Make Your Spring Clean This Year!
Spring has sprung in Winnipeg…almost. With Spring comes the inevitable spring cleaning. Refreshing your home and purging the inevitable accumulation of stuff that collected over the winter can be invigorating. However, as you clean up and throw out, you may be doing damage to the environment and your health with harsh chemical cleaners and garbage bags filled with waste. Protecting the environment is more urgent than ever before as our planet faces the crisis of climate change and an ocean filled with plastic, among many other critical environmental problems.
But don’t be discouraged by the big picture. As you’re tidying up and airing out, here are a few tips to consider making this spring cleaner for you and the environment.
Ditch the car
Hop on a bus, walk, or cycle to work or school. If you’re reluctant to give up your car, start slow, and take transit 1-2 days a week. Not only does this reduce your carbon footprint, it can save you hundreds of dollars a month. A family that uses transit can save an average of $586 each month, and even more if you’re walking or cycling. And of course, it goes without saying that adding a bit of extra exercise is always a plus.
Minimize one-time-use packaging
While bringing your own bag should be an old habit by now, did you know that you can bring your own containers to refill bulk items at Vita Health? Just bring your containers to the cashier before filling to get the “tare” weight – the weight of the container that will be subtracted once your jars are filled. That way you don’t have to pay extra for being environmentally savvy. Other ways to help reduce this type of waste: bring your own coffee mug or mason jar when you buy beverages, skip the straw in your next cocktail or tuck a cloth napkin in your bag so you can minimize your use of paper.
Not only can eating less meat have significant positive environmental benefits, eating more veggies provides health benefits too. Some people opt for a vegan diet while others choose from a variety of vegetarian diets. But overall, a plant-based diet helps protect against cardiovascular disease, lowers blood pressure, and may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Need a few recipes? Check out the Vita Health Facebook page for a variety of healthy meat and dairy-free meals.
When choosing those delicious fresh vegetables for Meatless Monday (or any day of the week), why not buy close to home? Buying from local companies supports the economy and ensures the food you buy is as fresh as possible. Fresh-picked produce retains the nutrients that can be lost by shipping and simply tastes better.
For the majority of us, going off-grid and living off the land isn’t an option. This means we are dependent on our grocery stores to supply the vast majority of what we eat and otherwise consume. Do a bit of research and find out what brands are making efforts to help the environment. Companies like Seventh Generation™ make their environmental objectives transparent through annual reports . Similarly, natural beauty companies like Derma-E and Pacifica clearly state their objectives on their websites. Local and organic food brands also reduce environmental impacts by cutting out harsh chemicals and transport, while brands such as Spice Sanctuary go the extra step by creating “Plant a Tree For Me,” an afforestation program in Canada.
Whether you’re the type of person who likes to spring clean from top to bottom or you’re feeling the need to take a closer look at what you’re putting in your home and adding to the environment, starting with these small changes can blossom into bigger impacts.