Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day

It's time for my annual How to Save the Earth in 25 easy steps blog. I will also mention that while I am typing this at 8:00 AM, I have been up for three hours and so my little schedule experiment is still in effect (more on that in a future blog). As said in years past, these are all things that I in fact do myself, or would not be recommending them otherwise.

1) Remove your lids before you recycle. All of you should realize that you are supposed to remove the lids from your bottles before you recycle...but how many of you know how important this is? At many recycling plants, if they find bottles with lids on them they throw the bottle in the trash rather than remove the lid. Great recycling!!
2) And while you're at it, take your plastic lids to any AVEDA salon and have them recycle the lids! Aveda will recycle any hard plastic lid (soda bottles, shampoo bottles, toothpaste, laundry detergent) for no charge. Click on the link above for more details.
3) Educate yourself and others. I regularly read books, websites, etc. on "green" topics. There are some "green" things that are slightly controversial, and I think it's important for you to weigh the pros and cons of each. A lot of these hints are coming from one of my most recent reads: The Big Green Purse by Diane MacEachern.
4)Eco-Friendly Dry Cleaning: There are several different types of "green" dry cleaning. I recently started taking my dry cleaning to the Dry Cleaning Station which is committed to using environmentally friendly methods. My clothes feel and smell nicer than with traditional dry cleaning too!
5) Use all in one cleansers. Cut down on the amount of packaging you are using by just using one cleanser for everything. While you think you need that one specifically for counter tops or whatever, I'll break the news to you, that's actually all just a marketing ploy.
6) Stop buying CDs. EVERYONE has a MP3 player, right? What do you need a CD for when you probably don't like half the songs anyway? Just buy the MP3's. If you're worried about listening in your car, once you find the songs you actually like THEN burn a cd.
7) Buy concentrated. Whether it's juice or laundry detergent, buy concentrated to use less packaging.
8) Cut down on your personal chemicals. Do you really need a separate lotion for your feet? All those different chemicals aren't good for you or the environment, so try to cut out one product. Or cut out a day of the week by taking a makeup free day when you're not going out of the house.
9) Educate others. I think this was in one of my previous lists, but it's super important. First think about how what you're doing is helping the environment. Now think about how great it would be if all your friends were doing that too! Earth Day is a great opportunity. Post an earth friendly reminder on your facebook!
10) Ask people what they want for a present and then give it! The next time a birthday or holiday comes up and you have no idea what to get someone, ASK! It will reduce the number of unwanted presents being regifted, donated or (gasp) thrown away.
11) Compost! Don't give me the "I live in an apartment" excuse. There are plenty of ways to compost for everyone. I'm lucky enough to have a neighborhood compost pile and my mom gave me a counter top compost container that has a filter so I just keep everything in there until I'm driving by the compost pile.
12) Buy wine. It seems like vineyards are almost everywhere now. And while there are some pretty terrible local vineyards, there are some pretty good ones too. Do your research!
13) Read the labels. Less ingredients is more. Look for the seals of approval such as certified organic, shade grown, fair trade, etc.
14) Take your shoes off. When you enter your house, take your shoes off. This lengthens the life of your carpet and reduces the need for carpet cleaners.
15) Watch TV with a friend -- save energy and have fun!
16) Students, rent your text books. I use and LOVE IT!
17) Avoid anti-bacterials...ok, germophobes, I'm ready for you to jump all over me, but hear me out. A 2005 US FDA panel concluded there is no benefit to using antibacterials over just soap and water. In addition, the chemicals are bad for the environment (and the general health overall because of increasing immunities to antibiotics).
18) Dryer balls. This is one of those controversial topics, but I'll give you my point of view and then you can decide. I use dryer balls instead of fabric softener. Yes, dryer balls are made of PVC's that aren't recyclable. But (until recently) I wasn't recycling the lids of fabric softener containers either. Plus reusable dryer balls save the energy used to produce multiple containers of fabric's up to you.
19) Make your own cleaners. A lot of places tell you to make your own cleansers using vinegar, I do not for the fear that my house will smell like vinegar all the time. I do however use baking soda instead of buying soft scrub and it works excellently.
20) Read online rather than print. Whether it's newspapers or your marketing case, read the online version and save paper.
21) Water plants in the morning or early evening. You'll lose less water from evaporation.
22) Recycle your batteries. If you are not using rechargeable batteries (which you should be), take them to places like Best Buy that have recycling programs and while you're at it drop off your ink cartridges there as well.
23) Wash your laundry in cold water. It does just as good of a job.
24) Get rid of clutter before you move (and don't just throw it out either!) Not only will unpacking be a lot easier, you'll save gas from not transporting all that extra crap.
25) "Sleep" your computer. If you're going to be away from your computer for more than 20 minutes, put your computer to bed and save energy.

Get out there Planeteers!

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