5 Ways to Live More Sustainably or How to Look Better, Feel Better and Have More Money!
You can read the presentation text or watch the video, either way you'll find 5 ways to live more sustainably and in the process you'll look better, feel better and have more money! Live presentation available by contacting Linda Fritz at 859-630-2694 or linda AT sunsugarfarms.com
Sustainable Living Ideas
1 Welcome to Sustainable Living Ideas Or better known as: how to look better, feel better and have more money… Oh yeah and help environment! It's true! You can do all these things - look better, feel better, have more money and help the environment just by living a more sustainable lifestyle. In the next few minutes I'll give you 5 ways on how to do just that!
2 There are many ways to define “sustainable” like …. but when it comes to living here on earth the bottom line is this: create less waste. It means having a zero waste goal - like some CRAZY people have achieved - where all the waste they create in a year, can fit in a container like this. It means leaving a positive impact on the earth, instead of just taking and trashing, you’re taking and giving back.
3 Does it mean you're going to start raising your own chickens to reduce your carbon footprint?
4 Or that you'll be trading in your throws-away-everything-including-your-childhood-dreams husband for a hippier model who saves water by barely bathing? Well, maybe not right away! It IS a journey.
5 But is it a journey worth going on, trying to be "sustainable?" Is there really an issue with how much we throw away? Lets take a look at how much trash there is. I believe Kentucky we have a problem. This is the tons of trash each state has in landfills, in tons per person per state. Red is bad. Kentucky is a pretty dark shade of pink. That to me would qualify as bad! This total amount averages to about 4.4 pounds of trash per person per day and that looks like this! Recognize anything you've thrown away lately? HMMMM??? This is actually stuff I would have thrown away but got to use it as a prop! And unfortunately most of this isn't even recyclable.
6 So what happens to what we throw away? (and by the way there is no AWAY, its all going somewhere). As of the most recent statistics we are doing something with it like recycling and some cities are burning their trash and turning it into energy. But the rest? We’re burying it in a landfill forever.
7 And just what things are we throwing into those landfills? Nondurable goods like paper and clothing along with durable goods like appliances and machinery together make up about a third, food waste and yard trimmings - that would make great compost - are another 1/3 and the final 1/3 of what we're throwing into landfills is just the containers and packaging that's used to get the product we want actually want.
8 For example: We want a beverage but for some reason when we go out we don't take our own cup, we gotta have a new disposable cup and something we usually never use at home, a straw. So what’s the big deal? This is 57 straws many of which many were the straws I got in my drink even AFTER I requested NO STRAW. Now picture 100 of these. That's how many straws we in America throw away in ONE SECOND each and every day for a total of 500 MILLION STRAWS per day. This is crazy when you consider it that it was made from a nonrenewable FINITE fossil fuel that we use for 10 minutes that won’t biodegrade for 200 years! And when it comes to plastic grocery bags, it gets even worse: have you ever noticed that even though you try to return them it seems like they multiply like rabbits under your sink? That's because one shopper in one year gets this many. 500! Thats right, that bag monster, with each of its bags made out of finite fossil fuels, represents the 500 plastic bags one shopper gets each year. And because of how light these bags are, many end up in rivers and oceans where they end up being part of the food we eat.
9 So what can we do? How can we live a more sustainable life style and create LESS of all this? Ain't gonna lie, it won't be easy at first – change never is - because change involves re-thinking. And thinking is hard. I hate thinking. I want things easy. And I want to just do stuff WITHOUT thinking. But if you want to look better, feel better, have more money AND help the environment, let's dig in! To live more sustainably here's the secret:
10 Think before you throw, if you can't recycle, reduce, reuse, repurpose or return it to the earth then just say NO to buying it in the first place. And don't worry I'll give you a great way to remember all this at the end. So let's take a look at the first one of these 5 ways to live more sustainably: recycling.
11 1. RECYCLE Recycling is good but sometimes confusing. For instance, paperboard egg cartons CAN be recycled but styrofoam egg cartons (like almost everything else styrofoam) CANNOT be recycled.
12 And just because a plastic product has the arrows around a number that just indicates what plastic it is, it doesn't mean that there's a buyer who wants to pay for it to be recycled. Generally a rule of thumb for plastic is if it has a spout - don't throw it out but recycle. That’s why we recycle 1s and 2s (water bottles and milk jugs) but throw away everything else. Confusing? Let's watch this quick video about recycling that’s similar to what Kenton County accepts at its big blue bins.
13 Did anything surprise you? Here's another thing that might surprise you that cannot be recycled: reusable bags. Why? Because most are made of a nonwoven polypropylene that's pressed to look like a fabric but its a plastic no one wants. You're actually better off using plastic bags because you can at least return them. How do I know this is a problem? Because buried deep on my website is the fact that my company will repurpose reusable bags into pet rugs and I get a ton of them sent to me from all over the country from people who feel guilty throwing them away. Plus there’s an online survey about how much baggers hate them (and therefore hate YOU) since most reusable bags are flimsy, all different sizes and some are not even EVER washed.
