In an age of single serve coffee, individually wrapped anything, plastic silverware and opulence in the form of pre-packaged “on-the-go” dining, we have seen an increase in the size of our landfills and trash in our oceans. We all have a pretty good idea of what we can do on a daily basis to help reduce our impact: using reusable bags, composting and recycling, and using green alternative methods of cleaning just to name a few. As a society, we’ve become inundated with “don’t do this”, “you can’t do that” and the overwhelming, “you still do that!?”. Instead of focusing on what we can’t do, as most of us don't enjoy being told what to do, why don’t we look at all the ways we can help to lessen our weight on this planet?
Roughly 50 million pounds of toothbrushes are added to the landfills each year. No, that doesn’t mean you should stop brushing your teeth. As your general practitioner, I can’t advise that. What I can suggest is that when your manual toothbrush starts to fray, instead of throwing it away in the trash can, recycle it. Another way would be to trade in that manual toothbrush for a reusable, electric one. Your standard electric toothbrush starts out around $60, whereas your standard toothbrush runs you about $2 at your local grocery store. If you bought a electric toothbrush and used it 2X a day for 15 days, your new toothbrush would have “paid for itself”.
We know you’ve been diligent about flossing. So diligent that you’ve invested in the nifty single-use flossing picks. Great for on the go, sure. Easy to bring with you and you don’t have to deal with cutting off circulation to your fingertips trying to get a decent hold on the waxy string. Or, since you’ve been on your game at the gym and now your upper body strength rivals that of the Hulk, the string breaks every time you try and floss. We get it, flossing in general isn’t convenient. There are a plethora of alternative options out there, you could floss “old school” and buy the traditional container (recycling the container when you are done), you could purchase organic silk thread, vegan threads, biodegradable threads. Some companies have gone so far as to find alternative ways to house their floss, such as metal or cardboard. Finding a happy balance between your budget and flossing goals is a journey unto itself.
With the rise of social media platforms and the internet, we are more than aware of what our current carbon footprint looks like. Even more, we have the resources to self-educate on what we can do to lessen our imprint on this plant. We as Americans have come leaps and bounds. In September of 2017, about 200 retailers in Seattle agreed to exchange plastic straws for compostable ones. The city of Portland has committed to a goal of meeting 100% of their communities energy needs with renewable power by the year of 2050. Americans are now recycling roughly 34.3% yearly. Recycling and composting has prevented 87.2 million tons of material from being disposed in 2013. Every little bit counts! We have made great strides! Keep it going and pay it forward.
~ First Impressions Dental Care
(sources upon request)
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