If you use canvas shopping bags, rely on a refillable drink cup, and recycle your cans, boxes, and jars, you might consider yourself quite eco-friendly. But, you’d be wrong. While these efforts are commendable, they’re not enough to wear the badge of an eco-warrior.
Take the eco-friendly mini quiz
To see just how eco-friendly you are, read through the true/false statements below. Count how many statements you answer ‘true’ to.
- You consider smoking a health and environmental hazard.
- You get to work by carpooling, walking, or riding your bike.
- You have sworn off coffee.
- You compost food scraps.
- You pack a waste-free lunch.
- You believe recycling is NOT the answer to the earth’s pollution problem.
- You’re willing to refill bottles to cut down on single-use plastics.
What was your score?
If you answered true for 1-5 of the questions, you’re an eco-dreamer. In other words, you make small efforts to help the planet, but mostly you dream of easier solutions.
If you answered true to six questions, you’re an eco-changer. You’re truly changing your lifestyle to help the environment.
If you answered true to all seven of the questions, congratulations, you’re an eco-warrior. An eco-warrior is willing to make significant lifestyle changes to protect the environment and realizes that many of the suggested solutions like recycling simply aren’t enough.
A closer look at the eco-friendly quiz questions
To better understand your eco-friendly rank, it might be interesting to learn more about the seven statements above and why they play such an important role in the environmental movement.
Smoking is bad for your health and the planet. From deforestation that’s done to plant tobacco to the plastic filters that take decades to break down, to the loads of cigarette butts that are littered across the ground – smoking is terrible for the environment.
- Car pooling
Carpooling or riding a bike to work cuts down on fossil fuels. While it’s a great idea, just 9% of Americans carpool and even fewer bike or walk to work.
How can coffee hurt the planet, you ask? Coffee is a highly traded commodity that monopolizes field space, is served in single-use cups, and is usually accompanied by little plastic straws for stirring – all of which is bad news for the environment.
Does your household commit to zero food waste? Do you reheat leftovers, turn scraps into juices or stock, and compost what’s left? It’s a big commitment, but when 30-40% of the American food supply is wasted, it’s a necessary change.
- Waste-free lunch
When you pack your lunch, is it waste-free? In other words, are you using biodegradable wrap, a bento box, and reusable silverware? It’s a great goal to set, but it does take planning.
Recycling is helpful, but a true eco-warrior knows that recycling is not a solution to the massive environmental problems we face. Even if everyone recycled, which only 32% do anyway, it’s not enough. Besides the fuel use and pollution generated by picking up curbside recycling, a lot of recycled items end up in the landfill anyway because they’re dirty or the recycling plant doesn’t have room.
- Refill bottles
The technology exists for consumers to refill bottles of their favorite products like shampoo, laundry detergent, and fabric softener, but retailers don’t believe consumers will take advantage of it. Would you? If so, sign this petition to show your support for refillable technology.
No matter how eco-friendly you are, it’s safe to say that most people can do better. This year, try to add two new eco-friendly efforts to your life like packing a zero-waste lunch, giving up coffee, making your cleaning products, relying on reusable diapers, or installing eco-friendly appliances.