April 22nd is an amazing global awareness holiday called Earth Day.
Here at Freight Farms, we care deeply about the environment all the time, but especially on Earth Day. Our team shares simple tried-and-true tricks to reduce your environmental impact on a daily basis.
Reduce, reuse, recycle!
Did you know Americans alone throw away 35 billion plastic water bottles every year, and the average American throws away approximately 185 pounds of plastic per year?! Unfortunately, 50% of the plastic that we use is used only once before it is thrown away. And all this discarded plastic isn’t going anywhere. Since plastic taking 500-1,000 years to disintegrate, almost every piece of plastic that was ever made still exists in some shape or form (80% of which is dangerously microscopic at this point).
“Instead of constantly reaching for a new plastic sandwich or snack bag, I use a reusable Tupperware container, or just rinse a plastic bag that I've already used–BAM, it's good as new!” – Rebecca Shamritsky
“I always bring a reusable, washable, bag with me when I go hiking to make sure if I see trash along the trails I can clean up as much as I can.” – Kostant Stanton
“For me, it’s those pesky six-pack rings... I have to rip them apart when I see them, no matter the situation.” – Steve Warren
“I drink a lot of coffee, so I use reusable cotton coffee filters. Also, I use bio-degradable and natural/ vegan sponges, that can be washed up to 300 times before replacing. I try to help the environment by making small changes in my personal life, that will hopefully have a lasting impact.” – Colin Reinhardt
Reducing and repurposing waste
“I feel like food waste is starting to get more attention, but a lot of people don't know how to combat their own wasted food situation. The answer is meal planning. Sit down on a Saturday morning, figure out all your meals for the week–what you need, when you're going to eat it–and stick to your list. This way you save money and save food waste from going into landfills.” – Chris Snow
Food waste is a huge global problem: one third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted, with fruits, vegetables, and tubers being the most commonly wasted crops. Planning grocery shopping and meals is a great way to offset waste from the get-go, while composting any (inevitable) food waste acts as a safety net. Organic waste that is put in landfills has little or no access to oxygen, which prevents the decaying process from happening. Landfill materials also release harmful greenhouse gases such as methane, while trash burning releases CO2 into the atmosphere. Contrary, composting is a natural process that is incredibly beneficial to the environment. It fertilizes the ground and provides nutrients that support healthy plants and, as a result, a healthy ecosystem.
Redefining who grows our food
“My work at Freight Farms involves training all our new farmers, many of whom have never grown anything before, let alone starting a local farming business. By getting people excited about growing their own food, we’re helping to re-energize the farming industry which is only going to bring us closer to a more sustainable and localized farming system.” – Dana Lucas
Growing and shopping local
“I grow a small garden on my back deck to supplement the food I buy at the grocery store.” – Dave Harris
Eating—and even growing—locally is another way to help reduce agriculture’s environmental impact! Food can travel thousands of miles from farm to plate, which requires a lot of energy (powered by fossil fuels!). For example, it takes 435 fossil-fuel calories to fly a 5 calorie strawberry from California to New York. In fact, conventional food distribution produces 5 to 17 times more CO2 than local and regionally produced food!
Additionally, small and local farms are often adopters of environmentally friendly practices that de-prioritize herbicides and pesticides, and focus on naturally rebuilding and preserving plant, insect, and animal diversity.
“Drive less, walk more! On top of cutting down on my carbon emissions and saving money, I get to explore the neighborhoods of Boston.” – Caroline Katsiroubas
“I walk to work everyday! A solid mile and half, no matter the weather.” – David Turina
“I bike to work as often as possible. It’s a great way to not only decrease my carbon footprint, but get a workout, and spend time outdoors.” – Derek Baker
“I bike to work through all of Boston’s wonderful weather!” – Dan Marino (with some sarcasm and some sincerity).
Choosing to bike, walk, or take public transport to work is a tried-and-true method to prevent the emission of harmful greenhouse gases that are very closely tied to climate change and regional pollution. Freight Farms is lucky enough to have an office in the beautiful South End neighborhood of Boston, MA, so we’re easily reachable by public transport, while the people who choose to bike or walk have beautiful scenery during their commute!
“It sounds basic, but I make sure to turn off all the lights before I leave the house. It saves me money while also limiting my energy consumption.” – Rick Trenchard
“I make a point to unplug basically everything in my house that can be unplugged, everyday.” – Rachel Wisentaner
“In the summer, I close my blinds to save energy on A/C.” – Nigel Slater
Producing electricity requires a lot of energy. Powerplants are powered by fossil fuels which needs to be mined, transported, and burned to produce electricity. While individually cutting back on your electricity may seem insignificant, every little bit counts. Plus, you will immediately see a difference in your wallet!
“I use a 32oz hydroflask to drink water. It keeps my water cold all day long which reduces the amount of times I have to use the faucet, and reduces plastic waste.” – Jackie Mula
“Use a dishwasher instead of washing your dishes, you actually end up using less water.” – Grace Wu
Grace is right! Hand washing uses 5 times as much water as an efficient dishwasher, and 3.5 times more water as an average dishwasher. The more dishes you wash by hand, the more water you waste.
On top of Jackie and Grace’s everyday habits, all of us here at Freight Farms contribute to water reduction by building and distributing farming options that use 98% less water than traditional agriculture. Each container farm uses less than 0-5 gallons of water a day, which is less water than even the most eco-friendly dishwashers!
Another unexpected way to save water…Reduce your meat intake!
Many people on the team actively try to reduce their daily meat intake. That’s because half of the water used for agriculture in the U.S. goes towards raising animals for food. PETA did the math–that means we’re using 2,400 gallons of water to produce 1 lb. of steak. To put it in perspective, PETA determines you can save more water by choosing to not eat that one pound of steak than you would not showering for 6 months! (Everyone at the office agrees the former is probably the better option).
Beyond just saving water, it benefits the environment as a whole: "I've been meat-free for two and a half years and I'm working to reduce my dairy intake as well- while meat and dairy provide just 18% of calories and 37% of protein, it uses over 80% of farmland and produces 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing meat and dairy intake is an extremely efficient way to make a significant difference!" – Juli Kloza
And finally, a note from Jon Friedman, our COO and co-founder on his relationship with this wonderful planet of ours:
I think of you when I recycle, when I try to use the same dish or cup all day, when I yell at people who are boarding cruises, when I try to be one with humidity instead of using A/C, and when I pick up things from the side of the road that are still totally usable. I also use you as an out for not doing my dishes and laundry.
Happy Earth Day from Freight Farms!
Want more inspiration for small things you can do everyday to benefit the environment? Here's 40 more easy tips and tricks!