With that guilt taking over, here's my list of 8 things I'm going to do to make my life greener this year (ideas compiled from various Internet sources):
- Buy larger items. Sounds counter-productive, but think about it: one big jar of salsa takes up a lot less packaging than several smaller jars.
- Unplug appliances when they're not in use. Does my phone charge magically while I am gone for the day? I thought not. Keeping the less-than-often used appliances unplugged when idle reduces your power usage significantly. Amen to lower bills, too!
- Use rechargable batteries for cameras, alarm clocks, etc. It's that simple... After all, household batteries present a major toxic disposal issue.
- Go double-sided. I've vowed to be more conscious that when I am done filling up that piece of paper with to do lists and life goals, I won’t throw it away immediately. Instead, I am going to try to flip it over and use the other side for more unproductive lists.
- Replace lights with compact fluorescent lightbulbs. CFLs cost three to five times as much as conventional incandescent bulbs yet use 75 percent less electricity and typically last 10 years longer. Just look for the Energy Star label.
- Hang clothes on a clothesline instead of using the dryer. According to a Time magazine article, a T-shirt can omit up to 9 lbs. of carbon dioxide into the air during its lifetime. Yikes! Although I am a sucker for soft, dryer-scented clothes, I am going to make a conscious effort to hang more and dry less this summer.
- Buy more at second-hand stores. Why? Buying a used shirt means you avoid consuming all the energy used in producing and shipping a new one and, therefore, the carbon emissions associated with it. Besides, vintage means uniqueness anyways, right? I think I'll just stick to getting cheap, kitschy tees at Plato's Closet.
- Pay bills online. Why? A.) It revives that feeling of excitement you got as a kid when you actually got something addressed to you in the mail. B.) It avoids wasting both paper and fuel for transporting your Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes entry form. It's a win-win for all.
Take my steps and apply them to your own life. Or not. The choice is yours. But look at how happy this penguin is below. You don't want to be the one responsible for melting his home away, now do you? Then make an effort toward slowing global warming and have a wonderful Earth Day!