Green Tips are meant to be super simple habits that we can change to minimize our impact on the environment around us. They’re so simple, that hopefully one can adopt them pretty darn easily.
Changing a small habit will roll into larger ones, because making small changes helps till the land of your mind to create an environment where you feel comfortable changing habits in the first place. Once it happens on a small scale, it will continue and trickle into other parts of your life.
You then begin to question – oh, could I do this with less of an environmental impact?
A rule of thumb is that anytime there’s a disposable item, see if there’s a way to recycle something or replace it with a re-useable item, so that you’re not adding to the waste.
1. Get a pen that has ink refills, rather than completely disposing of your pens when the ink runs out. You can check out the pen re-fills section in your office supply store to figure out which brands do this. There’s no reason to need to buy a whole new pen with whatever plastic is used for it, when you can just get the refill. This minimizes waste, and it’s cheaper too! All that it requires is that you don’t lose your pens 😉
2. If you’re going to one of those restaurants that has plastic cups for the water that you pour for yourself – don’t use the plastic cup. Bring your own re-useable cup from home, it could be a fun conversation starter. 😉 If you forget it, ask for a re-useable cup or mug when ordering, stating that you don’t want to waste the plastic. Then maybe over time the restaurant will change their practice.
3. Related, carry your own coffee mug with you… avoid using disposable coffee cups with their plastic lids.
4. Have a travel set of cutlery (e.g. a camping set) so that you avoid using disposable plastic cutlery.
5. Use re-useable grocery bags. I know, if you’re in Los Angeles like me, you probably already do. But for some reason most of the rest of the country hasn’t gotten on board. The easiest switch ever. Seriously, once it’s the norm, you don’t think twice about it. Don’t use plastic grocery bags, do bring your own re-useable bags.
6. Perhaps most importantly – Use your voice! Speak up, provide feedback to companies that use way too much dang plastic in their packaging. Use your voice to influence local and national policies. Voice your concerns and vote accordingly. You can influence policy in your community to make the default be a greener more mindful choice.
What does reducing plastic waste have to do with yoga? This is a practice of self-study to see how you can reduce waste in your life and observing how you react to this change. Because how you react to small changes may be quite paralleled to what you experience when trying to make bigger changes in your life. This self-study, svadhyaya, is one of the Niyamas, which one of the 8 limbs of yoga. Additionally, another yogic principle, aparigraha, is non-possessiveness or non-greediness – not taking more than you need. Waste is the byproduct of taking more than you need. So reducing waste is bringing yourself back into alignment with living by aparigraha. This is also a practice of ahimsa, or non-violence, as plastic’s life-cycle is long and can harm the environment and animals for decades to come. All are a practice in yoga, irregardless of whether you’re on the yoga mat.
Again, these little steps are aiding in a mindset shift, if I can live with less waste, why wouldn’t I?!
What are ways you have found to reduce waste? Comment below to let me know!