14 Also keep in mind recycling does take energy to collect, breakdown and repackage and you can almost hear the pitter patter of little carbon footprints as its ship it all over the place to be recycled. And for recycling to succeed it does need to be easy. It's great that one of the Kenton County recycling bins is located near the li brary. But you can make both business and personal recycling easier by having a smaller bin near your inside trash cans that is clearly marked with what is accepted. We keep a CRESBI crate right beside the trash at home so we don't have to run each piece of paper to the Remke recycling bin that's in the garage. A great goal for any of you overachievers is to see if you can put more in your recycle bin than you put in the trash can.
15 2. REDUCE Next idea for sustainable living is to reduce. This action involves cutting down on the amount you purchase, are given or consume. The big tip here is to buy in bulk. Buying in bulk not only helps you reduce the amount of packaging that you are no longer responsible for, it will also save you money since buying in bulk is usually cheaper. For example, our 3 and 7 oz gourmet granola comes in a recyclable container (which is good) but you should keep it & refill it from our 1# bag.
16 You can also reduce your incoming potential trash by refusing the packaging. Remember the straw? The other additional benefits of not using a straw is that you're not gonna create those attractive fine lines around your mouth like a cigarette smokers has - see, you were looking better already. And if you reduce the amount of things you buy because it comes in packaging that cannot be recycled, there are even more benefits!
17 Most packaged food has a lot of sugar and salt in it and other super chemical preservatives. And yeah, I LOVE sugar and salt. But if I don't buy the candy bar because of the packaging (or my beloved Nutty BUTT bars), I won't eat the candy bar. And that truthfully will make me feel better and hopefully look better. And since I have to eat something, maybe I'll buy more bananas or "greens". Ew. Did I mention my love of sugar is only surpassed by my hatred for vegetables???
18 And finally, as far as food goes, most meat comes in cellophane and styrofoam, and if it was produced by big agriculture (which if its cheap, it was) it probably caused an enormous amount of pain, pollution and energy usage to get it to you. Avoid it if you can. Buying local meat and dairy will save on the travel time it takes to get to you and will give you more sustainably and ethically produced products, but buying less meat in general will save you money and again lead you to eat more vegetables. Although in my world, brussel sprouts will never replace bacon. As I mentioned, its a journey.
19 Reducing and refusing can also apply to the energy you consume and reduce your dependence on big energy sources. Instead of taking the elevator, take the stairs. Instead of watching TV, read a book. Instead of washing the car, drive it around in the rain with a bucket of soap to throw on it at red lights. Just kidding, although that might work...actually if you do boil vegetables or pasta don't add salt to the water so you can use the water after it cools to give your plants a boost. And these days there are many excellent solar products for work and home, on our farm we use a solar electric charger for our electric fence to keep the deer out of the edamame because its like crack cocaine to them. Now we just need a higher fence. So we have recycle, reduce and our 3rd action idea for sustainable living is:
20 3. REUSE REUSE. And this is a big one - the possibilities are endless since there are so many great products already out there. And for me, its what got me here hopefully entertaining you. I had started growing edamame because I had FINALLY found a vegetable that I really liked. And because I just didn't feel right putting chemicals in and around the plants, I was using paper grocery bags for weed control. At the same time that stores started pushing plastic instead of paper bags, I'd bought some small industrial bins to carry the edamame to the markets I was selling to. And it occurred to me, why don't we shop with BINS instead of BAGS?
21 After fruitlessly searching for an American manufacturer I found some lightweight collapsible crates overseas, replaced the plastic handles with a strong USA made strap and came up with this: CRESBI
22 My patented CRESBI crates also include thermal protection and I've designed systems to replace all your bags no matter how full you fill a cart. They are a #5 polypropylene plastic which means they will last forever. But if you do happen to run over one with the tractor – true story – there is a company in Indiana that can turn them in park benches.
23 Not only can you carry your groceries but also your garden produce and items for picnics, potlucks, and parties. They are stackable, collapsible, and dishwasher safe. You can carry them over your shoulder or pop them open like a basket and you never have to use the never washed stores convenience basket again. You can save time by putting your product barcodes up in them and ask the checkers to scan your products right in the crates with their hand held scanners. They'll love you because you're increasing their scans per minute, which is how they judged.
24 There are also a lot of great reusable accessories to go with your CRESBI's. The CRESBI on Wheels can carry up to 4 standard size crates stacked in it, the Mega is great for wholesale stores and there’s even a mini with optional insert to hold your wine bottles upright.
25 To get rid of Styrofoam to go boxes that can't be recycled I became a distributor of these eco-takeouts. These are also dishwasher and microwave safe. Plus they won't leak and they're really cool for going out because when the waiter asks if you want a to go box you can say "I brought my own".
26 Bunch Bags produce bags will hold a bunch of fruits or vegetables & you can rinse your produce right in the bag. A reusable titanium Spork lets you avoid plastic utensils during business potlucks and they're great to have in your car for fast food drive throughs. I eliminated disposable cups by carrying reusable ones (which also save me money since sometimes gas stations may not even charge you if you have your own cup). I have eliminated saran wrap with this reusable microwave cover and a reusable coffee filter beats a disposable one many times over.
