At the Store
The next time you are at the store
and hear the question: “Paper or plastic?” wouldn’t it be great if you could
say with confidence: “Neither, thank you!”
Free plastic shopping bags are a
major source of pollution in our landfill and our waterways. While many
consider them free trash bags, most still end up as waste and that’s a problem.
Animals mistake plastic pieces for food and many die or choke to death. Made
from non-renewable resources like petroleum, flimsy plastic bags have polluted
our streams and oceans to the extent that California has banned them
altogether. China got rid of them and in Europe you have to pay for them at the
store. The solution: BYOB or Bring Your Own Bags. Canvas bags and plastic bags
made from recycled plastic are available for purchase everywhere these days.
Keep some in your trunk or purchase a lightweight canvas version to keep in
your purse. If you have to choose between plastic or paper, choose paper and recycle
them. If you already have a stash of plastic bags collected, bring them to your
supermarket and look for a recycling bin designated for shopping bags.
Head over to your favorite farmers'
market, where the products have only traveled a few miles versus the average
1,500 miles that food travels from farm to plate.
Did you know that 40% of all food in
the United States will never be eaten? Reduce waste by making meal plans and
compost your food waste whenever possible.
At the supermarket, look for products
that have recycled contents like trash bags, aluminum foil or plastic storage
bags. Many items have an environmentally friendly ‘cousin’ that looks the same
and works the same but was produced with much less energy and material.
Recycled toilet paper, for example, is paper made from paper and not trees. It
takes one tree (usually Eucalyptus) to produce 1,000 rolls. Just asking for
environmentally sound products will help the managers to respond to stock more
of the greener items.
Buying New Appliances
When it comes to buy new appliances,
consider buying only ENERGY STAR labeled products. Remember, appliances always
comes with two price tags: what you pay to take it home and what you pay for
the energy and water it uses. ENERGY STAR rated appliances use 10–50% less
energy and water than standard models. You save money and the environment!