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Little Things I Do For the Sake of the Environment

  • Mar 18, 2010
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All the great reviews in @Clay_Miller's Green Living Community has inspired me to create this list.  I may not be the most eco-conscious person out there (workin' on it!), but I try. Here are the little things that I do in my every day life to be more eco-conscious.  Many of these things are simple to do and are not only great for the environment, but great for you, those around you and future generations.

If I can do it, anyone can do it, too!  And if you have any of your own tips, please do share in your comments! :)
Paperless E-Statements
Not only does going paperless save paper, but it saves other resources needed to print and mail statements. Plus, I don't have piles of bills stacked up on my desk, I don't need to shred anything, and I don't suffer a major freak out from the size of my bills ;)
CFLs shine bright, last longer, and save tons of energy. Plus, the government and many companies have been subsidizing the cost of CFLs for consumers in hopes that more people convert, so it's a no brainer that once my old light bulbs burnt out, I replaced them all with CFLs.  One downer about these is that they're highly toxic to the environment if broken and/or not disposed of properly because of the mercury it contains.  Check out this page from the EPA to find out what to do if your CFL bulb breaks or you need to dispose of it.
anti-littering campaign
Don't be a litterbug. Throw your trash in the proper receptacles. It's really not that hard and is an easy and good habit to adopt. Not only is littering unsightly, but it's harmful the environment and to wildlife, so just don't do it. Take care in what you dispose of, though, and where you dispose it.  Some things can't just be simply tossed in the trash, like CFL lights and batteries.  Check out this e-cycling review.
Like not littering, recycling is an easy and good habit to adopt. First, try to reuse, but if that's not possible, find out if it's recyclable and what the proper protocol is for recycling certain things. Recycling makes me feel great :)
Conserve water. Don't turn on the dishwasher or washing machine if there's only a couple dishes or shirts to wash; wait for a full load. Try to water the lawn when it's not sunny so that the water doesn't get evaporated away and try not to take such long showers.
iPhone 3Gs
Unplug any unused appliances, like your cellphone charger, for instance. This prevents phantom energy consumption because believe it or not, even if you're not actively using a plugged in device, it's still sucking up energy. So if you're not charging batteries, unplug the charger, and if you've got something on standby mode that you pretty much never use, like a stereo system, just unplug it.
See the full review, "iPhone 3GS: I Don't Ever Wanna Be Without You.".
I walk places when I can, and if I had a bike, I'd bike. There's nothing quite like taking a walk to appreciate Mother Nature and/or the urban sprawl. Plus, it's great exercise!
Like walking, I take public transportation when I can. Less car emissions, and you don't have to deal with parking. Plus, in an urban city like San Francisco, public transportation is always an adventure! And if you're going out for a night on the town, you can get your drink on ;)
Toyota Camry
Sometimes, walking, biking, and taking public transportation just isn't handy, and a car is necessary. In that case, try to get something that best fits your needs with good mileage. Bonus for hybrid vehicles. Too often, I see people who don't have a big family and who rarely ever take advantage of the size of their car with SUVs seemingly just for the sake of having a large car. Don't be that guy.
Buy in bulk. Costco and other warehouse stores are great for that. Granted I don't buy a lot of fresh produce there since I can't eat it all, but there are plenty of other things I can buy in bulk there, like office supplies, culinary ingredients, and their infamous toilet paper. You save money, and it's good for the environment because typically less packaging is used.
Reusable Shopping Bag
I've seen reusable shopping bags given away at street fairs and trade shows, and I've seen them sold at many stores for dirt cheap, like around 50 cents or a dollar, so there's no excuse not to pick a couple up if you haven't already, because nobody needs a gazillion plastic or paper bags.
Organic Fruits and Vegetables
Yeah, it generally costs a bit more, but if you can afford it, it's totally worth it. It may just all be in my head, but I swear eating organic tastes and makes me feel better.  Especially after watching King Corn, I've been making an effort to put more organic foods into my diet.  I do not need any genetically modified foods in my body!
I might not be a full on vegetarian, but unless I dine with people, my diet is generally vegetarian.  Sure, meat can be tasty, but it's not always great for you or the environment.  Many acres of trees are constantly being cut down for farmland.  If you do eat meat though, try to go organic.  For some great veggie dining tips, check out this Vegan Living Community.
Public Libraries
Public libraries are great resources to check out books, movies and music for free, so take advantage of it! It'll save you money and keep your house less cluttered. This may also reduce the all the paper and other resources that go into making these materials. Save the purchases for the must-own books and movies ;)
I don't do this all the time, but once in a while depending on the restaurant, I do bring my own tupperware to take food to go or to order takeout. No need for that styrofoam and paper packaging. Sometimes when I go to cafes, I bring my own coffee mug, and when I go to Asian restaurants, I have a pair of plastic chopsticks in my bag (totally Chinese!). I try not to consume all that wasteful packaging. Plus, that packaging is probably not good for your health either. For instance, disposable wooden chopsticks contain a lot of bleach.

