Our annual reminder to honor and celebrate our planet has arrived, and it also comes with a sense of individual inner reflection and collective societal reflection. Many of us may feel discouraged knowing big changes must be implemented, leaving us feeling small and possibly incapable of doing so. But it is this discouragement that is the at the root of our stagnancy.
Earth Day is a time to highlight and celebrate the changes we have made on a personal and collective level, and it's equally as important to recognize where we must grow and improve as a species. Setting an example for your household, community, or business can be incredibly impactful and contagious. There are many small changes you can make to your daily routine can create massive waves. Businesses must also take responsibility for their practices and set an example for others in the industry. I believe Earth day is about shedding light on where there is room for growth.
3 Little Changes That Can Create Big Waves
I'm a firm believer that in order to change our environment, we must start within. That is where the ripples begin. So, let's first focus on what changes we can make in our own daily practices.
1. Reduce, reuse, recycle
I know, its cliché, but, recycling goes so much deeper than just tossing those glass bottles into a separate bin. It's about being innovative, creative, and mindful. So many containers that we use can be transformed into something else. You can pot plants in empty coffee tins, protein powder containers, milk jugs, and old tea pots. (Check out the feature photo in this post for examples!) Thrifted mugs make cute and unique homes for succulents. Donating your clothing and looking in thrift and consignment stores for new wardrobes before buying something brand new is also a great way to recycle. I also like to swap clothes with friends; we all get tired of our wardrobes, so it can be fun and free to trade with your pals! And I just learned a new way to recycle: washing out your plastic sandwich baggies and letting them dry to be reused before buying another box is a mindful and money-saving practice!
Photo credit: The Yummy Life
2. Grow your own veggies and herbs
This one may intimidate those who have no gardening experience, but fear not! You don't have to be a master gardener or have a ton of time on your hands to grow a few herbs in your window and some Tomatoes on your porch. Ever had to make a run to the store for one Tomato or a single pack of Chives for your dinner? We may not think about it at the time, but the fuel we use to drive there and the fuel, resources, and often plastic used to get that one package of Chives on the produce shelf is more than we can fathom sometimes. Especially if the produce is not local. Last summer, I grew Tomatoes, Chives, Rosemary, Mint, and a few other herbs on my tiny townhouse porch. I was surprised by how much I was stepping outside to grab something for my meals or for tea. And I bought all of these plants already started at my local gardening store. All I had to do was make sure they were getting sunlight and water. And no need to buy expensive pots — I recycled different sized tin cans to re-pot all of them in!
3. Cut out food waste
In my opinion, one of the biggest sustainability issues we face in the U.S. has to do with food. This is a multifaceted issue that deserves a lot of attention. But since we are starting within, let's talk about what we can do in our own household. If you ever throw away leftovers, you are already more privileged than the majority of the world. What you toss away could be a lifesaving meal for someone else. It could also turn into something that could be nutritive to soil that we may use in our home gardens. A big goal of mine is to not waste food. This takes a bit of extra planning, like going through your fridge weekly and freezing items you don't think you'll eat in time, or prepping dinners that can be turned into lunch the next day. I like to keep excess veggies from my dinner to be added to eggs in the morning or for a soup at lunch. And speaking of produce, composting is an excellent way to transform waste into a win. Composting sounds like messy business, but it's easier than you think! And there are many containers you can store your compost in that don't let the stink seep through. And, last but not least, donating to local food banks supports those in need in your community while decreasing waste.
3 Ways WishGarden Herbs Gets Green
There are many reasons why I love working for WishGarden, but while we're on the topic of sustainability, it's only right I brag about them some more! It's hard to narrow it down to just three, but I want to highlight some specific ways WishGarden is practicing Earthly mindfulness.
1. Next-level recycling/waste reduction
WishGarden takes extra steps to make sure we limit waste as much as possible. We have a system in place that allows us to recycle many different materials including plastics, bubble wrap, cardboard/paper, and Styrofoam. We recycle all of the containers that ingredients arrive in; we recycle our hair nets, foot guards, ear plugs, and gloves used in production with TerraCycle; we have eliminated packing peanuts from our shipping materials and almost all of our packing materials are 100% recyclable; and we chip and compost all our shipping pallets. We also compost food scraps and have an office garden. We practice electronic documenting and billing as much as possible. We strive to continue this and search for even more ways to be green.
2. Sourcing sustainable Osha and glycerin
WishGarden carefully selects herb distributors and farmers, always keeping quality and sustainability in mind and sourcing organic herbs from the United States as often as possible. We also use organic alcohol and glycerin and local Eldorado Springs water in all of our formulas. I personally really appreciate and feel the need to highlight that we source sustainably cultivated Osha. Not only did we re-formulate to significantly reduce the amount of Osha used in our formulas, we also removed it from some formulas all together. Osha is an amazing and effective plant, but the safety and longevity of the plant takes precedence. When we do use it, we make sure that it is harvested under Sustainable Harvesting Guidelines per the AHPA (American Herbal Product Association). We are so excited to be working with a farmer who has finally found success in ethically cultivating Osha! We're also proud of our sustainably sourced Palm glycerin. Most conventional Palm oil is sourced in an unethical manner, resulting in significant environmental destruction, species habitat loss, and social injustice. We've partnered with a Palm oil company that is a member of the RSPO and Rainforest Alliance certified. They value their workers, the land, and the planet!
WishGarden won a Green Business Silver Award in 2020. This is no small feat and is due to efforts in every department! We all have a carbon footprint to some degree — it's a part of being human. But putting energy into reducing that whenever possible is important. WishGarden has made many notable donations, especially to organizations that focus on plant sustainability. One I'd like to highlight is the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA). Their mission is “to promote the responsible and sustainable commerce of herbal products to ensure that consumers have informed access to a wide variety of safe herbal goods.” In the past year, WishGarden donated over $6,000 to AHPA to support this worthy mission.
I'm proud to work for a company whose views align with mine, and they have encouraged me to dig deeper into other companies I support to make sure their business practices lean on the side of green!
- On Sustainability: An Interview With WishGarden's Erin Smith
- Sustainably Cultivating Osha
- Sustaining Plants for a Sustainable Future
- Why WishGarden Uses Sustainably Sourced Glycerin
- 3 Ways Essential Oils Differ from Herbal Tinctures
Rebecca Younger aspires to spark an interest in herbs within her community through education and incorporating herbs into everyday life in exciting and innovative ways. She studied Herbal Medicine at Herbalism Roots in Denver. She is a customer journey representative at WishGarden Herbs.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, or sell any product.