Our mission at Bottle is to build the local food system. By supporting makers who feed their communities, whether through meal kits or farm-fresh produce, it’s important to us that we’re helping to develop a network of food and drink production and consumption that has a better impact on the planet. We also aim to live our own lives in environmentally responsible manners. Chelsea, our customer success manager, is an expert in the micro habits that contribute to a healthier world and life. Here are her six essential tips.

1.) Eat Less Meat
Eating animals of all types—whether they’re raised locally and in an ethical matter or produced in a crammed factory farm—is a driving factor of climate change. Some people get defensive when they hear this, but the collective data and research shows this to be true. One of the best things you can do for the planet is to simply eat less (or no) meat, dairy, eggs, and seafood. While this seems like a big part of your diet to give up, you can approach the change slow and steady. Start by making one plant-based meal a week then steadily increase that number until you are eating one plant-based meal a day. The BBC has a great, easy-to-use calculator that shows and compares the amount of greenhouse gas emitted from different proteins (animal and plant), milks, and even fruits and veggies.

From local meal prep companies to an influx of new vegan restaurants and published recipes, it's never been easier to eat plant-based

2.) Shop Local, Secondhand, and Handmade
When it comes to shopping for food, local is always best! The less distance your food has to travel to get to you, the better. This article breaks down all of the reasons why eating local is better for the planet, your body, the local economy, and the community. And when it comes to appliances, furniture, clothes, and even dishware, buying secondhand will help you lessen your impact, as it skirts pollution and unnecessary waste at the source. Even throughout Covid times, most thrift stores have remained open with various precautions in place and Facebook Marketplace is an incredible resource. If you can’t find what you need secondhand, look for a local maker in your area who is making products responsibly, ethically, and with the planet in mind.

3.) Compost!
Start a backyard compost, use the Bokashi process for a non-smelly, seamless compost (great for apartment living), or donate your food scraps to your local community garden. You can also pay for a compost service if your city offers one. If you’re on-the-go or new to an area, you can use the app ShareWaste, which helps you locate a compost close to you.

Get into composting!

4.) Walk, bike, or take public transportation instead of driving
This is a pretty well-known fact, but individual cars on the road contribute a great deal to CO2 emissions. As stated by the EPA, “The average passenger vehicle emits about 404 grams of CO2 per mile.” This is why it is a great idea to walk, bike, or take public transportation rather than driving. If you do not have accessible and safe sidewalks, bike lanes, or public transportation in your community, contact your local government and make it known that this is a desired feature! If none of these options is possible for your morning commute or your trips to the grocery store, consider ride sharing or carpooling with neighbors, coworkers, etc.

5.) Bring your own coffee cups, water bottles, steel straws, and grocery bags
The face of the environmental movement has long been steel straws, BYO coffee cups and water bottles, and of course, reusable grocery bags. This might seem insignificant, but the “bring your own” mentality has had an extremely positive effect on the planet. The World Atlas states: “It is estimated that 300 million tons of plastic is produced every year, and half of this plastic is used just once and then disposed of. Ten percent is recycled, while 12% is incinerated.” Yes, you read that right, only 10% of ALL plastic produced every year actually gets recycled. They go on to say, “It is estimated that 250 metric tonnes of plastic will be in the oceans by 2030, and by 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish.” This is a staggering fact that we really need to pay more attention to, and the simple act of using a reusable water bottle instead of plastic has a positive effect on the planet.

Pick out a fun set of reusable straws

6.) Go easy on yourself!
This one is non-negotiable. Do what you can with what you have and know that that is enough. You don’t want to burn yourself out while trying to do everything at once—trust me, I’ve been there. Taking care of your mind and body and giving yourself grace is the most important first step in taking care of the outside world. If you’re exhausted, sluggish, or stressed, you won’t have the energy to fight the good fight for the planet, and understandably so! So go easy on yourself while doing your absolute best. One of my favorite quotes from the blogger, fermenter, and climate advocate Anne-Marie Bonneau is: “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”

In addition to any questions you have about Bottle and Bottle-related features, I am always happy to chat about the planet and give advice about living a healthy, environmentally-friendly life. Not only am I a passionate climate and food activist, but I’m also currently getting my graduate degree in Integrative Health and Nutrition. Whether it’s about transitioning to a plant-based diet, composting, or going low-waste, don’t hesitate to reach out. There are no dumb questions! Send me an email at sustainablylivingwell@gmail.com.