Our 2017 #EcoResolutions

Our 2017 #EcoResolutions

Posted on Jan 15th 2017

Oh January, how I love thee – a new year, a fresh outlook, and a chance to commit (or recommit) to what’s important. And 2017 will be different!  Gone are the days of my half-baked resolutions (stop eating cheese, stop procrastinating, wake up earlier…) for which I don’t have a true passion.

This year, my resolutions will truly matter to me. In 2017, we – as a family and as the owners of EcoEnclose – are not just making “new year’s resolutions” – we are making three #EcoResolutions – specific commitments and behavioral changes to the way we operate and live our lives, to reduce our negative impact on the environment.  Of course, as we run an earth-friendly business, we are constantly looking for new green innovations and improving our operations to reduce our impact, but these three commitments were newly identified when I sat down on January 1st and thought about my commitments to Mother Earth.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our 2017 #EcoResolution competition! You can post your eco commitments for a chance to win $1,000 of EcoEnclose shipping supplies. Competition ends on Monday, February 20th!

EcoResolution #1: Start a warehouse garden

Now that we’re settled into our (not quite so new anymore) warehouse, it is time to get serious about greening the facility and grounds. And while we have already made progress – like making awesome pallet furniture – a warehouse garden is the most exciting! We’ll start our seedlings in March, and get them out into new plots come May. We also have good southern exposure and some home compost that is just begging to be productive. Thankfully, we have Sonya, a pretty incredible home gardener to guide us down this path. As we wait for early spring, we’ll have to settle for indoor growing – herbs and perhaps some oyster mushrooms from our seemingly endless supply of coffee grounds.

EcoResolution #2: Work towards zero waste

In 2017, our main focus is to do this at home, where we have the most room for improvement.

We are following the refuse – reduce – reuse – recycle mantra. Refusing and reducing is cathartic because, who needs more stuff and clutter in the house? We’re looking to get even better about food purchases, to minimize spoilage and unnecessary waste – making for a cleaner refrigerator.  And, we’ve had fun “reusing” in new, creative ways in just the past week. An old dessert packaging was reused as a picture frame for a collage of our son’s artwork from school. Old t-shirts were cut up to make towels, which we need in mass quantities with two little boys at home. And old playdough containers were used to make portable lip gloss.

And then recycling (or, rather composting or recycling) has been important. We don’t have municipal composting yet, but our home composting is moving along beautifully. We are also now ensuring that difficult to recycle items do not end up in our single stream recycling (where they would ultimately go to the landfill) and are isolating them to bring to EcoCycle.

Our strategy is to adopt these overarching mindsets, but to also identify one specific improvement area each month and focus on eliminating the waste associated with it.

January’s is food packaging. Yikes! We have moved to reusable glass milk jars, and are trying to make items at home (like yogurt and hummus) that we eat LOTS of. And for items we will buy in the store, we’re looking for only recyclable or compostable packaging.

If anyone out there has successfully moved to zero waste (or close to it!) please send tips to! It feels daunting and we’d love all the input we can get.

EcoResolution #3: Stop Purchasing Physical Goods from Amazon.

At EcoEnclose and at home.

Admittedly, Amazon is incredibly convenient, especially on those days when the calendar is jam packed. I’ve been known to use it as a crutch on many occasions.  Amazon also has a massive marketplace that helps many small businesses connect with customers. Amazon has moved the publishing world forward in innovative ways, making self-publishing possible and making great books available to communities that previously may not have had access to good bookstores and selection. Finally, Amazon is of course a major employer and job creator.

So by making this part of our EcoResolutions, we are not implying that everyone should cut off Amazon from their lives! The company clearly offers great value to its customers.

But we personally have decided to make this commitment in 2017 for a two reasons:

First, to support independent businesses with products that are high quality and durable.  In other words, to support our customers!  If environmental problems are to be solved, it will be done largely through those people and businesses that take a stand and commit themselves to changing for the better.  We want to use our dollars to support those businesses that have made a commitment and who are passionate and thoughtful about their raw materials, their supply chain, their production, their shipping and their employees. Our hats go off to them all!

Second, to support and encourage environmental transparency. Over the past five years, Amazon has been highly scrutinized and criticized for its environmental policies, including how they power their servers and their plants. Recently, they have made some great changes. However, they continue to lag behind their Fortune 500 competitors (including Google, Microsoft, Walmart and Best Buy) on a number of fronts such as renewable energy usage and electronics recycling. Additionally, its two-day free shipping for Prime members has made two-day shipping a cultural norm and expectation, despite the fact that this can be a major environmental burden. However, to us, the single most important criticism is that Amazon still refuses to disclose information about its energy use or produce a sustainability report. This type of transparency has become a norm among large technology companies and brick and mortar competitors. We believe strongly in the power of consumers to influence change through more thoughtful choices about where they shop and how they spend their money. By refusing to provide transparency, Amazon disempowers us from voting with our wallets.

We’ve recently become a Certified Green Business! Green America, the certifying organization, has been calling on Amazon to change its ways and to Build a Cleaner Cloud, and has published a myriad of resources to help consumers seeking alternative websites to Amazon.

If you have your own 2017 EcoResolutions, be sure to check out our 2017 #EcoResolution competition! You can post your eco commitments for a chance to win $1,000 of EcoEnclose shipping supplies. Competition ends on Monday, February 20th!