In honor of Earth Day on April 22, the Walls team is reflecting upon ways we as individuals are being eco-conscious in the workplace and at home. Here are some of the ways our team makes sustainable, earth-friendly choices.
What are some ways you are reusing, recycling, or preserving the planet? Tell us in the comments!
Mitchell Provensal: “My favorite thing to do is save kitchen scraps that I can make into vegetable stock. When I cut up onions, carrots, peppers, garlic, celery, etc, I take all the leftover scraps and put them into a bag in the freezer. Once the bag gets full, I'll make it into veggie stock. Once the stock is made, I will compost the boiled scraps. Also, any cooking water that I strain off when cooking, I will save till it cools down and water my plants with it.”
Laura Siu Nguyen: “Here is what the Nguyen household does: We recycle plastic bottles, I personally do my best to take a retail bag (like Trader Joe's) when I shop for groceries and I change all of my light bulbs to LED.”
Morgan Udoh: “My home and work eco-initiatives flow seamlessly into one another. At the height of the pandemic, pregnant at home I had the opportunity to compost, reuse, and reimagine all of our delivery packaging for cheap storage solutions at home and now craft supplies for my toddler.
When you get food delivery, like Hello Fresh, the box gets reused as storage for cardboard candles, slides, and 'houses'. The cardboard inserts become paintable
masks for [my toddler]. The coolant packs go straight into my deep freezer as a hedge against power outages with the impending hurricane season. Toilet paper rolls become dyed garland and flowers, or this winter, the perfect fire starters with a little dryer lint tucked in.
Anything that I can't reuse at home gets used by the art program as found object sculptural supplies, containers for organization, etc. In my goal to make our public art program as close to zero waste as possible, all brushes/roller pads are soaked in a mixture of water and hand sanitizer to dilute the paint (yay, pandemic stocks), then rinsed, dried, and combed for reuse.
Any tools that are too far dried out with acrylics get donated to our artists to use in sculptures. Empty paint buckets too! The leftover paint water is then evaporated until thick enough to repour into smaller containers for mini paint kits. The cardboard packaging goes to our Baton Roots farm to be used in our beds to block seed growth in-between plantings.”
Helena Williams: “Of course, there's having your own reusable shopping bags or a silicone straw, but I also look for items when purchasing that are not made of plastic. I may choose an item that comes in a paper box rather than plastic packaging, or a yogurt cup that is glass rather than a plastic cup.
When I do have a plastic item, I consider its reusability. If they have a lid, can I reaffix it and create a new container? How many uses could this plastic cup hold? Can I use it for planting if there's proper drainage?
Also, as I make plans for purchasing, I try to consider its longevity versus novelty. I ask myself: is this purchase going to look out of style in a few months or years? Can I update it easily by repainting it? After all my considerations, I make a choice. Not every choice is perfect. Many good intentions fall by the wayside to convenience. But I allow myself the grace to focus on the big picture and understand my place in it.”
Samantha Morgan: "At home, I am an avid composter because I use it in my garden! It not only helps my plants grow bigger, but it prevents food waste from ending up in landfills. It's a real win-win. Another small thing I do is try to conserve energy when possible. I use a washing machine, but I wash all my clothes with tap cold water, which prevents unnecessary use of the water heater. Around the house, we have all of our lights automated. We don't have to remember to turn off the lights because the house does it for us. Our thermostat is also automated to prevent it from running unnecessarily throughout the day.
Other small things around the home include using reusable items when possible. From the kitchen to the bathroom, we try to avoid one-time-use products as much as possible. In our closets, we avoid purchasing any new synthetic fiber clothes, which causes microplastics to enter the waterway. We try not to buy new things when possible. Creating more should be a goal to avoid, even though we live in a consumer-based society. We look for opportunities to share out what we have as well.
Most importantly, we try to educate ourselves on the products we're using. Sometimes things say they're good for the environment, but when you dig a little deeper, the company is actually a big-time polluter. With the environment becoming the focus of so much attention, people will try to take advantage of that. So, look beyond the label to find out more about where you're putting your purchasing power."