A Greener Armenia – Let’s Make It Happen
UNICEF and the Austrian Development Agency have collected tips and tricks that you can use to minimize waste at home
In 2012, the world committed to responsible consumption and production, in other words, Goal 12 of the Sustainable Development Goals. Responsible consumption and production is about doing more and better with less. It’s also about decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation, increase resource efficiency and promoting sustainable lifestyles.
Each year, an estimated one third of all food produced – equivalent to 1.3 billion tons worth around $1 trillion – ends up rotting in the bins of consumers and retailers or spoiling due to poor transportation and harvesting practices.
Let’s imagine how tomatoes appear on our plate. Farmers plant and harvest tomatoes, some of which will be lost to bad weather or parasites. During harvest some tomatoes will also be not harvested or damaged due to poor handling. Then these tomatoes are transported to city supermarket for sale but again due to delays, temperature in vehicle it is possible some of tomatoes get damaged. Supermarkets choose the tomatoes that look good and are more likely to appeal to potential buyers. Yet, not everything gets sold and some of it gets expired. Let’s assume that Zara buys three kilograms of tomatoes and manages to use most at home for salads and cooking but the last one goes bad in the fridge too. She makes a delicious soup and serves to her daughter, who enjoys the soup but does not finish her plate as it was too much for her, so Zara throws away the leftovers of the tomato soup she made. Now let’s reflect on how much tomato was harvested and how much of it got consumed versus wasted…
It is expected that by 2050, worldwide municipal solid waste generation will increase by roughly 70%, to 3.4 billion metric tons. This is due to a number of factors: consumer shopping habits, population growth, urbanization, economic growth.
At the household level, it’s up to us to change our lifestyle in ways that would be eco-efficient and reduce our footprint on the environment. Join UNICEF and the Austrian Development Agency to produce less trash and give up single-use plastic items, whether you're at home, on the go, in the office, or at school.
Buy less, buy better, and skip single-use or at least reuse. Here’s how!
1. Put together a no-trash eco-kit that includes:
1. A reusable drinking mug or bottle for hot and cold liquids
2. A handkerchief or cloth for use as a napkin
3. Reusable utensils, straws, and chopsticks
4. Reusable shopping and produce bags.
2. Ditch disposables
Plastic wrap, tin foil, paper towels, and plastic zip bags may be convenient, but they create a lot of waste. Use a silicone baking sheet in place of tinfoil or parchment. Swap out paper towels and single-use wipes for dishcloths that you can wash and reuse. Use cloth napkins, cleaning rags, dish towels, and even diapers. Try reusable lunch containers and washable snack bags.
3. Say bye-bye to single-serve and bulk up instead.
Items like snack packs, coffee pods, and disposable cutlery save a little time and effort, but the packaging generates a lot of unnecessary waste. Stick to foods that have zero packaging or take your reusable containers to the bulk store and stock up – and save time and money on your shopping!
4. Say no to disposable water bottles and coffee cups.
Contrary to popular belief, disposable paper coffee cups are not recyclable due to the inside coating they have. Use a mug instead. And why not try a double-insulated bottle that can handle both your hot and cold beverages!
5. Avoid tea bags and use a strainer.
Plastic tea bags can release about 11 billion microplastics into a single cup of tea! Even paper teabags contain a small amount of polypropylene, which makes them non-recyclable and non-compostable. Buying loose tea in bulk and using a tea infuser or strainer is a zero-waste way to enjoy a cup!
6. Enrich your shower routine by switching from bottled products to more traditional bars of soap!
Sustainable hair care and beauty products companies have begun to produce shampoo, conditioner, and shower soap all in bar form. If you wash your hair three or four times a week, over a year, that adds up to 24 bottles, and over 10 years it's 240 – a lot of plastic waste!
7. Repurpose and reuse your glass jars and plastic utensils
Repurpose empty food jars and glassware after removing the labels. Reuse your plastic bag or plastic containers.
8. Make your own hand sanitizer.
An organic, non-toxic hand sanitizer is made by blending rubbing alcohol, water, vegetable glycerin, aloe vera, and essential oils. This safe antibacterial salve is easy on the wallet as well as the environment. It must contain 60% rubbing alcohol in order to kill all coronavirus germs.
9. Replace your toothbrush, cotton pads, toilet paper, and even clothes with bamboo.
Bamboo grows around 3.5 ft a day, making it the best replacement for plastic. Bamboo is eco-friendly and biodegradable. Just remember to remove the bristles from your bamboo toothbrush before composting it or throwing it away.
10. Use a menstrual cup instead of tampons and pads.
Check out a menstrual cup and reusable menstrual pads. Whether you want to do your part to have an eco-friendly environment or you want to save a few drams, a menstrual cup has no waste aside from its original packaging.
11. If you can, opt for tap water instead of bottled.
Around the world, 1 million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute. 1million – every minute…
12. At the office, forget post-it notes and stop printing or print double-sided.
Use scrap paper, junk mail or dry-erase boards to take notes. Better yet, take paperless notes. Use both sides of a paper and set up your computer to print two-sided as well. Use single spacing and narrower margins for less important documents.
13. Bring your recyclables home with you.
If your office doesn’t recycle, bring your recyclables home with you, or start an office recycling programme. To get started, you could talk to your management and contact Innovative Solutions for Sustainable Development of Communities NGO.