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April 28, 2011
Great list and I am on board withmost of them. Don't know if I could ever eat a vegetarian det though. It sure is a lot healthier!
March 26, 2010
Yuck! I never knew that about the bleach in the disposable wooden chopsticks! I won't be using those again. Thanks for the info.
March 26, 2010
When dining at Asian restaurants, they're kind of hard to avoid. I try to bring my own, but I prefer it when restaurants don't use the disposable ones, but use the reusable ones!
March 21, 2010
Great list! I should start my own. I do all of these things too, except my car's not a hybrid, and I am a vegetarian all the time. I wonder if I can add anything else--or make a list of GOALS to shoot for to live greener. What's great about these too is that most of them also save money :)
March 24, 2010
Thanks, Teresa! Yes, I'd love to see a list of goals to shoot for greener living! And you're right, a lot of these are totally win-win-win habits that are beneficial all around :)
March 20, 2010
Great thinking, Debbie! Hopefully one day it'll be second nature to us all! Excellent list!
March 24, 2010
Thanks, Sharrie! I hope so, too :)
March 19, 2010
toot..toot!!! Lady D doing what she can for mother Earth! make way! seriosly, excellent list. I confess, I am not 100 % on this list (dang, I love meat) but I try my best (especially #'s 1-11) for the most part. All my bills are paperless, but it sure doesn't work sometimes when my major bank and Comcast still sends me paper statements despite the fact that I signed on paperless. However, I can't afford a new car right now, so I am sticking to my Beemer...'sides Toyota is all messed up these days ;-)
March 20, 2010
LOL, I guess I should start blasting a certain Ludacris song ;P And 1-11's not bad at all! Heck, get out of Woo's way! ;)
March 19, 2010
Thanks for the props and the list. This is one great list. I'll be tweeting this list several times. It would be great for everyone to examine this list topic for themselves. Little things can become big things.
March 19, 2010
Thanks, Clay! I saw that last night and am flattered! And you're right -- a little can go a long way :)
March 19, 2010
WoW!! Please Don't doubt yourself!!! That is a great and many people not only do not do what you do, but don't have the ability to. You should definitely give yourself a great pat on the back. Thanks for sharing this with all of us!
March 19, 2010
Aw, thanks! I grew up and still love around the Berkley/SF college town/hippieville, so with all the green movement and protests around me, I can't help but feel like I'm not doing enough. I try though :P
March 18, 2010
Fantastic list, Debbie. I just converted all my bills to online statements and it makes such a difference! Great suggestions!:)
March 19, 2010
Thanks, Bethany! I love not receiving paper bills anymore :)
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When I'm not Lunching, I'm a jeweler, and an all around, self-proclaimed web geek. My passions include social media, the interweb, technology, writing, yoga, fitness, photography, jewelry, fashion, … more
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