In order to provide enough food for billions of people, the industry has to constantly convert native lands into agricultural lands. Furthermore factories cost us a large amount of energy from fossil fuel, electricity to water… Specifically, based on Water Footprint Network data, a single steak costs 9,000 litres of water, over 3,600 litres for a glass of milk, over 2,500 litres to produce 500 grams of chicken meat and 1,800 litres to produce one single egg. Transporting food from factories to where it’s needed costs us fresh air and a damaged ozone layer that we still have no idea how to fix.
The most powerful step that we can take as individuals to halt climate change is to stop eating meat, eggs, and dairy products. We know that the idea of stopping eating animal products forever can be scary, so just start by reducing the quantity you eat and substitute with legumes, fresh vegetables and plant-based milk. This will improve your health and also the environment. One stone hits two birds, so why not give it a try?
Plan your meals and avoid takeaway packaging
Planning your weekly meals can help the environment. Sounds weird, right? The benefits mainly come from its “byproducts”. When you have a clear plan for every meal in advance, you get everything from the supermarket at once, reduce your traveling distance, use less gas and are less likely to have food left over (1/3 of the world’s food is wasted each year, producing methane, a gas 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide and responsible for global warming).
If you love to eat out, try not to order more than you can eat to avoid left overs. Also avoid food takeaway and home delivery services, the idea is to avoid using plastic and styrofoam boxes. It’s hard to find cheap, durable, light and easy-to-make materials like plastic; sadly plastics are extremely harmful to the environment as they do not biodegrade.
Carry your own reusable bottle, cutlery, containers and bags
Every year, 6 million tons of single-used plastics are thrown away. Most of them are in the form of plastic packaging, utensils, containers, shopping bags and clothes. Therefore, one of the best ways to reduce the amount of toxic waste such as plastics is to use reusable products made from recyclable materials, or biodegradable products.
A good example is metal. Metal is strong, durable, easy-to-clean and recyclable. From now on, bring your own stainless steel bottle, cutlery, food containers and straw (if you really think you need one!). Some other amazing options are made out of bamboo, wheat, coconut and sugar cane (bagasse) and are great alternatives to plastic.
Also, use the Refill your bottle app to find nearby locations where you can refill your water bottle for free or for a minimum fee; with a growing number of businesses offering this service, you will never have to buy plastic water bottles ever again!
As individuals, one of the best things we can do is to cycle instead as often as possible. Cycling is not only an eco-friendly mean of transportation but it also improves your health. Cycling protects your health in two ways: first, the main motor to move the vehicle is your body, secondly it is known as one of the best forms of exercise. Finally, bicycles release zero toxic gas into the air. Breathing fresh air is always good, isn’t it!
Recommended partner: Bike station
Buy products with real biodegradable packaging
Biodegradable packaging is a fantastic idea. It is made from renewable plant material that can decompose into natural elements under the action of microorganisms within a short period of time after disposal – typically a year or less.
It is hard to make sure all plastics are collected and recycled. Based on Treevolution, only 17% of plastics is recycled. Most of them end up in landfills, rivers and the ocean. Therefore, biodegradable packaging is the best solution.
La Holista Co., Ltd. also offer paper wrapping instead of plastic packaging for all snacks and breads, including Energy Balls, Fruit Chips, Brownies, Banana Bread, Granola and Cookies. Leave a note at check-out, and you can even pick up with you own containers from La Holista Central Kitchen in Thao Dien and receive a 5% discount.
The Organik House – Go Eco offers biodegradable tableware and party-ware products.
Learn how to preserve your fruits and veggies (freeze, jams, pickles)
In case you bought more fruits and veggies than you actually need, don’t throw them away, freeze them, making sure they are still fresh. Frozen fruits and veggies can last for a year. You can also learn how to make delicious jams and pickles so that nothing goes to waste!
Use vinegar, baking soda, lemon instead of chemicals to clean
There are many eco-friendly alternatives to chemical cleaning products. However, vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice are the three most popular ones and you probably already have those at home. People have used them for cleaning purposes for a long time, mainly due to their effectiveness and also because they are very cheap. For example, vinegar can kill both Salmonella and E.coli, two types of bacteria you definitely need to avoid. You can easily learn how to use vinegar, baking soda and lemon to keep your house nice and clean.
Use and refill your eco-friendly soaps and laundry detergents
Conventional soaps and laundry detergents contain large amounts of chemicals that later enter water streams, the atmosphere and the soil. With natural soaps and laundry detergents, on the other hand, you can be sure that no chemicals will harm the environment. Natural soaps and laundry detergents are made from organic ingredients such as herbs, flowers and coconut oil. Not only are they good for the environment, but they also protect your health.
You can find amazing natural soap bars and detergents at Green Around The Corner.
Eat locally and organic
Consider having dinner in your neighbourhood more often. Firstly, you won’t need to travel far, which is better for the environment and for your wallet, and also you will support local businesses.
Lastly, remember that you cast a vote every time you spend a dollar, so selecting responsible restaurants that use organic ingredients and have sustainable practices will help create the world we want to live in. Ask your local restaurants about their business practices and check Fair Food Forager, a sustainable food directory and social feed app.
Gardening is an amazing activity that benefits us in many ways, and not just aesthetically. Plants naturally support our atmosphere by absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen. Plants are also able to remove chemicals, metals and bacteria from air and water. Additionally, green areas are usually 3 to 4 degree cooler than urban areas, which means that you will less likely need to use air-conditioners, which are so harmful for the environment (HFC, a chemical used in fridges and A/C units, is 9,000 times more warming for the atmosphere then CO2).
If you don’t know where to start, Gagaco VN provide amazing products and services.