November 4, 2010

Green is the new Black!

This is going to be a very different and a very long post. So not me, but then again, so me!
*just so you know*

It took me forever, but here I am...with a tiny but hopefully helpful little list of how to help the environment, be more green, or stay more green. I'm not saying these are the only ways to engage in this topic and help out, but it's part of it. If you have anything to contribute feel free to share while leaving a comment. I'm open for new things. I'm also definitely very sure that I forgot about ten things that I'm doing and should be mentioning on here...good for a second post then. I also do believe that life and our ways of living are different and therefore maybe as a mom you have more ideas on what to look for in order to help, or as a teacher or as a regular non-working (maybe?!) student too. We all have different needs, and live in different parts of the world. Yet, this should never hinder us and make us think we're less important or less influential. Okay?!

It is 2010, heck, almost 2011, and we should take advantage of this. We have resources,  and we can spread the word's not 1902 anymore where people might have lived recklessly without thinking twice about pollution. Ha, I even think the word pollution wasn't even used back then.

So green is my favorite color, or one of my favorite colors. I'm talking about green as in that color we refer to when we talk about the environment, our flora and fauna. We tend to forget how powerful we can be when it comes to this topic. I've mentioned it a few times but I never fully went into it. I never wanted to write a green post, a post about how to save the planet and how to do this or that better. I never wanted to raise my voice and say "you waste water and gas and all that other junk you're using" but by not saying anything at all I won't make it less important.

Therefore, I decided to come up with a tiny post *yeah, right* about how to be more green and how to make little contributions to help the environment stay as healthy as it is right now. And I'm not saying it is healthy but it can't get better and we should keep it at its current level and not worsen the progress.

So, here's what you could do or at least consider (and I'm sure, most of you already do all of this...and if not, you know what to do now, don't you?!)
  • Turn the water off when you brush your teeth, or cleanse your face with soap.
    Water doesn't need to run within those 2 to 5 minutes you're brushing your teeth or trying to get rid of the last possible make-up residue on your skin. After you're done brushing etc, you can turn it back on and be quick.
  • If you love bubble baths like I do and you've got a bathtub...have fun! However, don't overdo it...once a week is plenty...once a month is even better. That way you get to look forward to some you-time and can enjoy it. Besides, bubble baths or baths in general aren't necessarily good for our skin, so it's just logic not to take them too often. And just thinking about how many gallons of water are used to fill up a bathtub? Wow. 
  • Turn the water off when you shampoo your hair, too. I love hot showers, and it feels all so very good in the morning I admit that, but just thinking about those gallons going down the tube for nothing?! I certain turn it off.
  • Plastic bags...a whole post could be written about these but I won't. If you take them at a store because you forgot your own shopping bags, or you're handed one after your purchase something in a store and couldn't say "no, thank you, I don't need it!" don't throw them away. Reuse them. Be creative when it comes to those bags. Let's say a rather gross looking plastic bag from your local grocery store is used once and you don't know how to use it again? Use it as a trash bag for the tiny bathroom or guestroom or office trash bin. I use mine when I use garlic and onions...I put all the rest in, close it all up with a giant bow and then throw it away, so no garlic-onion smell will come out and ruin the house. Or use them as a cover up or something...there's tons to use them for, just be creative. Fancier bags from Abercrombie or A&E or Victoria's are great as gift bags. Yes, the new gift item may not  come from that store but the bag's being used again...and besides, you don't have to use extra paper to wrap the gifts anymore (or spend extra $$). And if those bags are strong enough, take them with you and use them next time you enter a store...who cares if you buy something at Wal-Mart and the bag's from Target or Sam's or's a bag. Use it.
  • Of course, rather than plastic bags...use nice looking (maybe colorful) shopping bags. There are hundreds of shops that have amazingly gorgeous shopping bags in stock! Some may be pricey but there are also cheaper versions available, too I have three and love them all. I can even wash them if they ever get dirty. Click here for example.

