Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!
Why We Must Reduce our Plastic Production and Use
Plastic pollution cannot be solved overnight. It takes the efforts of each and every one of us to help heal our planet from this global crisis that we have created. Why does this matter? Plastic waste is harming our air, water, and wildlife at every phase of its existence, from the extraction of the fossil fuels it’s made of to the discarded single-use bags that choke and kill sea turtles.”
Our coral reefs are taking a hard hit from our plastic waste and the dumping of toxic chemicals in the ocean. Between 2014 and 2017, Chasing Coral captured a record-breaking coral bleaching event from 2014 to 2017, in which 75% of corals suffered or died from heat stress due to climate change. Coral bleaching happens when a coral’s environment becomes too warm, and the algae that provide the coral with nutrients begin to produce toxins that harm the coral. This is what gives the coral a bleached appearance. Essentially, the coral in the ocean are losing their food source and are dying. If this does not change, by the end of the century every reef in the world will be bleached. Without the oceans’ coral reefs, our entire planet’s ecosystem will be devastatingly affected.
The bottom line is that all of us on this earth are affected by plastic waste.
Even more devastatingly, the US currently ranks as the world’s leading contributor of plastic waste. This should give each and every American more incentive to get proactive in the fight against plastic waste. According to Recycle Across America, when U.S. recycling levels reach 75%, we will have reached the environmental and CO2 equivalent of removing 55 million cars from U.S. roads each year. While our recycling levels are currently at 21.4%, we have a long way to go as a nation.
How to Reuse in the Barn
There are many ways to reuse common single-use plastics in the barn. Try reusing feed bags to hold baling twine, trash, recycling, or other bags. Spray bottles are great for mixing your own fly spray or detangler over and over. You can also reuse many containers from various items to organize other items in the barn, like screws, clips, tools, halters, etc. The list goes on and on! Slap a label on each container, and you’ll never have to dig through a junk draw again.
Plastic containers can also make great DIY toys for horses! Drill a few holes in a plastic container, stuff some horse cookie crumbles inside, close shut, and hang up in their stall to munch and crunch until they get the treats out! If your horse is on stall rest, this makes a great environmental enrichment toy.
How is the Horse Industry Taking an Initiative to Recycle?
The need to recycle is at an all-time high, even though it seems that many organizations are heading backward in their efforts. In California. a state known for its progressive recycling, more than 1,000 recycling plants have shut down since 2018. With more recycling plants closing down, it is more critical than ever for us within the equine industry to take ownership of the part we play in plastic waste.
Have you ever noticed how much single-use plastic we throw away at the barn? Or how about the abundance of overflowing trash cans and lack of recycling bins on horse showgrounds? Thankfully, organizations like Green is the New Blue are stepping up and taking the initiative to fight our plastics problem. We encourage all horse owners and businesses to get involved!
Recycling Tip: Look for a local plastic bag recyclable drop-off location. Most grocery stores in California have a plastic bag drop-off program! You can search for the nearest drop-off location here.
How A to Z Horse Cookies is Reducing Our Plastic Waste
We have been hard at work developing a way to reduce our single-use plastic packaging and opting for a more sustainable packaging option. We are moving away from our original plastic containers, and instead, we are packaging your delicious horse cookies in cardboard boxes. These boxes are more environmentally friendly and can be easily recycled!
“After doing the research and learning about the state of our oceans and how many plastic bottles and bags end up in our oceans, I knew we needed to do our part for the environment. Being an animal lover, I have such a soft spot in my heart for whales, dolphins, and otters, which happen to be my favorite mammals.”
-Cheryl Sandri, A to Z Horse Cookies Co-Founder
We have been able to achieve an 80% reduction in plastic here at A to Z Horse Cookies! Our horse cookies will still come in a sealable plastic baggie within each cardboard box. These baggies are needed to keep the horse cookies fresh and moisture-free during transportation when we ship them out to you. Fortunately, these baggies have the potential to be reused many many times in the barn, like for portioning out meals if you are going away, holding other feeds or supplements, or containing various small items. We have also decided to keep the 15lb plastic containers because many of our customers re-use them around the barn for other feeds and containing things like nuts and bolts.
While we are extremely excited about these numbers, we will continue to work towards reducing our plastic waste and always welcome any customer feedback or ideas you might have!