Published:
April 19, 2021
Last Updated:
April 21, 2021

IIN Staff Picks: Living Sustainably and Reducing Waste

To celebrate and honor the earth on Earth Day, we asked IIN staff to share how they reduce their carbon footprints, live sustainable lives, reduce the amount of trash they produce, and encourage others to do the same.

What efforts do you make to live more sustainably?

“I am religious about carrying my own reusable bag. I never, ever want to bring home another plastic shopping bag.”

– Libby Romfh, Project Management Office

“At home, we compost and use it for our spring and summer garden. We also try to use many of our recyclables to make art projects with the kids! We buy in bulk and in stores that refill some of our containers. We support nonplastic brands, solid shampoo, and bamboo toothbrushes and always wash and reuse our glass jars.”

– Luisa Tamara-DeSantis, Sales

“I joined a group on Facebook called ‘Buy Nothing.’ There are different subgroups based on the neighborhood you live in. People post all kinds of things they need as well as things they want to give away – everything from clothing to furniture – and because everyone in the subgroup lives so close, you can give away and get things for free. These are good, used, sometimes brand-new things you need. And it's nice to meet your neighbors!”

– Heather Freudenthal, Education

“Before COVID, I loved taking my compost to the farmers’ market every Sunday. I would save my food scraps from the week in my freezer in a little bucket or brown bag. When Sunday came around, I took a little stroll to the Jackson Heights Farmers’ Market and deposited the scraps with the rest of the communal compost. It made me feel good and in a small way I was making a contribution to Mother Earth.”

– Eugenia Escudero, Student Success

“I’m continuously educating myself through documentaries and being more cautious to use less plastic, including bringing my own bags to grocery stores, cutting up the plastic I do use (I'm not perfect and can't eliminate it completely), using metal straws, and picking up trash I see when I'm out and about.”

– Sujin Park, Marketing

“Last year, my family successfully made the transition to having a nonplastic kitchen. We love it and are slowly figuring out ways to make our bathroom nonplastic, too! This year, we also committed to getting involved as ‘citizen scientists.’ We've been active with a number of organizations that need help from everyday individuals to do everything from water-quality tests to backyard bird counts. This easy way to get involved provides more comprehensive data to researchers studying sustainable-living causes.”

– Cheri Johnson, Education

“When I'm tempted to purchase something that's more of a want than a need, I call my brother, who inevitably tells me, ‘You don't need that crap.’ With the click of a button, the world can deliver to your doorstep an endless supply of stuff that is awesome but you don't need. It's a good idea to conjure a miserly curmudgeon's mantra before purchases.”

– Darrell Rogers, Advocacy

How would you encourage others to reduce their carbon footprints?

“I have all my neighbors and family bring us their compost. Even a local restaurant has started to compost their fruits and vegetables in our garden!”

– Luisa Tamara-DeSantis, Sales

“Consider textiles when reducing your carbon footprint. So many clothes and linens end up in the landfill, and yet there are many things we can use these items for in our everyday lives. In addition, use earth-friendly household cleaners.”

– Janet Verney, Education

“I would recommend that when you are out shopping for groceries you take a look at how the packaging of the products are made. Just being mindful of this and thinking about why I’m buying something in particular has actually given me a sense of power as a consumer. Also, try to avoid plastic as much as you can, and if you have the luxury of a backyard, consider starting your own composting! You will be feeding important nutrients to the earth from food scraps.”

– Eugenia Escuerdo, Student Success

“Reduce the amount of animal-based food in your diet. Increase plant-based food. Eat foods grown locally and in season whenever possible.”

– Noah Zingarelli, Education

“Focus on the smallest things you can change – like using reusable water bottles and drying your hands on real towels instead of paper towels. I think doing small things consistently is going to make much more of a difference over your lifetime than trying to be overly extreme. If we all just do our personal best and practice an 80/20 rule when it comes to sustainability, we'll be in better shape than we are now. We don't need to be perfect.”

– Marissa LaRocca, Education

“As individuals, one of the most powerful ways we can communicate our environmental values is through our dollars. I try to teach my kid and those around me that supporting sustainable products and ways of living is like voting with our bank accounts. We shop carefully and intentionally and do our research. We're so lucky to live in an age of alternatives and choices! My family has also been a public transport or one-car household whenever possible and try to set the example for others around us.”

– Cheri Johnson, Education

“Cut back on clothing shopping. Ditch fast fashion.”

– Deneen Jackson, Student Adviser

What actions have you taken to reduce the amount of waste you produce?

“Think about whether there’s a real need and use for something before purchasing. Will it provide joy? Will it simply be another item to care for and possibly distract you from the healthy things you enjoy?”

– Darrell Rogers, Advocacy

“I try to reuse everything as much as I can – from containers to bottles.”

