knives, forks and spoons

photo by hue-12

The US uses about 40-100 billion plastic utensils a year. Instead of one-use, disposable cutlery, use your own utensils, whether at home or at work. Ditch the plastic forks with your take out as well. Yes, you will have to wash a fork or spoon, but it’s a lot less resource intensive than making and tossing a plastic one. It saves $$ for restaurants too, so share the love!

vampire loads

photo by clint patterson

Even when they’re off, energy vampires like computers, DVRs, cable boxes, chargers and even coffee makers slowly drain electricity. Vampire loads use about 5% of the energy consumed in the US, costing electric customers more than $3 billion each year. Tonight turn off your lights and look for standby lights. They’re a sign that something is draining power, even though it isn’t being used. Unplug them when they’re not in use, or use power strip to make powering on and off easier.

paper or plastic?

photo by david veksler

Take your pick, or preferably, bring your own bag. But some studies show that what you put in your shopping bag and how you travel is much more important. To make a bigger  difference, eat less meat, walk/combine trips, fly less and buy locally-made products. Bottom line: reuse whatever bags you have at home- until they fall apart. 

water + bottle

photo by jonathan chang

Disposable water bottles are so. Darn. Convenient. Do you ever grab a water bottle- and then not finish it? Do you bring plastic water bottles to share at kids’ sporting events…when most of them already have their own? Every day in the US, over 60 million bottles stack up in landfills and incinerators. Every day. Use your reusable water bottles when you can.

greener bills

photo by sharon mc cutcheon

I do like the feel of  a paper bill in my hot little hand, but I ‘m trying to change my unnecessary and trash-producing ways. And heads up, I just took a closer look at one of my utility bills, and they have a monthly charge for sending snail mail! Remember, you can get an electronic notification and pay however you want.

buy less food

photo by phuc long

Picture this: farmer plows and plants seeds, waters, protects, and harvests plants. And more, I’m sure. The harvest gets shipped to a grocery store. You buy fruit/veggies/meat/cheese and take it home. Time goes by. Food rots in fridge. You throw it away. Sanitation worker takes it to landfill.

How to change the end of this sad story? Buy less every week and commit to eating what you have.  What could be easier? For those of us who aren’t perfect, make the compost bin plan B.  

PLASTIC BAGLESS QUIZ:

photo by anna tukhfatullina

Rate yourself on your plastic bag use:

Novice: You decline a bag if you can stick your purchase in a pocket or purse.

Intermediate: You’re usually ready with reusable bags in your car. If you do take bags,  you reuse them for trash at home.

Pro: You’re never without a reusable bag. You also gift them to people who don’t have any themselves!