Americans have dutifully collected recyclable materials to combat pollution and protect natural resources since the mid-1960s. But we’re learning that it’s not enough. To make an even bigger difference, we need to minimize the amount of plastic and non-sustainable materials we use to ensure we’re reducing what’s sent to our landfills. Here are some simple tips for ways we can all make a contribution to this important effort.
Embrace reusable food storage containers.
When preparing meals, intentionally make extra and store it in glass bowls with matching lids. Refrigerate or freeze these containers so you can take portions with you to work or wherever you’re headed. Glass bowls are also microwave-safe, so you won’t need additional plates for reheating.
Another benefit: Every time you bring your lunch, you’re also helping to reduce waste from restaurants’ to-go packaging, including single-use food containers, paper or plastic bags, and bottles.
Skip the flimsy plastic bags.
By now, most of us have a stash of reusable totes bags in our trunk we use when we go to the grocery store. Want to take your green grocery shopping to the next level? Try to eliminate, or at least reduce, the number of plastic produce bags you use when loading up on fruits and veggies. Start with any produce whose exterior you don’t eat, like cantaloupes or acorn squash. Only picking up a single pepper? Skip the extraneous plastic and wash it before serving. For smaller items like green beans or grapes, you can purchase produce mesh bags that are washable and reusable.
Turns out bamboo is good for far more than just panda snacks. It’s used to make a variety of products that can help propagate sustainability and minimize single-use plastics, like bamboo water bottles. Reusable bamboo eating utensils can go everywhere with you, be rinsed clean and are guaranteed not to trip the airport scanner. Bamboo flooring, straws, skateboard decks, pet collars, toothbrushes and sunglasses are widely available, elegant and biodegradable to boot.
Even before it’s made into these handy items, bamboo is a boon. It’s a species of grass, some of which can grow to maturity in five years. Humans can do the harvesting instead of heavy exhaust-spewing machines. When workers cut the stalks at the base, the bamboo immediately begins to regrow. As it grows, bamboo takes in CO2 while emitting 35% more oxygen than an equivalent stand of hardwoods. Bamboo requires no fertilizer and it can thrive in pollution-damaged soil even as it sheds leaves rich in nutrients that help regenerate topsoil.
As Glen Lennox undergoes renovation, Grubb Properties is pursuing sustainable strategies in many phases of the project. Office spaces will all be LEEDTM certified, and the new Link Apartments® Linden will pursue a National Green Building Standard certification. Bricks from the original structures which have to be removed will be reused in the new construction. Trees being removed for structures are being tagged and categorized and will return to the site for use in construction, artwork, furniture and mantelpieces. And systematic replanting will help maintain the property’s shady canopy and ensure its health and longevity for decades to come. We’re looking forward to doing our part for a healthy and sustainable future.