Here at Freight Farms, We Care Deeply About the Environment.
June 5th is an amazing global awareness holiday called World Environment Day.
The goal is to increase and encourage awareness and action for the protection of our environment. And it truly is global: over 100 countries actively celebrate, with one country hosting official celebrations. This year, it’s being hosted in India! Not only does the host country change every year, but each World Environment Day has a different theme. In 2018, the holiday–while celebrating on all types of environmental preservation– is focusing on reducing plastic pollution.
The Evils of Plastic
Americans alone throw away 35 billion plastic water bottles every year, and the average American throws away approximately 185 pounds of plastic per year. On top of that, approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide every year, meaning that more than one million bags are used every minute. 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). Furthermore, as plastic decomposes, it releases gases that are harmful to human health, and the environment.
Source: 22 Facts About Plastic Pollution
Here at Freight Farms, we take plastic pollution and other environmental issues pretty seriously. This is in part due to our product and industry: We built the Leafy Green Machine to be a sustainable farming solution to a problematic system that uses a lot of water, and poisons the environment with harmful chemicals found in commercial fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. However, more importantly, we are citizens of the world, and are doing our part (no matter how big or small) to make a positive change. Here are just some of the ways the Freight Farms team works to preserve the environment!
Reducing plastic waste
“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
“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
“Two words: Metal straws.” – Theresa Churchill
Theresa is referring to replacing one-time-use plastic straws with a reusable metal version. On top of other problems with plastic consumption, Americans use 500 million plastic straws EVERY DAY. And, as we know, this plastic, which ends up in the ocean or landfills, isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
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
“I use a compost service called Garbage to Garden to process all my food waste!” – Avi Reches
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.
Reducing meat intake
“I don't eat meat! 35 trillion gallons of water go into raising animal livestock every year and 1 quarter lb. of hamburger requires over 660 gallons of water to produce- that's equivalent to shower water use for a 2 month period: You could literally run your shower for 25 days straight and you still wouldn't waste as much water as it takes to produce just one hamburger.” – Carla Pantuosco
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
“Mass production of food is embarrassing for our environment and our bodies, especially in this day and age. I do all I can to support local and I am dedicated to making it more accessible price-point wise in our future.” – Justin Lukoff
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 Turnia
“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 try and cut down on water consumption by turning off the water when I brush my teeth or when I’m scrubbing dishes–you’re able to save clean water and cut down on the energy costs to produce it.” – Nick Laphan
“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 Nick 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!
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 World Environment 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!