I think that the impact that we as humans make did not really hit me as hard as it did once I moved to NYC. I was green in North Carolina with recycling being accessible but once I moved in NYC and found that my building didn’t recycle, I knew I had to take steps to becoming more green. I found that I wanted to really be proactive in doing my part to help the world out because the damage I see in oceans breaks my heart and is on my mind often. So, how am I taking steps?
I am not beating myself up when I forget every now and again to bring what helps make me green. It is important for me to understand that I need to remember these things and if I happen to forget them to not be hard on myself. I think that I see things go wrong in the world with being green because people fail a couple of times to be green and then quit. I go into being green as a plan and also as a change in lifestyle. I grew up with plastic bags and grabbing extra plastic bags as garbage bags. It is also important not to jump in head first into making a commitment with no room for mistake. When anything is incorporated into a lifestyle that is not what you grew up with, it takes adjusting. Take it at a good progressive pace that works for your lifestyle.
I use smile.amazon.com to donate while I purchase things off of Amazon. If you have that address into Amazon, it doesn’t change anything about Amazon at all except that they will donate every quarter to the charity of your choice. My charity is Save the Mermaids which goes to ocean conservation. They are a charity that I believe in and also create beautiful photography of women as mermaids all in support to saving the oceans. Definitely read up on what Amazon is doing if you want to get into donating! You can read more about it HERE.
I got reusable silverware. I have a fork, spoon, chopsticks, and a straw. I purchased them a couple of months ago and I have realized that I need a slightly bigger bag so that these items can really live with me. I have them in a zip pack that my mom made me which I love her for. I have two sets and one lives in my travel day-to-day backpack while the other one needs to go into my slightly bigger purse. There is so much plastic still in the city and it is sad to see. I am glad that NYC has banned styrofoam which doesn’t really degrade. Reusable silverware is probably the first and easy-access step to most people. You can use any of your silverware at home and take it with you. If you carry a small bag, there are also foldable silverware that you can buy.
I use reusable bags. When it was warmer I shopped at the Union Square Market a lot. It’s still really cold so I haven’t been there as often as I would like. I purchased reusable green mesh bags which I use to hold my veggies. I also use TJ Maxx/Burlington reusable bags which are $0.99 as my grocery totes or transportation totes. I like to have a fabric reusable bag or TJ Maxx/Burlington bag to help me carry anything at any give time. I like to reduce my plastic use in this way and just put it in my reusable bags.
Get a reusable/collapsible coffee mug. A friend of mine drinks coffee a lot and she purchased a collapsible coffee mug in order to save on the plastic/paper cup consumption. Most coffee shops will take your own mug/cup if you hand it to them. I am sure there are a couple of places that are sticklers but most will understand and put your beverage in the reusable mug.
Start a compost jar/bag in your refrigerator/freezer. I just started this and I think that it will be something that really sticks with me. I never composted in North Carolina but seeing how much can be done to help the environment has brought it to my attention. If you go to Grow NYC’s website you will find information on where compost locations are and what times they are available. They have so many on different days and it makes it all worth it in the end, I think.
I would love to get into going plastic-free but I know that it is not really in the cards for me in my life, right now. I also think that I would love to get beeswax and reusable bags that replace plastic bags.
Let me know what you do to stay green or if you have any ideas for me. Remember that it is important not to knock yourself down for doing something to change the world! Baby steps.