Here we are; 52 years into Earth Day

On this 52nd Earth Day, we can ponder where we are and where our Earth and climate are going. Some say the climate is in dire shape; others still deny there’s any problem (silent scream).

We can make a difference in our homes starting with a crazy, low-hanging fruit suggestion: STOP buying any drinks in plastic. For the most part, those bottles are either already recycled – and you likely cannot recycle that plastic again; the bottle lids likely cannot be recycled; and you have SO many other options. The bottles contribute to the ever-growing amount of plastic ending up in landfills, rivers, streams, oceans and along roadsides.

We’ve grown accustomed to hydrating. “But I don’t LIKE my tap water.” Really?  Most communities have made great strides in filtering water that’s piped into your home. You can also consider a tap filter or filtered water pitcher. Most newer refrigerators that have water dispensers have filters.

My house water comes from a well, deep in the granite ground where we live in New Hampshire. We’ve installed a system that filters radon and other natural chemicals out and we have our well water tested every few years. Filters on the system are changed at regular intervals. We are fortunate to have that system in place.

Buying drinks that come in aluminum cans is an easy answer. A major problem for most consumers who aren’t thinking about being intentional about what they buy, see the grocery aisle with all those soda, water, fizzy water and juice choices that make it so easy to avoid buying anything other than plastic.

Here’s another intentional choice I started making: buy only glass jars. I stopped buying plastic-bottled condiments – from garlic to mustard. I see the issue: glass-bottle products often cost more than the plastic version. I am fortunate to be able to make the more expensive choice. That decision is not so easy for people; it’s another conundrum.

Mesh bags for fruit and produce are an easy solution instead of using plastic bags. Even if the plastic bags at the store indicate those bags are recyclable, that does NOT mean your community recycles those bags or CAN recycle those bags. More times than not, consumers end up throwing those produce bags in the waste can and ultimately into the landfill.  

Answer this: WHY do you need a plastic bag for an onion, a bunch of bananas or two oranges? Just “because” is the answer from most people or they don’t want two oranges rolling in their grocery cart. Again, mesh, drawstring bags which are washable and reusable, have been my go-to for years now. These are available at stores and online.

On this Earth Day, my next attack on plastic is my ban on buying liquid laundry detergent in those huge, plastic jugs. I bought my first laundry sheets after seeing multiple ads.

My favorite sustainability phrase, “There is no such thing as ‘away,’” is reality. You can’t just throw something “away.” That thing – goes somewhere. I keep trying; others do nothing to reduce their carbon footprint. Hopefully, in generations ahead, we won’t be in the history books as the generation that ruined our planet.

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