We’ve all been hearing about «going green» for a while now! Now more than ever, holding an awareness and approach of our consumption (changing certain entrenched behaviors and better informing ourselves about the origin of the products) plays a vital role in the preservation of our precious planet.
So how can we ensure that we take meaningful action? We need to encourage traders to responsibly offer sustainable products and services. It's easy to get lost with all this “green washing”. In fact, companies target their marketing efforts in this direction, so you have to know your way around!
Here are 10 possible eco-responsible actions to integrate into your daily life that can make a difference. One step at a time, big or small, each of us can do our part to preserve the environment.
1-Buy less & extend the lifespan of your goods
As we all know, it’s easy to fall into the sales trap, especially when shopping online. Try to think twice before making impulse purchases and ask yourself, “is this really necessary?” Did you know the fashion industry (especially the big chain brands) is one of the most polluting? Try taking care of your clothes, pull out your sewing skills, and use a mild organic, fragrance-free laundry soap (in small doses). Should you find that you’re not wearing a few pieces for a long time, don’t hesitate to donate them to organizations, such as:
Le Support (from the Quebec Intellectual Disability Society)
Browse “social shopping” apps like:
2-Reduce your meat consumption
The ecological footprint left by commercial meat production is considerable (destruction of forest such as the Amazon, creation of methane gas produced by livestock is damaging the ozone, etc..) It is therefore advisable to reduce your meat consumption. Try varying your sources of protein. Plant foods with an amazing source of protein include legumes (chick or green peas and edamame), lentils, tofu, beans, nuts, seeds (pumpkin), Others ideas? Quinoa, raisins, kale, potatoes, broccoli, asparagus, and spinach. Avocado is also a good source of protein, but unfortunately its production is very damaging to the environment (sorry guacamole lovers!). When you do buy meat, try to shop locally and support a nearby organic producer near you.
3-Eliminate the use of single-use plastic and over packaging
Zero waste shops are almost everywhere nowadays; you can buy almost anything to put directly into your own Mason jars or any other resealable glass jar you might have. In addition, it’s a trendy look in your kitchen! We must continue to limit, or even ban, the use of plastic bags and packaging. Forget disposable wipes; opt for reusable cloths instead! You’ll find that it is effortless to replace some single-use items with reusable alternatives.
Here are some examples of greener items to inspire you. Some you can easily make yourself (in addition to the metal razors and cloth napkins you probably already use):
Fabric cleansing pads, bamboo toothbrush, Diva cup, cure tips, organic cotton handkerchiefs, pumice stone, nursing pads, washable diapers, reusable baking sheet, dryer balls, fabric nut bags, compost pouches, beeswax reusable food wraps, metal tea infusers, and reusable coffee pods.
Omaiki: In 2007, the Omaïki company was created to offer a range of washable and zero waste products for the young and old. We especially like the feminine hygiene pads from the Lotus collection and the waterproof snack bags.
In the backpack: Reusable plastic dishes (for take-out meals), reusable bamboo utensils, metal straws, fabric grocery bags, fabric fruit and vegetable bags, water bottles, and coffee/tea cups.
Éco & Éco: A Montreal-based family business that favors ecological alternatives to conventional products, their offerings include body care (makeup remover wipes and handkerchiefs), household cleaning products, and locally knitted bedding made of textile certified organic by Quebec Vrai AT 10,006. Try their very popular flat loofah, which is even dishwasher and washing machine safe.
4-Make your own beauty and cleaning products for the home
In addition to reducing your ecological footprint, creating your own products is very on trend these days- everything from toothpaste to body soap. Believe me: it’s not rocket science! For most all-purpose cleansing “potions”, you only need the following ingredients: baking soda, white vinegar, and Castile’s or glycerin soap. You could even leave orange peels to soak in 2/3 vinegar and 1/3 water for 2-3 weeks.
Tip: Reuse airtight metal tea containers or any other you might have to store homemade lip balm solution.
Tip: Don't throw away your old and unused vaporizers either. They’re ideal for cleaning windows and mirrors. Mix 50 ml of vinegar, 50 ml of rubbing alcohol, 1 tsp of cornstarch, 400 ml of water, and a few drops of essential oil.
*But if you are short on time, it is better to opt for buying eco-friendly cleaning products look for the EcoLogo, Écocert, or Green Seal logos.
5-Barter & reuse
Have you ever attended a clothing swap party? It’s a nice way to mix shopping with socializing. Bartering with friends, neighbors or family is fun, and reduces your consumption. We are also now talking about collaborative consumption, the sharing economy that has the potential to transform the way we design products and services. In other words, it's about using rather than owning. This philosophy is not reserved for the less fortunate, but rather for anyone wishing to reduce their environmental footprint and moving away from the antiquated values of a consumer society. Ideas: share your garden with budding gardeners, living space (there are many home exchange sites), or even your car. Why not participate in an exchange of services and skills by joining any one of the numerous existing networks made accessible?
