How are those resolutions coming along? If you’re like most North Americans then you’re well on your way to forgetting what you even decided to change for yourself (only 8% of people who make resolutions keep them!). 53% of Americans who participated in a resolutions study cited earning more money as a top decision for 2018, with 45% sticking to the tried and true lose weight and get in-shape choice. 92% of those participants will fail. To be fair, those are lofty and many tiered goals. Losing weight requires changed eating habits, potentially changed sleeping habits, and investing in a new activity such as a gym membership or fitness classes. That’s a lot of change. It can be overwhelming! I’d like to present a very practical and very meaningful guide for positive change that’ll keep you going in 2018.
Go paperless! This is a step in the right direction for reducing waste and becoming a more aware and sustainable resolver. On average, households receive 69 lbs of junk mail each year. That’s just the junk mail! Go paperless in your billing. Have receipts, bills and statements emailed to you. 24 trees go into making a ton of uncoated, non-recycled printing paper (a pallet of #20 copier paper comprising of 40 cartons weighs a ton). More than 5 trees are cut down for every ton of coated, high-end, magazine-quality virgin paper. Low-end magazine quality paper claims 8 trees per ton. Let’s opt for digital magazines and audio books. The world consumption for paper has actually gone up 400% in the last 40 years! Can you believe it?! 4 billion trees (about 35%) are cut down every year. In terms of per person use, it’s around 749 lbs of paper per year. To go paperless in billing, statements takes 10-30 minutes, a one-time investment. Then rest easy, knowing a goal has been set, met, and closed.
Stop using bottled water! As of June 2017, humans are buying a million plastic bottles a minute. Only 9% of all plastic is being recycled. Most plastic ends up in the ocean, or a landfill (In China, there is almost no plastic in the landfill, because of the high price point per polyethylene terephthalate returned. Many people use that as their only income and collect all the plastics for recycling…Take note North America). It takes 400 years for plastic to decompose, but most can easily be recycled. Carrying around a stainless-steel bottle for personal consumption not only reduces the plastic waste, it also saves money – a win-win! The global impact of plastics is devastating to the environment, the health of wildlife, the planet and humans. At the rate we are heading, by 2050 the oceans will contain more plastic weight than fish! People who regularly eat seafood ingest up to 11,000 tiny pieces of plastic each year. This is a huge problem and it doesn’t appear to be decreasing. As citizens of this Earth we must take ownership and do what we can to mitigate (hopefully one-day even reverse) the plastics problem. Removing plastic bottles from your life in 2018 is a baby step, a desperately needed baby step.
At Sin 7 Salon, we use Aveda products, which come housed in Aveda packaging. More than 85% of the skin care and hair styling PET bottles and jars contain 100% post consumer recycled materials. When post consumer recycled (PCR) materials can’t be used, Aveda combines the PCR with bio-plastic (biopolethylene) derived from sugarcane bagasse, the fibrous by-product that remains after the stalks have been harvested for sugar. Sugarcane is renewable and sustainable. (Isn’t this incredible?!)
Speaking of water, let’s conserve it! In 60 days, Cape Town in South Africa will be the first major city to run out of water. This is a complicated issue, and I won’t pretend that washing our vehicles less will help to conserve water (although it’s estimated 50% of household use is water waste). We are lucky to live in such a wet and rainy part of the planet, but a gentle reminder to not take it for granted won’t hurt. This is a global problem that needs to be on everyone’s minds. Australia responded to its “millennium drought” from 1997-2009 by implementing measures that halved business and residential use, namely, putting a price on water and making it a trade-able commodity. In Israel, over 40% of agricultural water is supplied by recycling effluent water, including household sewage. Israel’s water treatment system recaptures 86% of water that goes down the drain, the next best performer being Spain, at 19%. Desalination doesn’t seem to be a great long-term solution, as the damage it causes to marine life and the cost of the environmental impact is too high. Rainwater capture is a better choice. In these times of drought to flood, back to drought again, capturing the flooding rain water would help off-set the runoff of flooding rains and bring water back into the ecosystem in a more sustainable way. Collecting rainwater for keeping lawns green, plants fed, and gardens alive is easy to do with a little research. Some places in BC even offer incentives for capturing and using rainwater. At the very least, being mindful of water consumption will have us all looking in the right direction for a solution to water waste.
Replace chemical cleaners with natural cleansers and scents with essential oils! Using chemical-free cleaners is better for our health and the environment. All those smelly laundry detergents being pumped into the water system or vented to the air outside affect hormones, vision development, allergies and sensitivities to name a few. Household items such as vinegar, salt, baking soda and lemons can be used to replace the harsh and often harmful store-bought cleaning products. Try going scent free on all your items, as most of the scents are synthetic and affect the biology of us and those around us. Again, Aveda is one the first beauty companies to fully embrace the chemical-free and systhetic, fragrance-free movement, and being such an inexpensive step, we could all head in the same direction to help promote a healthier and happier world.
Let’s break those statistics and resolve to be better, to ourselves, each other and the planet we call home.