Remember when I asked you to think? Think next time you throw out those plastic rings that hold your 6-pack of Cokes together. Next time, take a moment to get your scissors out and snip all the rings/compartments. Otherwise defenseless creatures such as this poor turtle suffer immeasurably. Go here to see/read more about how our plastic affects wildlife (not just our planet).
I realized it’s been a while since I nagged you appropriately about your “greenness,” as it were. So pardon me while I hop up on my soap box for just a minute.
One if my single biggest pet peeves is plastic shopping bags. Please don’t use them. BRING YOUR OWN BAGS! Yes, folks, BYOB isn’t just about the booze—it’s about the unfortunate situation our poor planet has found itself in.
So many stores sell their own reusable bags now, and at such cheap prices, you have no excuse.
Therefore, I hereby challenge you to:
1.) Get your own set of reusable bags. Store them in your car, stash one or two in your purse, briefcase, gym bag, diaper bag, etc. My favorite for my purse is this one by Flip & Tumble because it balls up really small, but also holds a ton of stuff. If I keep one in my purse, it saves me from having to run back out to my car in case I forget my regular bags.
2.) Promise yourself that if you’re in the check-out line and you’ve left your bags in the car that you will: (a) run back out to your car even if everyone gives you the Evil Eye; or (b) buy another few reusable bags from wherever you are–if available; or (c) ask for paper bags (which aren’t innocent, either, but at least they are biodegradable); and (d) grovel at my feet and beg for mercy. If you only have a few things, see if you can just carry them out or stuff them in your purse. I have never understood people who walk away with a can of shaving cream or a single loaf of bread in a plastic bag. Seriously stupid. Seriously wasteful, ignorant, and lazy.**It should go without saying that these bags are not just for your groceries. Take them to Target. Take them to the mall. Use them for all of your shopping!
3.) Earn extra brownie points by going to http://www.etsy.com/ and doing a search for “reusable produce bags.” These are some of the ones I really like.
4.) Stop buying and drinking things that come in plastic bottles—water, soft drinks, sports drinks, etc. Invest in a Brita or a Pur filter for your water, because bottled water is the worst offense ever. If you insist upon drinking things in plastic, at least reevaluate how frequently you’re drinking/buying them. Reduce where you can.
These are very simple, but very effective ways to go green. I suggest starting small and doing things gradually so you don’t feel completely overwhelmed. If you already do these and/or you’re ready to move forward, think about:
1.) Recycling. Yes, I’m referring to those blue bins you leave at the curb. Check with your local recycling company to make sure you have a comprehensive list of what you can and can’t recycle at the curb. Make sure you realize that you can recycle the cardboard rolls in the middle of your paper towels & toilet paper. And empty cereal boxes. Empty Kleenex boxes. Newspapers. Other paper. Cans. Plastic bottles. You know the drill!
2.) Check out http://www.terracycle.net/ for ways to recycle commonplace things like kids’ juice pouches, chip bags, cookie bags, yogurt cups, and much more. Terracycle takes your trash and turns it into cash for the charity/school of your choice. I have started up a Juice Pouch Brigade for my temple. Terracycle takes these items and uses them to make cool things like tote bags, back packs, lunch kits, and much much more. Either contribute to a brigade elsewhere or consider starting up one of your own!
3.) Think of new uses for old things. Instead of putting it in the trash, can someone else use it? Can you donate it, list it on EBay or Craig’s List? Can you give it a second life? Really think each time you put something in your trash can.
4.) Use fewer paper towels. I despise paper towels. Yes, they are sometimes a necessary evil, but more often than not you can get by with some sponges, rags, towels, etc. I used to take a piece of fruit, rinse it, then lay it on a paper towel to cut it up for the kids’ breakfast. Now I rinse it and cut it right onto their plates instead. So many habits are so ingrained in us that they’re automatic and we don’t even think before we do it. Use your brain. Start to think.
If you are laughing at this or thinking I’m a raving mad green lunatic, please promptly educate yourself about the floating landfill in our Pacific Ocean that is chock full of plastic bags and lots of other fun things we humans use.