By Becca Gibson

Did you know that July was ‘Plastic-free Month,’ to encourage avoiding the use of plastic throughout the world?   As July comes to a close, this doesn’t mean that we need to stop taking action to protect our environment. Don’t we want to see Colorful Colorado stay colorful forever? The answer should be yes. If everyone just changed ONE habit, there would be a significant positive impact.

The following are some ways you can help protect, and have a low impact, on our environment.  Some are habit changes, which I know can be hard, but just start with one item! Others, are just things to be more mindful of when out and about.

Stop using single use plastic straws, water bottles, and bags from the grocery store

  • If you love straws and don’t want to give them up, buy a reusable metal or glass straws (glass are my favorite because they don’t give your water a metal taste).  If you’re on-the-go a lot, my personal favorite is FinalStraw, which collapses and connects to your keychain so you never forget it!
  • It’s 2019, what are you still doing drinking out of a single-use plastic water bottle? Don’t you want a pretty colored HydroFlask or Yeti where you can have ice cold water all day long? 
  • You probably already have a reusable bag from Lululemon, Athleta, or other stores that hands them out for free with purchase. Put it in your car or in a spot you always see before heading to the grocery store to remind yourself to bring it instead of using the plastic bags at the grocery store! While you’re at it, pick up a few reusable produce bags, which are easy to wash with your dishes and helps you avoid those flimsy single-use bags at the market.

Shop in bulk or at places that are reducing their impact

  • I just discovered this amazing place at Stanley Marketplace called the Zero Market. They sell so many household items, all without packaging – or if it does have packaging, it is compostable or recyclable! You can even create your own customized products with the variety of oils, scents, and soaps they have. Just remember to bring your own bag because obviously they aren’t going to give you a plastic one. 
  • Another alternative, if you’re not ready for a bulk shop like the Zero Market, start shopping at places that are B Corp Certified. If you are not familiar with  B Corp Certified, these are stores or companies that meet “the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose” (B Corp). You can easily look up B Corp Certified stores in your area. You might even be surprised that you recognize so many of them!

Buy your produce from the local farmers market

  • Not only are you supporting local farmers, but you are reducing the emissions from transportation.  You’re also buying/eating food that are locally in-season so you know they will be very ripe and fresh.

 

The Colorado Tourism Office has started the “Leave No Trace” initiative. Do your part to minimize your impact on the great outdoors. 

Stick to trails

  • When hiking, disturb the natural habitat as little as possible.  Stick to the marked trail to leave no trace.

Leave it as you found it

  • Like the previous point, it’s always a good rule of thumb to not touch anything and leave it be.

Pick up your trash

  • Please please please follow this one suggestion, if not any of the other suggestions.  Discarded trash is harming ecosystems all over the world and it’s because of people not picking up after themselves. Be sure to take out whatever you brought in, so others may enjoy the area as you found it. Thank You!
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