Reusing is the preferred route after reduction! By giving your things a second or third life, you significantly reduce your environmental impact and help preserve natural resources reducing the production of new goods. Also, you can really find almost everything you need in thrift stores and auctions. Why not decorate your nest with pre-loved furniture? You’ll save a small fortune, and achieve a vintage décor scheme that is uniquely yours!
Tip: Clean small glass jars with hot water to melt the ends of candle wax again. Nothing is lost!
6-Make its own vegetable garden & compost
Not only to support yourself, gardening your own space also allows you to reduce waste. Take control of the food you eat and say “goodbye” to veggies in plastic containers. By gardening in a sustainable way (without pesticides) and composting (most of your waste should be compostable and not recyclable), beyond your civic involvement, you are helping to transform perceptions of what nature should be.
To know more:https://m.espacepourlavie.ca/blogue/5-raisons-pour-jardiner-de-facon-ecoresponsable-en-2018
7-Fight against food waste
Although food waste generates major environmental, social, and economic issues, it occurs mainly in households (21%). It’s therefore everyone's responsibility to reduce residual materials. We know, life goes faster and faster, and it’s easy to overbuy! Easy solution: plan your meals! The trick is to check what’s in your fridge before you go to the grocery store, and avoid purchasing what you don’t need. Buy in smaller quantities, cook more often, grow your own ingredients, buy products with less packaging, and maximize your "zero waste" purchases.
Community fridges: If you want to share food you think you won’t use, or give simply as an act of generosity, check out: https://sauvetabouffe.org/boite-a-outils/repertoire-des-frigos-communautaires-du-quebec/
To know more:
Chic Frigo Sans Fric: Promotes zero food waste (ZG) cooking by offering healthy, practical, and economical solutions so that everyone can develop their creativity in the kitchen.
8-Walk & pedal
Depending on the type of travel, try to vary your modes of transport. You will emit much less greenhouse gases by choosing your running shoes or your bike over a car. You’ll get a good breath of fresh air too. Also, riding the bus, metro, or carpooling are good options, and a lot less stressful than getting stuck in traffic! And what about taking the train? It almost feels like you are going on a trip! Of course, it’s easier if you live in a city.
Calculate your carbon footprint and offset it by encouraging green projects. In Quebec, the following organizations are the references to follow:
Protégez-vous magazine devoted their May 2020 edition on the truth about "carbon credits" and how to reduce your GHG emissions. It's currently available for free.
9-Eat better & buy local
If you decide to spoil yourself, treat yourself. For example, go for pieces with a timeless style and avoid the fast fashion, which is the quick turnover of ready-to-wear due to the ephemeral nature of trends. Also opt for sustainable quality, and you will never regret it. Be aware that some electronic products, for example, seem to be programmed to stop working after only a relative short period of time. We can’t say it often enough: buy local! You will undoubtedly contribute to the small business economy in your part of the world! Also, you will reduce greenhouse gases linked to the transport of goods, which is often overpackaged! Remember, goods might have to come to you from the four corners of the globe. Pay particular attention to buying local eco-responsible brands (encouraging compliance with socio-environmental standards). If your wallet doesn’t stretch so that far, try to refrain from getting clothes made of acrylic, nylon, or polyester, for which the production is very polluting.
Bkind: A Montreal brand of care products founded on self-awareness and respect for everything around us, 2% of their income is donated to an animal protection organization. We really like the shampoo/conditioner duo bar as well as their natural toothpaste in lozenges.
Children grow at the blink of an eye, and buying new garments for them can be an exhaustive cycle. Don't hesitate to take a look at the myriad of bazaars on Facebook. Otherwise, do you know evolutionary fashion? It is often made in Quebec by “mamantrepreneures”.
Why pay more?
10-Clean up your part of the country
Take part in citizen initiatives and collective actions to clean up the streets and shores. Not only will you feel like you are making a difference, but it can also strongly influence your daily lifestyle, and expand your supportive community.
Mission 100 tonnes: The founders of the mission, Lyne Morissette and Jimmy Vigneux, met in 2017, aboard the icebreaker Canada C3. It took them only 75 days to collect 10 tonnes of waste and therefore had to quickly switch to Mission 100 tonnes. Among other things, this initiative won the “Demain le Québec” grand prize awarded by the David Suzuki Foundation for the “greenest and most committed” project of 2019.
Also, don't forget that you can always reduce your electricity consumption as well.
All of these little things can be (easily) integrated into your daily routine. In the end, they will have a guaranteed impact, especially if thousands of people follow suit.
Written by Ariane Arpin-Delorme for Rose Buddha