By Ivy Ciolli
The Holiday Season
The holiday season is upon us! It is time to reflect and renew our commitments to Mother Earth. We gather with our loved ones to enjoy great feasts. But while many think about filling their tummies and leftovers, I think of non-decomposing to-go containers filling our landfills! The best way to reduce our waste is by forgoing disposable products and BYOC (Bring Your Own Containers). Yes, come equipped with your own reusable containers, insulated mugs and straws to be the change you want to see in others.
My hope is that this will become just as customary as bringing your reusable bags to the grocery store. It’s almost embarrassing if we forget our reusable bags at the farmers market or grocery store these days. I stuff my purse and arms before I answer the question, paper or plastic ma’am? That’s a no-no in my moral green code! And BYOBottle (of course) to your favorite juice or coffee bar along with your metal, glass or non-BPA plastic straw. My green heart beams when I ditch the need to pitch a cup.
My favorite non-toxic reusable product line is U-Konserve. My home is full of a variety of their containers, which we use for the kids’ lunches and to store food on the go.
The company even added an insulated Tumbler line to its repertoire—so parents, stock up for the holidays to share a cuppa Joe or some wine with your girlfriends! My favorite is the Waste-free cocktail kit. What a great holiday gift idea or gift for yourself! Their products can be found online and in stores such as Whole Foods. Check out www.ukonserve.com for all their eco products.
Statistics from U-Konserve
According to U-Konserve, here are some staggering statistics to feast on at the dinner table this holiday:
- 50% of the plastic used in the U.S. is used just once, then thrown away.
- Americans discard more than 30 million tons of plastic a year, and only 8% gets recycled. The rest piles up in landfills, is incinerated, or becomes litter.
- There are over five trillion pieces of plastic, weighing more than 250,000 tons, floating in our oceans. That’s more than 700 pieces of plastic per person.
- Scientists have collected up to 750,000 bits of microplastic in one square kilometer of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, about 1.9 million bits per square mile. Most comes from plastic bags, bottle caps, plastic water bottles, and Styrofoam cups.
- On average, a school-age child using a disposable lunch generates 67 pounds of lunch waste per school year (40,000 pounds of lunch waste per middle school).
- Packaging accounts for 32% of all household waste in the U.S.
- Americans discard 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour.
- 40 billion plastic utensils are used every year in the U.S.
- Americans use 500 million plastic straws every day, which could fill over 127 school buses every day, or more than 46,400 school buses every year.
- 120 billion single-use cups are used by Americans every year. Placed end to end, they could circle the equator 333 times!
- Every year Americans throw away 100 billion plastic bags.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
So this New Year, join my earth-friendly pledge of the 3Rs… reduce, reuse, and recycle. The BYOEverything is a resolution we can all achieve! Forgo the to-go container from a restaurant, keep your reusable cup in your car for those frequent coffee stops and invest in some reusable, sustainable products. If I conserve, you conserve, and we encourage others to conserve, imagine how drastically we could change the statistics above.
Photos courtesy Konserve
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Ivy Ciolli is a native of Arizona born with the innate desire to protect Mother Earth. She is a wife and proud mother of Cole and Brooklyn. Her days are filled with volunteering at her children’s school, and philanthropic work involving abused and neglected children and animals.