27 I love that paper towels can be composted but with over a dozen employees in the summer picking edamame and sun sugar cherry tomatoes we can go through a lot of paper towels. Instead when the employees wash their hands there is a stack of small rags and washcloths that they can use to dry and then pitch into the laundry crate. And please! Avoid fast fashion! I’m all for capitalism but do we really need new clothes every time the season changes? Especially at the cost of some poor third world woman’s life? Or 1100 of their lives? Give a thrift store a try or do a clothes swap, you’ll save money and start your own fashion trend.
28 So we have recycle, reduce, reuse and the fourth action is 4. REPURPOSE Repurpose. And there are many many items that have the potential for other purposes. One of the objections I get when I show people how they can use bins instead of bags is that the people say they need the plastic bags because they use them for trash liners or cleaning up after their pets. Well first of all, no one is generating that much trash that they need to keep all the 500 plastic bags that they are getting each year unless they're changing their trash like every 18 hours. And is your trash that gross that you can't reuse a bag over and over? OK that's gross. And secondly, pets aren't picky about how you pick up their poop! You can use bread bags, bagel bags, cracker bags, all the bags you'd normally throw away - just start saving in a big bag of bags. You'll be surprised at how many you end up with.
29 With the things you don't want to give up, be crafty. Turn chip bags and candy bar wrappers into purses and placemats.
30 Turn peanut cans into flowerpots and old records make a cool candy or makeup dish.
31 Old clothing and fabric scraps make a memorable pillow. Fronts of Christmas cards can become gift tags and stupid yogurt and butter cups- remember they cannot be recycled – can become a contemporary looking lamp. To really be competitive about re-purposing, start a craft club at the library and each week work on something different that can't be recycled. Make it competitive by having a sustainability fashion show or a contest for designing the most creative repurposed item with a product that would normally be thrown away. I've got some cresbi crates w/little defects that I can sell you at cost so that everyone who signs up gets a discounted crate to save their raw materials in. 5. RETURN TO THE EARTH/COMPOST
32 And finally a fifth r/earth word is RETURN as in return it to the earth by composting. Remember where 1/3 of what’s in a landfill was Food waste and yard trimmings! That's EARTH GOLD PEOPLE! Starting a compost pile, bin, tub or hole in your back yard can save that portion that's going to landFILLS which you can then use for your landSCAPING.
33 Not sure how to compost? If you've got a week to kill venture onto Pinterest or YouTube. There are a ton of ideas there. And usually since you want to take that organic matter away from your house - that's a little exercise. Not sure who could use your compost or no space for a garden? Perhaps the library could create a learning library garden and then host a potluck for patrons? Composting will also get you thinking about what you are throwing away, about buying less food that will go bad and if you can you keep what you've already bought longer. This handout from Hamilton County gives you information on preventing food waste and you're welcome to take one if want.
34 While you can recycle newspapers you can also reuse them as a way to keep weeds down in your garden and at the end of the season they biodegrade back into the soil. Since I grow over a ton of organic produce for my fields, I use bigger cardboard for weed control and cover with straw. I pick up the cardboard at businesses where they would normally throw it away. And if you ever go to Crossroads Church in Florence where I attend, I set up two trash bins on wheels for the coffee grounds to go in. Each week 40 gallons of coffee grounds are diverted from the landfill and picked up by me to use as a soil amendment on my fields and the church volunteers don't have to deal with the mess anymore. Also please be aware, not everything that says its biodegradable will break down in a backyard compost bin - and especially not in a landfill since most are sealed to prevent odors – the item may need to be composted at an industrial compost facility that unfortunately most cities lack.
35 So those are my five recommended actions to help you live more sustainably which in turn may help you look better, feel better, have more money and help the environment. For the next three weeks see if you can think before you throw something and if you can’t recycle, reduce, reuse, repurpose, or return it to the earth. If you can’t, then just say NO to buying it in the first place the next time. I challenge you even more for those 3 weeks to pick one thing that you're currently throwing away and do one of these actions with it. But that's a lot to think about and thinking is hard so to help you remember to think before you throw I've created this catchy and definitely embarrassing little ditty so please join me. Sort of like row row row your boat here's how it goes: Think before you throw! Think before you throw! if you can't recycle reduce reuse repurpose or return it to the earth in the form of compost then just say no - to buying it in the first place. Don't worry I won't make you sing it again. I've included references at the end of this presentation that I can email to you and if there any questions I'll be happy to answer them. Thank you very much and please: Think before you throw!
Forks over Knives Documentary
The True Cost
Before the Flood by Leonardo DiCaprio
Linear Stuff on a Circular Planet
Lauren Singer – Living a zero waste life
Sustainable the documentary movie
Cowspiracy Documentary – the Sustainability Secret
EPA Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling & Disposal Figures 2012
No Impact Man by Colin Beavan
Boone County Drop Off Recycling Program
Recycles bottle caps into park benches
Chasing Green website – slightly outdated but well organized
Recycle your #5s:
So what are you doing?
THINK before you THROW!