Author: Zlatna Nedeva
We all want to live in a clean environment with cleaner air, but sometimes it feels almost impossible to make daily choices that help nature instead of harming it. An eco friendly lifestyle might seem expensive, time consuming, and require sacrifices, but there are options to take the first steps towards it.
Myths about recycling
Many of us have heard that there aren’t trucks that collect recycling separately, and everything is loaded mixed together. People refuse to dispose of their waste separately, due to this one myth. Recycling is at the heart of green living and is extremely important, especially in cities.
In Bulgaria separate waste containers have been around for many years, but we still have not gotten the hang of them, which in turn slows down the development and renewal of the recycling structure in general. These containers are not always enough, and they often contain household or the wrong waste. Fortunately, the garbage from the color containers really is collected separately.
In Plovdiv, there are two companies that service the containers for separate recycling – Ecopack and Ecocollect. Ecopack has 3 types of containers – blue for paper, green for glass and yellow for plastic, and those of Ecocollect are 2 – green for glass and yellow for paper, plastic and metal. All locations of color containers in the city can be found on both company’s websites.
The new old
After oil production the second biggest source of environment pollution is the fashion industry. However, this does not mean that we should stop buying new clothes or give up on the idea of a trendy wardrobe. Rather just reconsider our habits. One way to help the planet is by checking the provenance of the clothes we buy. It is better to choose local products. This way, we are not only reducing our footprint on the environment, but we are also supporting local businesses and the economy. Fortunately, we live in one of the most creative cities in Bulgaria and finding clothes made within the radius of 100 km is not difficult at all.
Another easy option is to shop second-hand. There is still a prejudice about buying second-hand clothes as something trashy and even shameful. The days of second-hand shops, full of ugly, outdated and torn clothes, are long gone. The fast fashion industry makes us buy new clothes all the time, which means that in almost every second-hand shop you can find not only new and modern clothes, but also designer brands which are not going to cost you half your salary. In addition to physical stores, online projects like NOLD are also useful.
For the love of animals
After years of controversy, research and evidence, it is now clear thatvegetarian and vegan diets are the biggest contributors in protecting the environment. Studies show that if people limit their meat and dairy consumption, the carbon footprint will be reduced by up to 73%. Reducing animal products in our diet for only 1-2 days a week would greatly reduce the damage to the environment. A veggie diet might be a reason to try new recipes, but also new restaurants – Veggic, Green Lemon, VitaFix, and why not Domino’s. There are many options, even for those who appreciate junk food.
Fabric > Plastic
If you still haven’t got a tote bag that you always carry with you when shopping, skip everything mentioned so far and get one first. We all know how harmful plastic bags are to the environment and how unpleasant it is to see them as part of the landscape everywhere we go. Most grocery stores also have paper bags, but they are not a better option at all. Although in most cases they are made from recycled materials and take little time to decompose in nature, making a paper bag requires much more energy. Globally, this does almost the same damage to the environment as plastic bags, unless we use each paper bag at least 10 times before disposing of it. The truth is that making a cotton bag requires the most resources and energy, but unlike plastic and paper bags, cotton bags are made for multiple use and can last for years.