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. 

national energy efficiency day

photo by thomas kelley

October 2nd is National Energy Efficiency day https://www.energyefficiencyday.org/, which is supported by local governments, corporations & utilities, universities and other organizations. Join the crowd- change a light bulb, turn down your hot water heater and check for leaky windows and drafty doors (among other things). Make every day an energy efficiency day!

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.

bag reduction

photo by silvie tittel

If you can’t go cold turkey and never use another plastic bag, reduce when you can. Keep a couple of reusable shopping bags in the car so you’re always ready.

Think you’re the only one packing your stuff? Look around at the checkout counter- you could be pleasantly surprised. Or be the trailblazer in your community. If others see you doing it, they might too!