 both via google
  • Turn your computer off when you leave the house. I know too many that leave it on just because it's easier when they return home. It may be, but it's not worth it.
  • Unplug anything you don't need in your kitchen or in the bathroom or in the room. The toaster is not being used while you're at work, neither is the hairdryer, etc. It took me a while to get used to this but believe it or not, I pay less at the end of the month.
  • Turn the light off. The bathroom light or kitchen light doesn't need to be on while you're in your room or in the living room watching TV. 
  • Turn the TV off when you don't use it anymore. Who's watching while you are taking a shower?!
  • Christmas and its marvelous lights and decoration. I love it. I know too many houses though that have those lights on even during the day and let's be frank one sees those lights during the day. Around 6pm it's fine, so use a timer and the light will switch on when it gets dark. Before, it's just a total waste of energy and heck, money. And really, those lights looks a lot better when it's dark outside. Just so very wonderful!!!
  • If you can, drink tap water. If you can't and need to filter it, do so. And if you still can't...get used to it.
    Bottled water may be great, but have you ever calculated how much money you spend on those?! And how much plastic is being used per household?! Buy one bottle or those cute drinking containers and then refill those. Saves tons of $$, saves tons of plastic and machinery/production time too.
  • Air-dry your clothes. Dryers are quick, leave your clothes warm for a while but it's really not the best thing. Plus, I love how my place smells when I do laundry!!! And it stays for a while, too.  :)
  • Reuse...instead of throwing away wine bottles use them as decoration or a vase. Gives some special touch to the room and area...and makes you save money, too.
  • During fall I love candles. They smell nice (or not!), and I don't have to turn the light on at 5pm. Maybe at 7 but it's two hours later and that helps me save money and energy.
  • During warmer times, especially during summer, try to get used to the heat and don't use your AC. Yes, you heard me. I know, 90 and 100-degree weather is not a lot of fun for most people...I for instance love it but again can't stand to be in an office for too long when it's that hot.
    There's a few things I learned over the years and it's mainly that we tend to stick to something we think is right and good. Air-conditioning is not at all that good. Yes, it cools the room while you're in it, but it also consumes a lot of energy, tends to filter the wrong particles, causes health issues, and makes you shiver when turned down too low. I always end up with a cold during summer, no voice, and red eyes. And the thing wasn't even blowing in my face.
    AC in the car? No, thank you. I rather have my windows open!!! :)
    Embrace the heat. Yes, if you can't live with hot and/or humid weather...use a fan (which isn't particularly good either by the way!), open windows (in 1902 they could do this!) or if you can't live without an AC don't make it cool down to 60 when it's 100 outside. So no worth it.
    And yes, don't cool your house down for eight hours while you are at work. Again, not worth it.
  • Walk! Yes, easier said than done. But if you can walk to work, or school, or to so. Don't drive there. Half a mile down? Plenty of exercise for ya...with or without the whipped cream on top of your frapp. :) 
  • Use public transportation. Then again, most of you live in areas where there isn't any available and if, it's so awful you rather use the car. That's fine. But schedule your trips. Why? Does it make sense to use the car, let's say to get to Target only, and then head home and then ten minutes later you go out again to some other place whereas you could have combined those trips and gone out once instead of twice?
  • If you can't walk or use public about a bicycle?!
  • Carpool. Enough said.
  • Cook fresh food...not the canned ones, or the frozen ones. Sometimes frozen veggies are better (yes I read that someplace!) but again, where are they?! In a plastic bag...again. :(
  • Separate your trash. I know lots of areas in the US and in Europe that do not know the word separate or recycle. Yes. Trust me. I know households that put everything into one bin, throw it all out and then forget about it. The "I don't care I don't have and want to deal with this gross stuff attitude" is one logic thing (and trust me, I don't want to be responsible for my trash) but it's part of the whole idea to help the environment...whether or not we want to see this.

