Part 2 of our Environmental Series on Wooden Cutlery
In Part 1 of our environmental series on wooden cutlery, we explored the environmental benefits of using wooden cutlery. We compared the impact of wooden cutlery on the environment versus steel and plastic.
We delved into the environmental costs of making, using, and disposing of wooden, steel, and plastic utensils and shared how JUstenbois’ maple wood cutlery is environmentally friendly.
Now it’s time to learn how each of us can play a part in following sustainable living practices to help save our environment. We will also share with you how using JUstenbois’ wooden cutlery plays a large part in following sustainable living practices.
The Unlimited Number of Rs of Sustainable Living
We have long been aware of the Top 3Rs most of us have fully embraced — “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.” But did you know that each of us can do more?
According to a 2019 article in USA Today, the amount of trash that countries produce is expected to rise. Some estimates say by as much as 70% between 2016 and 2050.
What is even more disheartening is that North America is the largest contributor to the world’s waste. Canada is ranked as the worst culprit per capita and only recycled 20.6% of waste, with the United States ranked third and recycling 34.6% of waste.
It is clear that we need to do more to reduce our waste. This starts at home by going beyond the 3Rs and following sustainable living practices. It is now considered that the list should include 9Rs.
Here is a list of the top 9 Rs that we can follow as our part to make our planet a better place to live.
Understanding that our natural resources are limited and that we need to preserve as much as we can for future generations, we need to start by rethinking about the choices we make and how these choices impact the environment.
A great way to start is to audit your waste over a month. Markdown what you have thrown out and formulate a plan on how you can make the changes needed to eliminate as much waste as you can.
Rethinking goes to its definition, “Think Twice.” This means slowing down your decisions to become more rational, removing emotions from your purchasing habits. It also includes becoming more informed to respect the environment.
You can ask yourself a few simple questions to help guide you through your rethink:
- Do I really need this?
- Is there anything I can do to avoid this purchase?
- Can I reuse something else that I already have?
- Where does it come from?
- What are the raw materials?
- Is it ethically produced?
- What will happen at the end of its lifespan?
- Can I reuse something else that I already have?
- Can I rent it?
Some great examples of rethinking include:
Changing your eating habits to support buying locally unpackaged fruit and vegetables instead of packaged fruit and vegetables from faraway places.
Always carrying a refillable cup or bottle to avoid single-use cups and water bottles.
Using public transportation or a car sharing service instead of purchasing a car.
Embracing the Rs requires that we make commitments to doing some difficult things. This includes refusing to purchase what is not essential. It could mean refusing free items too.
It also means evaluating the product itself. Excessive packaging, single-use items, products that are made from non-recycled materials, or products that are not energy efficient should all be evaluated.
Although this may not seem easy at first, it’s the most effective way to minimize the amount of waste you produce. It can also lead to change by producers, making companies think about the environment in their design choices.
Examples of this are:
Refusing single-use plastics, like plastic utensils and bags.
Not accepting free samples of products that you are not interested in.
Supporting this R may require that you do some research to find better and less wasteful materials to switch to.
Reduce means to cut down on the number of products you buy and use. Reducing harmful, wasteful, and non-recyclable materials not only has benefits for the environment — it can also save money.
When you reduce the amount of materials used, less goes into the garbage, and subsequently landfills. Try to reduce even recyclable materials, as by doing so, you are contributing to a more sustainable future.
Examples of how you can reduce include:
Printing double-sided if you need to print.
Using cloth bags instead of plastic or paper.
Using refillable containers instead of single-use beverage bottles.
Buy your fruit and vegetables loose to avoid using the extra plastic bag or pre-packaged items.
Reduce the size of your wardrobe.
Switch off lights.
Reduce your speed to save gas.
Reusing requires that we diligently avoid throwing away still-usable items. Unfortunately, many of us have justified throwing away completely usable items on the basis that “It’s just this one time .” The issue of convenience in doing so becomes a constant habit.
Reusing not only prevents the item from ending up in landfill, it also saves on the energy and materials needed to make a new one. Consider purchasing a used item instead of a new one. This not only will save you money, you will help save that item from ending up in the garbage.
Some great examples include:
Office and school supplies are big culprits.
Binders can be reused — simply remove whatever is inside.
File folders just need a new label.
Try not to write on envelopes when you are circulating documents; then, you can reuse them.
The solution is more than just reusing. Consider sharing, selling, giving away, or donating. This ensures the extended use of items you no longer need.
You might be surprised about what you can donate. We all know about giving away outgrown clothing and toys to friends and family or donating them to goodwill. Larger items like furniture or décor we might think about too. After all, there are many sites on the internet designed to sell or give away these items.
