Sunday, March 20, 2016

Taking Small Steps Towards #RenewableLiving & A Happier Life #TetraPak

It may seem trite to say, "I want to leave the world a better place for my kids," but I do honestly feel that way. Consumption and waste are increasing at a crazy rate, and it just seems silly to not embrace ways to slow this down and keep the planet healthy. Making simple choices, like buying locally produced goods and produce, choosing to purchase items with less packaging or more environmentally friendly packaging, bringing re-usable bags to the store - all these and many more are little steps we can take that add up over time to have a big impact.

This guy. He's the reason behind my choices, and for so many of my smiles.

According to recent studies by Tetra Pak, working to protect the earth’s resources by adopting simple, renewable lifestyle behaviors can actually lead to greater personal happiness. Their Renewable Living Survey found that 70% of the respondents (US and Canada) said they feel happier when they make renewable lifestyle choices. It makes sense to me, since doing good and making a difference are great feelings.

This survey was part of their #RenewableLiving campaign, which also includes an online Happiness Quiz. Tetra Pak challenged me to take that quiz, and to try out a few easy and environmentally friendly actions over the past few weeks, and report back here on the results. I'll tell you all about it now, but I also want to challenge you to complete the quiz yourself and then come back here and share your thoughts with us all!
Tetra Pak Product Packaging #RenewableLiving
The main component of Tetra Pak packaging is paperboard, a renewable material made from wood.

The Challenges

When grocery shopping, choose food and beverage products with renewable packaging, like cartons
I've been conscious of this one for a long time, although I hadn't realised that Tetra Paks were mostly renewable paperboard. I have been a fan of this packaging because of its convenience, but now I have a new reason to love it. Tetra Pak carton packaging helps protect our planet’s limited supply of natural resources, because of this paper content, a renewable resource that can be naturally replenished. Soups, broths, tomatoes, sauces, drinks - many products are available in this renewable source packaging now. It is also recyclable, easy to open and use, and if you don't use the entire contents you can close the container and pop it in the fridge to store for next time.

I would also add - less packaging is another thing to look for. I buy a lot of fresh food, so that naturally leads to less packaging, although I get frustrated when I see produce (often shipped in) that is packaged on trays and wrapped. I will always choose a loose option over those.

Take shorter showers
For the record, I already (mostly) take fairly short showers, so this didn't involve a big change for me. I do find that if I get into the shower immediately when I wake up, I tend to stay in longer, just because I'm not yet fully functional. So, I try to make sure I have time for a coffee before I get under the water, making me more alert and aware. I wash quickly and get out. Taking shorter showers, turning off the tap while brushing your teeth, fixing leaky faucets and running toilets are all easy steps we can take to conserve water, reduce our water bills, and reduce our personal environmental impact. Remember, all our residential water goes through treatment systems, so it's not like just pulling a bucket from the well. Unless you're on a well, of course.

Bike or walk whenever possible
The car quickly becomes a habit, it's true. And it's especially true during the colder months of the year. Most of the places I need to go aren't in walking distance, but I've been making an effort to choose options that are whenever I am able. We have been lucky to have had a mild winter, so walking to the bank and the drug store have been fairly easy. As a family, our car impact has gone way down since my husband has been taking transit to work. He's become quite the transit pro and has greatly increased his walking range as well. Transit options are something I can look into as well.

Swap your paper coffee cup for a mug
We have quite a collection of travel mugs, and I will bring coffee from home when I can. When I purchase coffee on the road, I don't tend to go into a shop though. I'm a drive-thru girl. And it can feel weird at first ordering a coffee through the intercom and asking them to not pour it until you get to the window, but you can get used to it. The trick is to know how much your mug holds - is it a large or a medium you'll be paying for? So here's a tip - bring your favourite travel mug into your favourite coffee shop and have them pour one for you in-store for the first time. Or, save your paper cup, fill it with water at home and pour into your travel mug to test the capacity.
Travel Mugs #RenewableLiving
A small selection of my travel mugs. The black ceramic at the front is for tea. Tea in plastic or stainless just doesn't taste right.

If you must use a paper cup, you can avoid some waste by using a reusable sleeve instead of a paper one or double-cupping.
reusable coffee cup sleeve #RenewableLiving
From my favourite coffee place
We also have many reusable water bottles, and I have one with me at all times. If you're out and about you can often find a water fountain for a refill. Many parks and attractions now have actual water bottle refill stations available as well. 

Water bottles and paper coffee cups may be recyclable, but recycling still uses a lot of energy, and water too. Plus there's the energy and resources used in creating them in the first place. We have a more sustainable alternative, so I encourage you all to consider making the switch if you haven't already.

Take the Tetra Pak Happiness Quiz 
I took the Tetra Pak Happiness Quiz, and based on my responses I am apparently "Just Joyous." Love it! And I generally am a pretty happy person. What I most liked about the quiz was the information provided on the impacts of your specific choices. And you can change your choices before moving on, giving you the chance to read about each option provided. I did answer honestly, including choosing potato chips as my preferred snacking option. I was not so delighted with what I learned about that!

Four pounds of potatoes to one pound of chips? 200 gallons of water to produce the potatoes for one bag? Ouch. Something to think about for sure, but I don't think my love of salty, fatty potato chips will go away.

Have you taken the quiz yet? I encourage you to head over to the Tetra Pak Happiness Quiz yourself, and see how your choices may be impacting your happiness. Or maybe you'll learn something that will lead you to make new choices. I'd love if you'd come back and share what you found!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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