    Do I separate my trash?! Yes, I do.
    How? Ok, let's describe this...
    I separate paper, put it all together into little package-look-a-likes. Once, sometimes twice a month paper is being collected in front of all buildings. All free. Then I separate cartons...milk cartons, tissue boxes, pizza boxes, just all kinds of carton stuff in general. Every Wednesday morning those cartons are being collected, too. And yes, free again.
    I separate glass. Wine bottles, vinegar bottles, or jars, or whatever else there might be...we have funny looking glass dumpsters that go by color and I walk there and throw them out...all part of the recycling process...and yes, I said they go by color...there's one for white glass, green glass, brown too. ;) I also separate cans. Next to the glass dumpsters there's also a funny looking can dumpster.
    Batteries...yes, they're not thrown into regular trash...there's another dumpster for those too.
    Plastic bottles from juices, coke, sprite, dressings, mouth wash, etc...I flatten them, and recycle them, too. Most bigger grocery stores have plastic recycle containers and that's where mine end up in.
    Once a month or so, there's a day where they collect all sorts of metal too...
    And for anything electronic, like old cell phones, laptops, headphones, Walkmans, CD players, etc whether or not they're still working can be given back to any electronic store and they will recycle it, or reuse certain items again.
    I'm sure there's more I do but I can't come up with anything anymore.

    If you don't have a recycling system, and I know there are way too many areas that don't, why not go out and ask whoever you can ask when it comes to this in your area, how to start one?! I know it's not something a lot of people love to talk about. But it is important. It is possible to start something, even if it's small. It's a start. And yes, people need to get used to this, but it's all worth the trouble. Some areas have some fun system bring your bottles and such to a container or dumpster area and they weigh it or count it or so, and then you get bottle refund money back. :) That's also one good thing. Think about it, find out what you can do in your area, or what is being done in your area and you don't even know about. Trust me, no matter where we live on this planet, there's always something new to learn and there's always something we can do.
    We don't live in the 1900s anymore, we live in the 21st century and have power. We don't need to be so-called celebrities, we don't need to be politicians, we don't need to go all crazy either and chain ourselves to trees...but we have a voice and our voice needs to be heard. This sentence applies to so many aspects in our lives it's crazy. We take it for granted though. We think helping the environment means spending tons of money. If you've got it, go ahead and do so. If you don't have the funds don't be discouraged, because there are millions of ways to help and recycle and reuse. We tend to forget about this, we also really just love to ignore it because we have become lazy and comfortable in our own worlds, and those worlds should not be changed...out of habit we may still leave the water running while we brush our teeth because, well, I wonder, too. So, sit down, and think how you help the environment. Do you go to Starbucks and have your own cup refilled or do you get every time a new one?! Do you also get a sleeve? Why?! Too hot? Get used to it. It's not that hot...and if it still happens to be hot for you, move that cup from one hand to the other...not difficult and one sleeve is saved. You may now think it's just one, but by contributing with just one tiny step and one tiny move you are already by one...better than not helping at all.

    It's now on us!
      There are thousands of websites available with information on how to be more green, on how to live, work, feel, breathe, eat better, etc etc etc. I could name a few. I'm not going to. I would come up with lists that would be endless. Every state, every county and every country has different rules, different views, and different ways on this topic. Find our for yourself what you can do in your area.
      There are also thousands of places that want you to donate or help or whatever, but some of them are fraudulent. So be careful if you ever want to go that far. I think by just taking care of our every day energy consumption or use of plastic or whatever else we are already thinking ahead and are already helping. Earth Day may be in April but actually it should be every single day throughout the year...without any single stop whatsoever in between. 

      Excuse me now...but I'm so exhausted I need to rest and read.

          ♥ Selma ♥


          samnhal said...

          I'm so glad that you decided to do this post. I've never thought about turning the water off when I shampoo and condition my hair. I also brush my teeth in the shower, so that makes it a little less water wasted while I'm waiting on my conditioner, right? This made me realize some things that I do do, which is nice. I've definitely started recycling more, it's there, right by my door, so I need to do it! Grocery stores also now have a spot to recycle old plastic bags, we have so many, we reuse them around the house, but still have too many, so I'll have to remember to recycle them at the store the next time I'm there.

          Carol {Everyday Delights} said...

          Good for you! I am a big recycler too and take the bus every day!

          Krysten @ After 'I Do' said...

          Wow such great tips! Thank you for sharing and have a wonderful weekend!

          Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

          All of those are great tips! I always try to recycle!!

          Krystal said...

          fab post!!! We recycle and are much more green here in Switzerland...way more than we were back home :0

          Kelsey @ Seattle Smith's said...

          What a great post since there are seriously SOO many ways to be most conscious!! One thing at a time!


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