The plastic that is being created today will be Mother Nature’s nemesis for thousands of years. Fortunately, efforts to minimize its damage have skyrocketed in popularity. With laws passed to prevent the use of plastic in everyday life, it can be a struggle to keep up with the new trends being used to make a positive impact on the environment. Businesses, local and international alike, are beginning the push to incorporate minimal-waste performance, but here are a few ways you can contribute to the planet’s health in your own life every day.
- Reusable Straws and Water Bottles
While it is important to stay hydrated in the heat of Fresno summers, the abundance of plastic water bottles and straws are hurting our environment more than we realize. You see, that plastic Crystal Geyser bottle you drank out of last week is probably sitting in a dump and won’t decompose for over 400 years. And those straws from your daily coffee? They’re definitely in the ocean by now, serving as a not-so-tasty snack for the overhead birds. A viable substitute for these silent killers is reusable straws and water bottles. Not only are metal straws eco-friendly, but you can find many variations on the basic silver tube, including engravings (Pssst…you can find some at the FresYes Market)! Americans use upwards of 500 million plastic straws daily. Imagine how much this would decrease if everyone started using the same straw every day! Worried about bacteria building up throughout the day? Not only are the straws easy to clean, but many come with cases specifically for travel. Going hand in hand with metal straws are reusable water bottles; besides providing insulation to keep your beverage hot or cold, using water bottles does some amazing things for the environment. The more bottles being used, the less plastic looking like a snack for the already scarce sea turtles. Bonus points for the countless design options, because you should be able to express yourself through everything, including your beverage containers.
2. Reusable Bags
One of the biggest laws passed in California was against plastic grocery bags, inspiring the popularity of reusable bags made of recycled plastic. While individual grocery stores sell their own reusable bags, they are also many online companies with countless designs to please any grocery shopper, as well as the very aesthetically-pleasing canvas totes that can be found at local boutiques. The price of these bags may seem unnecessarily high compared to simply buying the DISPOSABLE plastic ones at the grocery store, but once you buy them, you can reuse them forever and ultimately save money in addition to the environment. Root General in Downtown Fresno has countless options for canvas totes that you can use for everything from grocery trips to beach days.
3. Minimal Packaging
The sheer amount of non-biodegradable materials thrown away by a single person per day is outrageous. Simply recycling those food wrappers doesn’t help, but purchasing goods with less plastic packaging does. Instead of grabbing that bag of individually wrapped cheese sticks, go for the block of cheese right next to it that’s wrapped in paper; not only are you consuming less plastic, but it’s also bound to taste better! Rather than buy another bottle of liquid soap that you will eventually throw away, opt for a cardboard-packaged bar…perhaps a goats-milk soap from Prather based Basilwood Farms? Need to store leftovers? Use a plastic Tupperware instead of a Ziploc bag for eco-friendly AND space-saving storage. Speaking of less plastic, many local restaurants and cafes have made the move to eco-friendly food containers. Tower District’s Hi-Top Coffee and The Revue both serve their to-go orders in compostable cups and boxes, while the Annex Kitchen is a certified green restaurant with recycled takeout containers, energy-efficient dishwashers, and sustainable produce and meat. It’s hard to imagine, but contributing little acts can make a huge impact on the amount of plastic unnecessarily being thrown into dumps.
Now go forth and use this knowledge to take care of good ol’ Earth…and save the turtles!
Written by FresYes Guest Writer Emma Farris