Green Corner: How do you become sustainable? |

Green Corner: How do you become sustainable?

Thomas Harris
Green Corner

Sustainability is the ability to be sustained, supported, upheld, or the capacity to endure. When it comes to the environment or Environmental Science it is the quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance. So, how does one or a community become sustainable? Some of being sustainable is easy and is just recognizing the need for change and changing ones daily habits. Some of being sustainable is a long process and may involve the government, non-profits, social planning, and the free market. Being sustainable involves thinking ahead, being willing to re-use things and going without when they are not environmental sound.

Growing Your Own Food

One aspect of sustainability would be growing your own food and avoiding having it transported in from thousands of miles away. Ultimate sustainability of yogurt would be to have a cow, milk it, and then churning the yogurt oneself. That¹s not feasible for many of us, unfortunately. Instead, when purchasing foods, buy products when they are in season and preferably only local. This creates a demand for those products and gives the outlet more incentive to have more of that product vs. another. It¹s a supply and demand scenario. Retailers will only stock what is going to sell.

One time use products

One time use products are not sustainable. Disposable Tupperware, plastic-wrap, and even aluminum foil are not good choices for food storage; instead, re-use containers and then fill it up with leftovers and excess food. Another option is to buy some re-usable containers that last, like glass.

Another example of sustainability would be to go back to the old way of re-using jars and bottles and purchasing bulk foods. Bulk foods allow for large containers to be shipped to a location and then for customers to bring sacks, jars or containers to fill up on the product. This prevents having to produce, pay for, and dispose of the packaging. Studies have found a 96 percent reduction in packaging when utilizing bulk practices. Some examples of bulk products would be oatmeal, coffee, pasta, and cleaning products like shampoo or dish soap.

Beer and soda could also be included as bulk, if we were to adopt the system that most European countries use by requiring a deposit for all bottles purchased. Every time a beer truck came up to Grand County it would arrive full of full bottles and would leave full of empty bottles that would go down and be washed, sanitized and then re-filled. Unless one breaks the bottle it would keep being used indefinitely and the distributor would not have to make new bottles. This would solve the big problem of glass not being profitable for recycling, due to weight issues, as well.

All these ideas are practices we used to do up until the 60s when convenience, obsolescence, and technology trumped these common sense ways of doing things. Through habitual practice, determination, and consumer demand, these ways could be the status quo once again. It¹s up to you.

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