Sustainability in 2020

Sophie Jalkut

2020 is the start of a new year and a new decade. And given the deteriorating environment all around us, many people are looking to take advantage of this fresh start by rearranging their habits to avoid damaging the Earth. This mission may seem impossible because harming the environment appears inevitable, and one person seems incredibly insignificant. How can anyone possibly live a zero-plastic lifestyle? 

In Fairfield Ludlowe High School, Mr. Grasso, an environmental science teacher, recommends a “stacking” approach to sustainability. “Stacking” means committing to a small change or small habit, eventually adding other small changes over time. Using this method, you can stack up a very sustainable lifestyle. 

One of the easiest ways to start is by consistently recycling. This helps tackle the issue of plastics twofold: firstly, reusing plastics is easier before it becomes litter, and secondly, because plastics are made of petroleum, recycling plastic reduces our need to extract and burn fossil fuels. Related to recycling, a great thing to do for the Earth is to compost your food. So many products in our lives are destined for a landfill or will be burned. Composting returns these products back to the Earth, which recycles its nutrients. To start composting, it is best to find a corner of your yard and create a bin. Add soil and leaves for a foundation and dump food scraps into the container. When it’s full, it can be deposited in your backyard or a wild place, or used as fertilizer.

After incorporating those changes into your life, another thing to consider is altering the influence of your buying power. Did you know that for every 11 dollars it costs to buy a product, 1 dollar goes to packaging? In Fairfield, a store recently opened named, B&D Provisions, which is located by Mecha and Milkcraft. One of the unique things about B&D Provisions is the fact that it does not have any plastic packages or bags in the store. You can buy over 300 teas, nuts, spices, grains, candy, snacks, baking ingredients, freshly roasted coffees, and more. Fill up a paper bag, and the cost will be judged by its weight. Shopping sustainably is maybe one of the most fun ways to live a waste-free life. It means buying from companies that are committed to working in environmentally friendly ways. 

You can also shop sustainability by renting clothing to buy for second-hand seconds like Good Will. Renting clothing may seem strange, but consider how many outfits you’ve gotten for one occasion, which will never be worn again. Companies like Rent the Runway and FOR DAYS, respectively, offer designer clothes for a fraction of the price and will send customers t-shirts, asking for them to recycle the shirts when new shirts are wanted. However, choosing to buy from second-hand stores not only helps reduce unsustainable clothing production but also protest inhumane sweatshops which are often the source of many common brands.