An estimated 60-80 percent of the impact we have on our environment stem from household consumption – or, rather, over-consumption. (Science Daily).
Like the video in class showed, our never-ending cycle of ‘buying, consuming, tossing’ has an immense impact on our world. And, frankly, it’s completely unsustainable.
A 23-year old Environmental Studies major at NYU has found a way to live a completely waste-free lifestyle. Her “zero waste” life starts by learning to make all of her packaged products – toothpaste, cleaning products, etc. – by herself. She buys clothes second-hand, and brings her own containers and jar to fill with bulk products at the supermarket. Farmers markets are also package-free and come with the added benefit of buying local.
Even when she is out in the community she cuts down on waste whenever possible – no straws in her drinks, no plastic or paper bags at stores, and no receipts.
Since she has made these lifestyle changes, she says that she saves money, eats better, and is happier. Everything is recycled, reused, or used as compost. Her yearly trash production – the things that absolutely have to be thrown away – is but a fraction of the national average.
Consider purchasing something online. I have Amazon Prime, and use it frequently. When the item I purchased shows up two days later on my porch, it’s in a cardboard box. Inside the box is packing material – literally just pounds of plastic or foam designed to take up space. The item is typically in a clam-shell packaging, wrapped in plastic, or inside yet another box. The majority of the package simply ends up in the trash!
Simple changes can cut down immensely on our consumption. Ordering digital content instead of hard copies, buying more items second-hand, or simply just asking ourselves if we really need that new bobble.
- Jennifer Brees