There is no doubt that our choices impact the environment, and being conscious about environment is becoming the new normal. Recycling is well understood and is now an expectation, but is there more we can do beyond considering the end of a package’s life cycle? Habits focused on sustainability and renewability are key to answering this question. It’s comforting to know then, that 76 per cent of New Zealanders believe what they do at a local and personal level, including purchasing decisions, can have an impact on future generations.
Adopting environmentally sound practices in your lifestyle will do more than just protect the world we live in today. Did you know that such behavior can also lead you to feel happier? In a social experiment conducted in 2014, it was evidenced by 10 motivated mothers with very busy lives who were challenged to apply the concept of renewability to their lives, leading to increased happiness. So where does one start on this new journey?
Gain positivity by adopting sustainability and renewability as a lifestyle choice
Renewability, simply put, is the ability to renew. This means using a resource that can be regrown or replenished naturally over time. By adopting renewable sources or products in your life, you can be rest assured that the resource is part of a circular economy and does not have to negatively impact the environment compared to finite resources.
Simple measures such as choosing to walk, or cycle over taking the car where possible is one lifestyle change to adopt. Otherwise, choosing public transport or carpooling are the next best options. A couple of my favorite switches I made are using reusable cotton/mesh bags instead of plastic bags when I go shopping and reusable containers for my food and drinks when I’m on the go.
Renewability can also mean renewing one’s personal mental and physical energy, so taking time out to be outdoors, meditate and exercise all contribute to a positive well-being.
When it comes to purchasing decisions, such as choosing packages at the supermarket, choose packaging that comes from renewable sources, such as paperboard, or bio-based materials such as non-food grade sugar cane. Sources should be managed responsibly, with non-government organisations pledging to protect these forests and land to ensure the local eco-system and community are not harmed or exploited.
Recognising responsibly sourced packaging
To identify renewable and responsibly sourced packaging, all you need to do is to keep a look out for logos that will indicate responsibly sourced materials and sustainable practices.
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is the world’s most rigorous forest product certification and labelling scheme, and is the only forest label supported by environmental groups such as the World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace and The Australian Conservation Foundation.
The FSC label provides consumers an assurance that the wood and paper products they buy come from responsible sources and have been verified to meet FSC’s strict environmental and social standards. There are plenty of brands that feature the FSC label on their products, which will help make your choices easier when you shop. Since 2005, Tetra Pak has been fully committed to FSC certification, because it is important to protect food at the highest standard with the lowest possible impact to the environment. While you might not be familiar with Tetra Pak, it is likely that one of your long-life milk, juice or coconut water cartons is in a Tetra Pak carton. The great thing about Tetra Pak cartons is that they are mainly made out of renewable resources, which is paper made from 100 per cent FSC certified and controlled wood.
Renewability and responsible sourcing in packaging is vital to the future of our planet to help offset pending resource scarcity, mitigate changes in climate patterns, maintain carbon sinks, and conserve biodiversity. Using renewable resources whenever possible will have a positive impact on our global economic stability and the ongoing health and biodiversity of our planet. Something as simple as choosing your favourite drink in an FSC-labelled carton means you’re choosing a world where forests keep growing, where there’s a future for both people and wildlife. I recommend that you start implementing these small but meaningful changes, for a happier and more sustainable outlook on life.