We think a lot about what we put into our bodies, and often less about what we waste. However, both are important for our future health, as excess garbage affects our water, our oxygen, and our future long-term health goals.
Since 2005, Canadians have reduced the amount of residential waste and increased the amount of residential recycling, according to Stats Canada. However, we can still improve with these ideas for keeping the garbage out of your body and your home:
1) Use what you have. If you have a wilted carrot, use it to grate into muffins. If you have a good supply of oatmeal, don’t rush to the store to buy granola bars. Make your own with what is in your cupboard. Refrigerate flour and freeze butter and cheese if you don’t believe you’ll be able to consume what you have in a reasonable time period.
2) Lunch totes. Even if you don’t have time to bring your own lunch, bring recyclable containers to your favourite takeout place so that you don’t add to landfills with plastic cutlery and paper plates. If you do bring your lunch, minimize waste by putting sandwiches in containers rather than saran wrap or Ziploc bags.
3) Eyes on the green prize. When it is a major holiday or birthday, try to continue to keep your eye on the green prize. Most wrapping paper is not recyclable. Try wrapping in new festive dishtowels or using paper you already have. It’ll look very eco chic.
4) Sort the waste. If it’s wet garbage, make sure it is composted and left outside – if left inside for too long it may affect the air quality of your home. If it’s recyclable, give it the chance for a second life. If recyclables are put in the garbage, they can potentially contaminate soil. Garbage is often burned, which increases our greenhouse gases, which puts a whole new spin on “waste not, want not.”
The more packaging a food product has, often the worse it is for your body. It’s good to think about the environment as being a natural extension of you and your healthy lifestyle.
Your waistline and conscience will thank you.