– Sujin Park, Marketing

“Although I live in the city, I keep separate containers for biodegradable waste and ‘recyclables’ (paper, hard plastic, glass, and metals). What I've discovered is that the biodegradable waste fits in 1–2 large yogurt containers per week. The ‘recyclables’ fill my reusable shopping bag twice per week. But the ‘nonrecyclable’ packaging for the food that created that waste fills an entire kitchen trash can. Separating it this way has made me much more aware of my impact on the environment.”

– Libby Romfh, Project Management Office

“My family built and maintains a giant compost bin for the households in my apartment complex. In addition to recycling, it's been a really easy way to keep as much of our waste out of landfills and the ocean garbage patches as possible. We're also really conscious about consuming secondhand products when we can (trendy thrift-store clothes are the best!) or sourcing from responsible companies that use little packaging when we have to buy new.”

– Cheri Johnson, Education

“My family and I eliminated all the food waste in our home. We compost, use bokashi fermentation, and feed food scraps to our chickens! We also shred all the cardboard that comes into our home and use it as mulch.”

– Sheri Vettel, Education

“This week, when I went to do my laundry, I only used the washing machine and then air-dried my clothes at home instead of using the laundromat's dryer. I figured it would save me a few coins and also make my clothes last a lot longer! I am also a big fan of thrift stores and love recycled fashion. Every few months, I will take some of my clothes that no longer fit or I no longer wear to a thrift store and see if I can get cash back or just donate them. One of my little joys is going to thrift stores because you never know what you will find!”

– Eugenia Escudero, Student Success

“We buy food in bulk to reduce packaging waste. We compost food scraps and recycle whatever we can.”

– Noah Zingarelli, Education

Why are these efforts important to you?

“I can't take my things with me when I'm gone. It was a daunting task cleaning out the home of an elderly parent. The amount of stuff never used was shocking. I don't want to burden family with taking care of the cleanup.”

– Deneen Jackson, Student Adviser

“We are living in an era of an overabundance of ‘stuff’ – none of which is really going to make us happy deep down. It makes me feel cluttered and disorganized to be surrounded by so much, and I'm worried we have lost the capacity to live simply and to give and take from the earth. This has led to all kinds of damage to our planet, as well as our humanity, and of course, animals. And it's just not necessary.”

– Heather Freudenthal, Education

“I want to protect the environment. Nature heals. We need to take care of the earth if we want it to take care of us.”

– Marissa LaRocca, Education

“These efforts are important to me because we should be treating the environment that is our home to be the cleanest and healthiest it can be. It makes me sad knowing that most of us aren't aware of the consequences we are causing with our unsustainable actions.”

– Sujin Park, Marketing

“I think these little efforts are important and they add up. Every day, there is a lot of waste and garbage I see thrown away on the streets of New York. It really is a tragedy how we throw things away so easily when someone else, who might be less fortunate, could use the same item. I believe since we are part of this planet, we should try harder to be more sustainable as a thank-you to Mother Earth, who does love us and wants to live, too.”

– Eugenia Escudero, Student Success

“Sometimes it feels like we can't make any difference in the world, but we absolutely can. Vote with your dollar. Support products, businesses, and organizations working to better the planet.”

– Noah Zingarelli, Education

“These efforts not only protect the health of our planet, but they ultimately protect human health, too. I believe these efforts are part of my dharma. I also want to set a positive example for my boys.”

– Sheri Vettel, Education

“It is important to be the best example to my kids and leave a cleaner world.”

– Luisa Tamara-DeSantis, Sales

“I love spending time in nature, and it breaks my heart to see the negative impact humans have on the oceans, forests, and fields.”

– Libby Romfh, Project Management Office

“The earth and its health are everything. I've brought my kid into a world that needs healing, and I want to be part of that effort for him and everyone else who will need this planet for centuries to come. Humans can live responsibly in communion with the gorgeous complexities of nature, but it will require self-reflection and action from each of us to make it a success. It's exciting to be part of the effort!”

– Cheri Johnson, Education

Working toward a more sustainable future

We can all help create a healthier world for future generations; we just have to make the effort to begin! Reducing the amount of waste we each produce, recycling what we can, and reusing what we have are basic steps we can each take to start living more sustainable lives. At IIN, we are dedicated to providing resources and education that can help keep us – and our earth – as healthy as possible.

The Integrative Nutrition Curriculum

Ready to turn your passion for health and wellness into a lucrative and fulfilling career helping others? Find out how our innovative curriculum, world-class instructors, and comprehensive student resources can give you everything you need to change your life and be successful.

Blog Article Curriculum Guide V2 (small/tokens)

Get Curriculum Guide

By clicking 'Download Curriculum Guide', I consent to Integrative Nutrition and its affiliates contacting me by email at the address provided and/or by telephone at the number provided (by live, automated, or prerecorded phone calls or text messages) about its courses. I understand that my consent is not required for enrollment and may be withdrawn.