I am probably not the person you think of when you imagine who would start an eco-conscious website and blog. I grew up in West Texas, where oil is king, I care more than most about fashion and beauty trends, and I currently drive a larger than average SUV to tote my 3 young kids and their carpool groups around. This discrepancy in image and values is one of the reasons I felt inspired to start Sustain Local. When I first started exploring solutions to our waste problem, I found many blogs and websites that I couldn’t relate to. While I have respect for anyone who makes their own beauty and cleaning products or those that only eat from their garden, I am not that person.
One concept I really want to convey, is that there isn’t just one way to make significant positive changes that will help slow the environmental impact of our throw away culture. No matter what your efforts are, we could all probably do more, and it isn’t healthy to compete or shame one another into submission, particularly if the lifestyle changes aren’t sustainable! While I have been participating in a plastic-free challenge for the past few months, that might not be for everyone or even completely doable for us forever. I am certainly not naive enough to believe that going plastic free is going to solve our world’s waste problem, though it is a great exercise in realizing what you really need. It is unrealistic to think that everyone would make the effort or have the time.
Going plastic free helped me realize how much we need to reevaluate packaging and disposing of materials to move from a throw away, linear-economic model to a more circular-economic model that better uses and reuses materials. We can do this through our purchasing power and efforts to recycle properly. We should stop buying disposable, mass produced, and low-quality goods. We have the opportunity, instead, to invest in durable, high-quality, longer-lasting goods that will be valued enough to be reused instead of thrown away. We can start thinking more about the end life of the products we consume by choosing organic materials over synthetic with the hope that one day they could be put back into the Earth. The amazing thing about capitalism is that it is in the service of our wants and needs, not the other way around. If we change what we purchase, manufacturers will eventually start to change their products and services.
Caring for the environment isn’t for a certain type of person or political party. We all live here on Earth and see the astronomical growth of trash accumulating and disrupting our ecosystem and our health. Plastic only came into mainstream use 70 years ago and now there are 46,000 pieces of plastic floating in every square mile of the ocean. By 2050, it is predicted that plastic in the oceans will outweigh fish. It’s hard to imagine the quality of life on Earth our grandkids will experience if we don’t change something now. Whether that something is going to be reducing plastic intake or choosing products and brands that are committed to sustainability, reusability and recyclability, Sustain Local has the goal of helping navigate a future where more materials for new products come from old products and in turn very little gets put in landfills or our oceans.
Data from UN Environment and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation