Based in Lake County, Illinois, Heidi Cardenas has been freelancing since 2000. She studied business administration at the College of Lake County and has a background in human resources administration. She has written for "Chicago Parent Magazine" and guest blogs for The Herb Companion, Natural Living and TribLocal. She enjoys writing on a wide range of topics, but especially gardening, natural living, and home and family eco topics, and she helps you get your green on at HCGreenery.blogspot.com.
1. Get Rid of the Plastic in Your Home
If you only use glass and stainless steel in your home, congratulations! I am impressed, and I want to be just like you. If you are like most of us though, you have a mixture of glass, metal and plastic, plastic, plastic. Why? Because it’s cheap, it’s available and it’s convenient. But is it the best thing for you and your family, not to mention the rest of the planet? Do you really want chemicals leaching into your food and beverages? Do you want to keep contributing to plastic pollution that does not biodegrade, ever? If not, go through your home and take an inventory of all the plastic items you have, especially the items that hold and dispense food. Go cold turkey and remove them all. Put them all in a large cardboard box or aluminum trash can (or two or three if needed) and take them to the nearest plastic recycler. Then start fresh with ceramic coffee mugs, glass food storage containers, stainless steel water bottles, and reusable lunch and grocery bags.
2. Stop Buying Plastic
Make a paradigm change in your life and lifestyle today and stop buying plastic. Think of all the plastic that goes through your hands and your home each week and vow to stop or at least interrupt that flow, for your family and for the planet. Invest only in products that do not pollute the planet and that will biodegrade when discarded. Do not invest in plastics. Make your dollar work harder for you to green your life.
3. Refuse Plastic when You Shop
Refuse is the fourth "R" in the sustainable living cycle, along with reduce, reuse and recycle. Plastic bags are an insidious presence in our world, with more than 80 billion used every year in the U.S. alone. Refuse to use it or accept it from retailers. Ask for paper or bring your own reusable cloth shopping bags when you shop for groceries. Ask your waitress to wrap your leftovers in tinfoil or paper instead of putting them in a Styrofoam container. Buy in bulk quantities whenever possible, filling reusable or paper containers that biodegrade in the environment.
Try these three easy ways to eliminate plastics from your home, and if you want to take it to the next level, commit to reducing or eliminating plastic in your life. Learn the facts about plastic pollution in our environment and teach your family, friends and neighbors about it. Get involved in plastic pollution solutions locally by learning your town’s recycling policies and options and asking for more environmentally friendly and responsible options. Join or contribute to the Plastic Pollution Coalition. Join the conversation about plastic pollution and tweet about it. Ask your legislators why they aren’t doing more about plastic recycling and pollution solutions in your state. Get active about plastic in your life and your world today, for yourself and your future. Every piece of plastic you don’t use today won’t go into the ocean, won’t sit somewhere for hundreds of years leaching chemicals, and won’t endanger and kill wildlife.