happens at home too. Every person who eliminates a little food waste saves money and landfill space.
3. EMBRACE EARTH-FRIENDLY FASHION
11.3 million tons of textiles went into landfills in 2018. If we can keep the clothing that’s already been made in circulation a little longer, there’s less impact on the planet from production. Could you patch the jeans you have or shop an online second-hand store like thredUP? Many companies like Levi’s and Madewell have partnered with Cotton’s Blue Jeans Go Green program, which gives discounts to those who turn in a pair of jeans before buying a new one.
4. TRY A NEW WAY TO COMPOST
Food scraps and yard waste make up more than 30 percent of what we throw away.
Composting is one of the biggest ways to have an impact and reduce waste. Food scraps don’t break down in landfills. They take up space and release methane, a big contributor to global warming. Consider composting at your home. The food waste becomes nutrient-rich mix that can be mixed with your soil.
5. QUIT THE PLASTIC HABIT
We eat, swallow or breathe 2,000 particles of plastic a week, about the weight of a credit card. If we don’t cut back on plastic, scientists predict that the amount dumped in our oceans (11 million metric tons each year) will triple in 20 years. It all adds up if you think about all of the plastics in your home—from shampoo bottles to floss containers to plastic straws. Instead, try products that are made with nonplastic or biodegradable materials or containers that can be refilled or reused.
Together we have the power to restore our earth!