Have you ever thought about old bras? It is surprising how many charities accept used bras and support women’s groups.
Left over construction materials, old kitchens cabinets, windows, hardware, tools and so much more can be donated to Habitat for Humanity ReStores or similar charities in your area.
Eyeglasses can be donated through most places that sell eyeglasses. Hearing aids and other durable medical equipment can be donated to the Red Cross.
Going back to the first R… Think twice before throwing anything out.
Repurposing involves taking items that were meant for one purpose and giving them other ones. This requires some out-of-the-box thinking. This R is also known as upcycling.
Quite often it takes the form of a hobby or crafting. It can be as simple as using a glass jar as a vase, a pencil holder, a votive, or a simple drinking glass. An old wooden ladder becomes a towel rack.
It can become more complicated and unique by converting an old dresser into a bathroom vanity. There are so many options you can make from wood pallets. The wood used in pallets can be used to make all sorts of furniture and art.
Before you throw anything out, think about how you could repurpose it.
Repair, Refinish, Repaint, Refurbish, Restore
Repairing electrical appliances instead of replacing them in most cases is much better for the environment. The age of the appliance and its efficiency is important in evaluating to repair it. Always recycle the old one.
For other items take the time to fix them, refinish tired or out-of-date items, or just give a coat of paint to items you don’t like. This can often take less time than it would to buy new. It will definitely give you a sense of pride and make it your own.
This is especially true with furniture. If the item is worn out, scratched, or damaged, refinishing it or giving it a fresh coat of paint will give it a new life. Change out the knobs or feet to give it a fresh new look. Use the old knobs to make a coat rack.
Another word for rot is compost. Recycling food and other organic waste into compost provides a range of environmental benefits. It will improve soil health, reduce greenhouse gases, recycle nutrients, and mitigate the impact of droughts.
Food scraps and garden waste combined make up more than 28% of what we throw away. This can be eliminated by simply composting or taking part in your local compost programs. It makes creating great soil that you can use in your own garden to grow delicious fresh vegetables and fruit. It can also provide great learning for children if they participate.
Recycling should be considered as the last resort for sustainable living. It is the way we can reduce waste and recover any material that can be reused to prevent more resources from ending up in landfill.
Recycling reduces the resources we extract, reduces the waste in landfills, and improves the efficiency of our businesses.
Most communities have a recycling program. You should check with your local community to learn what and how to recycle in your area.
How JUstenbois’ Maple Wood Cutlery Contributes to Sustainable Living
JUstenbois Maple Wood Cutlery is a must-have for everyone looking to do their part to protect our planet. These are the reasons why:
- We use Maple Wood that is cultivated following production methods based on sustainable management practices.
- Mature trees are harvested, making room to vitalize younger trees around them. After the removal of mature trees, younger trees can grow much faster and are able to capture and trap carbon dioxide better, cleaning the air more efficiently.
- Maple Wood is sourced locally to reduce the impact of transportation on the environment.
- Very little energy is used during the manufacturing process. No water is used during the manufacturing process, which means there’s no wastewater. No air emissions are produced during the entire manufacturing process, so there is no pollution.
- All wood residues are reclaimed. Wood shavings are given to local farmers for chicken coupes and as mulch for gardens. Leftover wood is reclaimed and used to make unique pieces. We follow Zero Waste management practices.
- Very little wood is used to make one utensil. Over 9,000 utensils are crafted from one tree, thus requiring fewer trees to be cut and limiting the impact on wildlife and their environment.
- Our Maple Wood Cutlery is designed to last up to 15 years if properly maintained, making this a more sustainable choice than disposable wooden cutlery.
- When our Maple Wood Cutlery has reached the end of its life, it can be composted.
- Tools used in the manufacturing process are diligently cleaned with all-natural lemon, ensuring that nothing toxic contacts the wood or the environment.
- All natural organic ingredients: linseed oil, vegetal wax, rosemary, and citrus are used to seal the wood and enhance the look.
- All packaging materials are made from 100% recycled cardboard, biodegradable glue, and water-based inks.
- All wrapping material is either reused material or made from recycled paper.
- Reused boxes or recycled boxes are used to ship the products.
- We use Canada Post for all of our shipments to reduce the number of delivery trucks on the road.
- We keep electronic records to reduce printing. When we must print, we use double-sided printing.
JUstenbois Maple Wood Cutlery is a perfect addition to sustainable living practices. Explore our products to enjoy a new way of eating your favorite meals while giving back to nature.