You may have noticed that in the past year, there has been a lot of talk about our planet! In fact, scientists’ concerns about climate change were heard around the world in 2018, with good reason. Did you know that by August 1, 2018, the Earth had consumed all of its resources for the entire year? (Journal de Montréal) According to experts, this date will occur earlier and earlier each year due to our habits of overconsumption and wasting. If, like me, you are concerned about the future of our planet for your children and grandchildren, here are some tips to reduce your ecological footprint.
No More Plastic!
In 2018, consumption of plastic bags in the United States increased to nearly one bag per day, per resident, over the full year. On the other hand, an average person in Denmark uses at most 4 plastic bags over a full year. Incredible, right? (National Geographic) While it may seem impossible to reduce our plastic consumption completely, there are certainly changes you can make to your daily lives, starting today.
First, when you pick up groceries or go shopping, think about bringing reusable bags. However, instead of using reusable bags that are more often than not made of plastic, why not use cloth bags that are available locally and made in Quebec? There are now also reusable bags for fruits and vegetables that you can use instead of the small plastic bags available in grocery stores. Over the past year, several cities in the province have gone as far as banning plastic bags in all of their businesses to encourage this initiative.
You can also try to reduce your use or even refuse to use plastic straws. There are good alternatives to reusable straws that can help you with the transition. When you go to a restaurant, get in the habit of bringing them to avoid waste.
Buying in Bulk
Before heading off to the grocery store, make a list to avoid making unnecessary purchases. Next, identify items on your list that could be purchased in bulk, so you can bring reusable containers, preferably made from glass, to fill on-site. With small acts, you can slowly reduce your environmental impact.
While most people have already been recycling for a long time, it has to be done properly. I don’t know about you, but personally, I sometimes stand in front of the recycling bin wondering what can actually be put inside it. To help you properly sort your waste, you can use the RECYC-QUÉBEC mobile app, which tells you in which bin or where to dispose of your products.
You may be surprised to learn that there are many ways to reduce the quantity of waste you produce daily. First, try to avoid anything disposable, including coffee cups, razors, batteries, and paper towels. Eliminate single-use products by replacing them with those with a longer lifespan.
Next, think about composting, which involves the transformation of organic matter by soil microorganisms and macroorganisms in the presence of oxygen. While many of us would like to engage in this practice, very few people proceed with it due to a lack of information. Composting greatly helps reduce waste by decreasing your total quantity of waste produced by about 40%. To learn about composting and how to get started, click here (available in French only).
Growing Your Own Food
While our geographical location only allows us to adopt this practice during the summer months, it makes a huge difference with regard to the amount of packaging you use. By growing your own food in your garden, you will not only reduce waste, but you will also be able to control how your food is grown and to know that no pesticides have been used. To learn more about how to maintain your garden when summer arrives, read our article.
Another option is to buy local products. By supporting Quebec producers, you will contribute to reducing the pollution that results from transporting products from outside of the province.
With these tips in hand, you can now apply them to your daily life and encourage your friends and family to do the same. By working together, we can contribute to the well-being of our planet!