World Environment Day is celebrated every year as a way to engage governments, businesses, and citizens around our most urgent environmental issues. Observed on June 5, this holiday encourages all of us to consider how our behaviors impact the environment - and how adjusting our individual footprints can go a long way towards helping heal and restore our planet. Broader awareness about the realities of climate change has resulted in consumers expecting companies committed to sustainability to walk the talk. That’s why at Everyone, we understand that counting ourselves among many other companies that support the environment means being transparent with customers about our zero-waste initiatives.
For many of us, considering how companies can help the environment comes easy; figuring out accessible yet effective ways to make an individual difference may feel daunting. To provide some inspiration, we put together this list of 4 things you can do regularly to actively reduce your environmental impact:
1. Get To Know Your Local Recycling Program. Many of us are beginning to understand that despite our best intentions, some of the items we’ve gotten in the habit of putting in the recycling bin can’t actually be recycled - hence the term “wish-cycling”. Before you sort, research the local recycling guidelines in your area and check back often so you’re always up to speed to ensure you’re recycling as much material as you can.
2. Stay Mindful About Plastic. We’re learning that much of what we thought we knew about recycling isn’t actually true. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), just 9% of all plastic waste ever produced has been recycled, 12% has been incinerated, and the remaining 79% has wound up in landfills, dumps, or the natural environment. As disheartening as this may feel, researching your local recycling rules will shed more light on which plastics can be recycled. And simply having this clarity can help empower you to make different decisions on everything from the brands you support to which packaged goods you purchase going forward.
3. Avoid Single-Use: Single-use plastics like water bottles, straws, shopping bags, drink lids and food wrappers are usually tossed within minutes of being used, contributing to the 8 million tonnes of plastic that wind up in our oceans every year. When half of all plastic produced is reportedly designed to be used only once then thrown away, it’s time to change our behaviors. Using metal or silicone instead of plastic straws, and taking reusable cloth bags with you to the grocery store are two easy ways to start eliminating single-use plastics from your life.
4. Eat More Plants: According to Greenpeace, raising pigs, chicken, and cows “generates as much greenhouse gas emissions as all cars, trucks and automobiles combined.” That’s on top of massive deforestation caused by cattle ranching, which is reportedly responsible for 3.4% of current global emissions. Cutting back meat and dairy a few meals a week and eating more of a plant-based diet not only helps reduce your carbon footprint - it’s healthier for you.
World Environment Day reminds us that we all have a part to play when it comes to healing our planet. Mark the occasion by committing to make small changes every day - they will make a difference.