Five simple ways to support the environment every day of the year | health and wellness – Advice Eating

Earth Day is behind us, but that’s no reason to wait for next year to start thinking about reducing your environmental impact. In fact, many of the most meaningful steps we can take toward a healthier planet are not one-off grand gestures, but everyday changes in our daily lives.

The Berkshire Food Co-op in Great Barrington is committed to making sustainability convenient and accessible by tackling some of the most common sources of household waste. Here are five simple ways Co-op can help you incorporate the spirit of Earth Day into your daily household routine:

1. Skip the box and buy in bulk


The Co-op encourages buyers to bring their own containers to fill in the bulk department.

Bulk departments are a great place to start reducing your food waste. Not only is it a better deal – always a plus – the absence of retail packaging, with its layers of decorative outer sleeves and sealed plastic inner packaging, eliminates a major contributor to the overflowing kitchen bin problem.

Berkshire Food Co-op encourages customers to bring their own reusable storage containers and ditch the plastic bag altogether. “All you have to do when you’re shopping with your reusable container is weigh it and write down the empty weight, then fill your container and take it to the checkout,” explained Co-op Marketing Manager Devorah Sawyer.

Buyers, owners and non-owners, can visit the bulk section for the typical nuts and beans, as well as grains, oats, flour, muesli, rice, dried fruit, teas, coffee, spices and even ground butter. The co-op also stocks many storage containers, like those from Life Without Plastics, that you can use and then bring back for your next visit to the market.

2. Think long-term when storing food

Over the past few decades, food storage products have become increasingly disposable, from the classic plastic sandwich bag to inexpensive, lightweight, airtight containers that may or may not survive more than one spin in the fridge.

Even sturdier, reusable plastic containers have their problems, particularly the petroleum-based materials they are made from.

Plastics have more negative impacts on the environment than can be listed here, from the process of extracting the raw materials to the mountains of non-biodegradable waste that arise after disposal.

Life Without Plastic, a Canadian company, is replacing plastic storage, tote bags, packed lunches and other household items with more sustainable options made from glass, wood, stainless steel, wool, recycled paper, bamboo and other more eco-friendly components. All materials are ethically sourced, with high standards of environmental sustainability, product safety and labor standards for each supplier.

Life Without Plastic’s food storage options are just as effective (if not more effective) than their disposable or limited-use plastic counterparts in keeping food fresh without exposing your leftovers to potentially harmful chemical contamination or supporting exploitative manufacturing practices.

3. Clean up your way of tidying up


Marley’s Monsters UnTowels are a colorful, reusable replacement for single-use paper towels.

While paper towels may seem fairly innocuous compared to the collection of cleaning chemicals we all stash under the kitchen sink, every roll produced contributes to deforestation, which in turn reduces the number of carbon-consuming trees, an important natural defense against the rising levels of Greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere that contribute to global warming.


Murphy’s Monsters UnTowels are self-adhesive so they can wrap around your existing paper towel holder.

Enter the UnTowel from Marley’s Monsters brand of Eugene, Oregon. Each 12″ x 10″ UnTowel is handcrafted from 100% cotton flannel with finished edges for added durability.

Not only are they reusable – they’re also machine washable and actually became more absorbent after the first few passes through the wash. Thanks to the self-adhesive nature of flannel, UnTowels can be wrapped around a standard paper towel roll and displayed on your existing towel rail. And “on display” they will be: UnTowels come in a range of bright colors and whimsical prints that are almost too adorable to get dirty.

4. Reuse what you have on hand


ReCap products, available from Berkshire Food Co-op, turn mason jars into storage containers, spray bottles and other useful household gadgets.

Using the products you already have, or ones that are cheap and readily available to make your own reusable containers, skip the recycling process to make something “new” without wasting energy and resources on those materials dismantle and reform.

ReCap transforms the humble mason jar into a multitasking powerhouse with a range of specialized screw caps. Sprayers, pumps and shakers create convenient, refillable containers for cleaning products, a less wasteful – and more cost-effective – alternative to single-use bottles.

5. Eliminate disposable items

Take a look at the things you buy, use, throw away and replace on a regular basis and consider if some of them can be swapped out for longer-lasting products. As waste reduction becomes a mainstream concern for American homes, companies have turned their attention to producing more robust, reusable alternatives.

The Co-op is in the process of adding Zero Waste Club products to its reusable selection. The UK-based Zero Waste Club focuses on creating eco-friendly, ethically sourced replacements for many of the most common disposable items in our daily lives: biodegradable sponges and bin liners, bamboo travel essentials, and reusable metal coffee filters and tea strainers. to name a few.

Transitioning to a more sustainable lifestyle is a matter of taking small steps in the right direction. Head over to Co-op to learn about some of the simple changes you can make to your daily quests to make Earth Day a year-round event.

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