As the years have gone by, everyone, including myself, has become more and more conscious about the environment. But the real question is whether there is more we can do besides recycling.
The answer is yes – living a sustainable and renewable lifestyle and being responsible consumers. Being a responsible consumer means making conscious choices about what we consume and how it affects our world. It means becoming informed and making small or big decisions that make a difference. This is something that I heard echoed at the recent inaugural Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Forum held in Melbourne.
Adopting environmentally sound practices in your lifestyle will do more than just protect the world we live in today. Did you know that such behaviour can also make you feel happier? In a social experiment conducted in 2014, this experience was evidenced by 10 motivated mothers with very busy lives who were challenged to apply the concept of renewability to their lives. In each case, their actions lead to increased happiness. So where do we start on this new journey?
Gain positivity by adopting sustainability and renewability as a lifestyle choice
Renewability, simply put, is the ability to renew. This means using a resource that can be regrown or replenished naturally over time. By choosing renewable products in your life, you participate in a circular economy. This does not negatively impact the environment as much as using up finite resources.
Simple measures such as choosing to walk or cycle over driving where possible is one lifestyle change to adopt. Otherwise, choosing public transport or carpooling are the next best options. A couple of my favourite switches are using reusable cotton/mesh bags when I go shopping and reusable glass containers for my food when I’m on the go.
Renewability can also mean renewing one’s personal, mental, and physical energy, so taking time to be outdoors, meditate, and exercise all contribute to a positive sense of well-being.
When it comes to purchasing decisions, such as choosing packages at the supermarket, choose packaging that comes from renewable resources, such as paperboard, or bio-based materials such as non-food grade sugar cane. Renewable resources should be sourced responsibly where harvest levels are maintained, and people and animals are not harmed or exploited.
Recognising responsibly sourced packaging
To identify responsibly sourced packaging, keep a look out for logos that indicate sustainably sourced materials and responsible practices.
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is the world’s most rigorous forest product certification and labelling scheme, and is the only forest label supported by environmental groups such as the World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace, and The Australian Conservation Foundation.
The FSC label provides consumers an assurance that the wood and paper products they buy come from responsible sources and have been verified to meet FSC’s strict environmental and social standards. There are plenty of brands that feature the FSC label on their products, which will help make your choices easier when you shop.
Since 2005, Tetra Pak has been fully committed to FSC certification, because it is important to protect food at the highest standard with the lowest possible impact to the environment. While you might not be familiar with Tetra Pak, it is likely that your long-life milk, juice, or coconut water come in a Tetra Pak carton. The great thing about Tetra Pak cartons is that they are mainly made out of renewable resources. Tetra Pak cartons are made of paper made from 100% FSC certified and controlled wood.
Renewability and responsibly sourced packaging is vital to the future of our planet. It will help offset pending resource scarcity, mitigate changes in climate patterns, maintain carbon sinks, and conserve biodiversity. Using renewable resources whenever possible will benefit our global economic stability and the health and biodiversity of our planet. Something as simple as choosing a drink in an FSC-labelled carton means you’re choosing a world where forests keep growing. Making the right choice now can mean a future for both people and wildlife. I recommend that you start implementing these small but meaningful changes, for a happier and more sustainable outlook on life.
This article is based on the article Renewability: the latest buzz word, which was published on Good Magazine NZ.
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