Did you know that the Lunar New Year also marks a season of spring cleaning?
It is a time for people to clean their homes, offices and even bodies to usher in new luck and prosperity. But if we are being honest, our planet needs a good spring cleaning too.
Most of us think of the environment only when it has become so damaged that it cannot be saved anymore. The truth is, we can start taking action now to reverse the damage that has been done. In this article, let’s explore how we can give our planet its own Lunar New Year spring cleaning.
The tradition of cleaning before Lunar New Year
Lunar New Year is a time for family, food, and fun – but it's also a time for cleaning. In many cultures around the world, spring cleaning is an important tradition that helps to ring in the new year fresh and clean.
While the act of physical cleaning is important, it's also symbolic of cleansing oneself of negativity from the past year and starting anew with a clean slate. As we think about ways we can improve our planet this year, let's take a cue from Lunar New Year and commit to doing some spring cleaning of our own – for the Earth.
There are many things we can do to help clean up our planet, but one simple place to start is by reducing our reliance on single-use plastics. Every year, scientists estimate an 8 million tonnes of plastic waste end up in our oceans, where it harms marine life and pollutes the water. This Lunar New Year, let's make a pledge to cut down on our use of plastic straws, water bottles, and grocery bags.
We can also commit to composting more of our food waste. According to the EPA, Americans throw away nearly 30% of the food they buy – that's roughly $160 billion worth of edible food every year! Not only is this bad for the environment, but it's also wasteful and expensive. This Lunar New Year, let's make a goal to compost more of our kitchen scraps instead of sending them straight to the landfill.
Clean your homes, clean the planet too
We often think of spring cleaning as something we do to our homes – a time to declutter, deep clean, and start fresh for the year ahead. But what if we applied the same principles to cleaning up our planet?
Just as we clear out the clutter and freshen up our homes in preparation for Lunar New Year, why are we not doing this to our planet more often? Our planet is home to an incredible array of plants and animals, many of which are endangered or on the brink of extinction. Let's start by making our homes more sustainable places to live. Here are some easy ways to get started:
1. Cut down on single-use plastics:
Whenever possible, choose reusable over disposable items. Bring your own shopping bags, water bottle, or switch to reusable toothbrush like BRiN’s SeaDifferently Original Toothbrush which happens to also made entirely of ocean bound plastic.
2. Recycle and compost:
Make sure you’re recycling all of your household waste properly. And if you have a green thumb, start composting! It’s a great way to reduce your food waste and help your garden grow. Here is a list of some great home-use composting bins as recommended by NYMag.
3. Save energy:
Save money and help the planet by conserving energy in your home. Turn off lights when you leave a room, unplug electronics when they’re not in use, and consider investing in energy-efficient appliances. You’d be surprised by how much energy your appliances or devices are home are consuming even when they’re turned off while still plugged, check yours at home with this calculator.
4. Reduce water consumption:
One easy way to save water is to install low-flow fixtures in your home. You can also try watering your plants with recycled rainwater or greywater from laundry or dishes.
By making small changes in our daily routines, we can collectively make a big difference for our planet.