At Healthy Being Juicery, sustainability is a core value that we incorporate into every aspect of business. Each decision we make includes consideration of what we can reuse, what we actually need versus what we think we need, and what is the full environmental footprint of each choice. Healthy Being’s most notable sustainability successes include: our glass bottles and bottle deposit program, enabling us to reuse our glass bottles (and put money back in your pocket!) rather than throw away or recycle inferior options; our near-zero food waste through a livestock feed/compost partnership with Haderlie Farms; our reusable cloth bag initiative, where we encourage customers to use their own bags and to return cloth bags they borrow from us; and of course helping people enjoy healthier lives. We are excited and inspired by our community’s commitment to sustainability, from other organizations’ efforts to the town’s Zero Waste initiative, to become more sustainable in our private lives. We want to share what we’ve learned on how we as individuals, families, and consumers can make easy yet powerful strides in reducing our waste. Understanding our place in the global waste cycle and its implications on the planet is an important first step to reducing our environmental footprint. The average American produces almost three pounds of trash (after recycling/composting) per day, and uses 300 shopping bags of raw materials per week, weighing as much as a luxury car. The US, despite holding less than 5% of the world’s population, uses about 25% of the world’s fossil fuel resources. Calculations show that the planet has available 1.9 hectares of biologically productive land per person to supply resources and absorb wastes—yet the average person on Earth already uses 2.3 hectares worth. These “ecological footprints” range from the 9.7 hectares claimed by the average American to the 0.47 hectares used by the average Mozambican. Reducing our individual waste profile has direct personal benefits, in addition to global implications. For instance, one of the most profound changes we can make is to shift to homemade, all-natural cleaners. Commercial cleaners are some of the most toxic products found in the home. Cost savings are equally attractive. It’s possible to save hundreds of dollars per year on laundry detergent alone; think about what you could do with money that’s currently being spent on cleaning supplies, beauty products, processed and packaged foods, and all the other things you just don’t need. Americans are targeted, through various mediums and at increasingly younger ages, by over 1,000 commercial messages daily, and companies spend over $200 billion on advertising in the US alone. In contrast, $50 billion a year could provide adequate food, clean water, and basic education for the world’s poorest. In the constant barrage of superficial, superfluous products, the most powerful tool we possess is our dollar. Let’s use our money mindfully – buy ethical and quality products we truly need, invest in invaluable experiences, and support causes and people that matter to us. 9 Easy Steps to a Zero Waste Lifestyle 1. Practice the The 6 R’s
- Refuse what you do not need. Refusing is the first rule to living a simple Zero Waste lifestyle. Think before accepting something that is handed out to you. Turn down flyers, freebies, party favors, business cards, single-use plastics (such as flimsy grocery bags), and fight junk mail. Register to receive less at dmachoice.org, optoutprescreenorg, and catalogchoice.org.
- Reduce what you do need
- Reuse what you consume
- Recycle what you cannot Refuse
- Repair before you buy new
- Rot (Compost) the rest.
2. Use a Re-usable Water Bottle and Coffee Mug
- Do not drink out of plastic water bottles for your health and the health of the planet.
- Make coffee or tea at home and save money too
- Hot Tea doubles as an emergency aid in the backcountry, year round
3. Food + Grocery Shopping Tricks
- Buy in bulk
- Bring reusable bags, jars and containers
- Shop at Farmers Market’s and local businesses who value sustainability in their business model
- Make your own plant milks, or buy local raw milk in glass bottles.
4. Make Your Own Cleaning Supplies
- Laundry Detergent – use Dr. Bronners, castile soap, vinegar and baking soda
- Window Cleaner: 1 part white vinegar, 1 part water, 3 drops of natural dish liquid, use towel to wash, then finish with newspaper to dry streak free
- Cleaners, Oils with antibacterial, antifungal properties, Vinegar, Baking Soda, Castile soap
- Soak orange peels in vinegar for two weeks in a sealed mason jar then pour the vinegar into a spray bottle. Use as a non-toxic and yummy smelling green cleaner.
- An effective cleaner, deodorizer, and fabric softener, mix 4 tablespoons baking soda and an equal amount of water. When applied to stains, can absorb odors and help break down grease. Presoak new clothes in 1/4 cup baking soda to 1 gallon water to eliminate factory residue.
- Naturally acidic, white vinegar cuts grease, softens water, and whitens fabrics when added to the rinse water (the first rinse, so it can be washed out). Depending on the size of the load, add anywhere from 1/8 cup to 1/2 cup.
5. Re-use and Repurpose Before You Throw Away
- Cloth Napkins
- Old clothes for rags
- Anything that’s not broken, find a use for it
6. Make Your Own Beauty Products
- Lotions, cleansers, masks, sunscreen, lip balm, toothpaste, even cosmetics! Recipes abound online, and Healthy Being offers Natural Beauty Workshops for hands-on practice.
7. Clothing + Gear
- Carry handkerchiefs
- Shop secondhand
- Donate clothes you no longer wear
- Research companies and their values when you do purchase new
8. Avoid plastic ALL WAYS and always 9. Clean out the Clutter and Buy Less
- Empty drawers and cupboards, and let go of things you do not use. Donate duplicates. This is the opportunity to get rid of toxic plastic ware.
- Put aside items you are hesitant to give away and test your usage for the next few months. The items you don’t use are likely items you don’t need; it’s OK to give them away.
- Question even those things you always thought you needed. For example, peeling veggies. Most veggies, even beets and carrots, actually do not need to be peeled, allowing for faster food prep, less compost waste, and increased health benefits from the vegetable skins.
- Identify your staples and stick to one type of each. There’s no need to store several different types of rice, legumes and pasta; your least favorite will get pushed to the back of the pantry and spoil before you have the time to clean out your cupboard. Store one type of each, and buy something different each time you restock.
- “What you do not have does not need to be organized!” The less we have, the easier life becomes.
Sources and Useful Links: data.worldbank.org/topic http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/index.htm http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/15/business/media/15everywhere.html? http://worldcentric.org/conscious-living/expanding-eco-footprint https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/how-toxic-are-your-household-cleaning-supplies http://www.zerowastehome.com/p/tips.html http://www.trashisfortossers.com/ http://astore.amazon.com/zerowastehomestore-20?_encoding=UTF8&node=14 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQiqHgE0h3U http://www.care2.com/greenliving/10-tips-for-creating-a-zero-waste-home.html http://themindunleashed.org/2014/06/germanys-first-waste-free-supermarket-open-doors.html http://www.mom4real.com/cleaning/ http://www.citylab.com/work/2013/03/share-everything-why-way-we-consume-has-changed-forever/4815/ http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-7781/simple-all-natural-homemade-toothpaste.html