Make every day Earth Day.
365 chances to do good.
On April 22 each year we love to celebrate the beautiful planet we call home to keep with Earth Day's long standing tradition of promoting awareness and calling for action for the planet. Earth Day started way back in 1970, when 20 million Americans took to the streets to protest what were already seen as pressing threats to the environment and the resulting threat to human health and wellbeing (learn more about that here). While mass awareness and action is crucial, at SOLE and ReCORK we believe in the power of many small actions to make a big impact. That's why we encourage you to consider our planet and climate every day, by taking some simple steps, and forming good habits to live a lighter life with less of an impact. Here are some helpful hints.
Don't be afraid to do the right thing.
This may seem a strange place to start, but social pressure and expectations of 'normal' or 'easy-going' behavior so often influence the choices we make. 'Going with the flow' often means accepting the way that our society has come to do things for the sake of convenience, at the expense of our environment. If we continue to do so, as scientists the world over are warning, we're staring down the barrel of climate catastrophe. Remind yourself that your choices matter, and making the right choice is important, whether your too-cool-to-care family and friends think so or not.
Carry a backpack. Everywhere.
Didn't see that coming? Neither did we to be honest. But when we thought carefully about this, having a backpack on our backs was a common theme to making more sustainable choices. Much of the waste we generate comes from things used for practicality and convenience. Many of those functions can be filled again and again by a handful of quality products used countless times. In order to use those quality products, though, you have to have them with you. Pop them in a backpack alongside other things you consider essential (sunglasses, painkillers and sunscreen in our case, but whatever floats your boat) and never be unprepared again.
Use your bottle a few times and soon enough you'll start to feel separation anxiety when you leave the house without it.
Say no to needless plastic.
You don't need to double bag those groceries. That plastic packet will be on the earth for eternity, it'll definitely make it across the parking lot without breaking. Even better, ditch the plastic altogether. Like so many things, taking re-usable bags to the grocery store is a matter of habit. Do it once, and next time it'll feel more natural. Do it a third and fourth time, and before you know it you'll be looking at other people at the cashier wondering if they've even heard of plastic pollution. Of course, carry a backpack and you'll always have a reusable bag by default.
Carry a reusable water bottle.
This is so easy to do. Buy a reusable bottle from the likes of REI or MEC and never buy a throw-away bottle of water again. There are added benefits to this too: because you've usually got water with you, you'll find it easier to drink more water and feel less temptation to spend money on unhealthy drinks. Again, this is a matter of habit, use your bottle a few times and soon enough you'll start to feel separation anxiety when you leave the house without it. But how do you carry it around? Yup, backpack.
Carry a reusable straw.
Fact: some things are just better through a straw. Double thick milkshakes, smoothies, frozen margaritas. Also fact: this doesn't mean you have to drink through plastic. Check out products like FinalStraw for a reusable option that'll slide right into your backpack, or SimplyStraws for light and convenient packages that include cutlery so you don't need plastic knives and forks either.
One tupperware to rule them all.
Invest in one reusable container that works well, with a lid that seals tight so it won't spill in your backpack, and get into the habit of washing it every day. That way you avoid buying endless plastic containers with disappearing lids, and you always have a way to store leftovers (wait, you're not taking your backpack to restaurants? Perhaps you need to revisit suggestion 1).
Recycle, especially your natural corks.
Recycling should be part of your everyday life, but you can make a difference by thinking about it slightly more proactively. Actively look for products in recyclable packaging, rather than treating recycling as an afterthought. If you buy wine, choose brands that use natural cork stoppers by checking out our CORKwatch database. Natural cork is an incredibly sustainable material, and the more we use it, the better it is for our planet (find out more about the wonders of cork here). When you've popped those bottles, recycle your corks by finding your nearest ReCORK drop-off location.
Eat less meat.
We're not here to preach veganism. But we're also not going to shy away from saying it like it is. Research has shown that cutting meat and dairy from your diet is the single most effective change you can make to curb your environmental impact. Like all things, you can start slow: find a vegetarian meal you love, eat it twice a week and build from there. Remember that texture often has as much to do with what you enjoy as taste. It's not all salads and mushroom burgers. With the right spices and sauce lentils can be just as hearty and tasty as beef bolognese.
Follow your nose.
Americans waste 150,000 tons of food every day while Canadians waste an average of $1700 worth of food per household a year, totaling a staggering 2.38 million tons. Think of 'best before' dates like music recommendations. The Red Hot Chili Peppers may have peaked in the late 90's, but listening to their newest album isn't going to kill you. In the same way, that hummus in your fridge from last week may have been 'best' before April 18, but it probably won't do you any harm. Take the lid off and give it a sniff. If it smells fine, and then tastes fine, it probably is fine. Of course, extra caution should be exercised with dairy, meat and fish.
Ride/walk to work.
We've yet to meet someone who loves sitting in traffic. Stop taking that end-of-a-long-day frustration out on your steering wheel. Pump it into pedals or pace it out step by step. Starting and ending your day with a bit of exercise is great for working off the cobwebs from the night before, processing your personal stress before the work day begins and processing your work stress before you get home to your family. Again, this is all about the habit. You may find it tiring to begin with, but it'll be as good for your body as it is for the earth, and before long it'll be your favorite part of every day.
Learn to sew.
The apparel industry is the 4th largest polluter of air and water on Earth. Ever chucked out a blouse because you lost a crucial button? Done away with pants because of a minor tear? Learning a simple skill like sewing can equip you to repair rather than replace, and can reduce your consumption of products that have a profound environmental impact.
Support sustainable brands.
The online shopping revolution means that for the first time ever consumers have all the available information on their different options, just a click away (e.g. check out this article highlighting 40+ sustainable clothing brands) . Sustainability is increasingly important to consumers, as it should be, and you can bet that most brands will be shouting their credentials loud and clear. Some brands focus on their production process, and material choices, while others promise eco-friendly initiatives tied to each purchase (like our friends at United By Blue who clean up a pound of trash for every item sold). Whatever you're in the market for, take a little longer, click around, and let sustainability be a factor in your decision making.
Whatever you're in the market for, take a little longer, click around, and let sustainability be a factor in your decision making.
Wear more, wash less and waste less with Polygiene.
Consumers are responsible for 2/3 of a their clothes' environmental impact thanks to washing, drying and ironing. You can minimize this impact by choosing clothes treated with Polygiene Stay Fresh Technology which prevents the growth of odor-causing bacteria, so you can wear clothes repeatedly before you put them through an energy and water sapping wash and dry cycle. All SOLE products are Polygiene-treated to ensure you never have to throw them out because of stink, so you can waste less, even if you're not washing at all.
Be water wise.
Water is our most valuable resource, and one of the most devastating effects of climate change is desertification. Don't let taps run needlessly. Shower with a buddy. Fix that leaky toilet.