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What are you doing to be more environmentally friendly?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Regardless of what each of us see as the cause of the global climate change, we ALL agree that, in general, the way we live (society) isn't environmentally friendly and we need to change it. As they say, change starts at home.

So let's talk about what changes we can make in our daily lives, and what you are doing/going to do/are considering doing to live in better harmony with nature.

Let me just say, too, please don't be judgemental of people who live in different circumstances. For instance, in some big cities it is possible to live without a car, and to walk/bike or take public transportation everywhere. There are a lot of places, including where I live, where that really isn't possible. Our PT sucks, and while they are working on making it better it isn't there yet. And there are people who actually do need larger vehicles (pick up trucks/SUVs), though most in urban settings who have them don't actually *need* them. But please remember this when posting.

As for me...well, I do participate and encourage the recycling program at work (paper - in an engineering office we go through TONS of paper!). I'm also working with my supervisor to make our archives electonic, instead of paper copies. While that doesn't help saving trees since the paper was already used, we are recycling all of that paper. I'm also encouraging, as much as I can, electronic filing instead of keeping every record/email/etc. on paper in files.

At home, I'm trying to be more conscious about what I'm buying, and what I'm throwing away. Even in the past few months of doing that we've gone from 3-4 full trash bags a week to 1-2.

We are also looking at a hybrid of some sort for our next car purchase. We went to the Denver Auto Show a few weeks ago and were pleasantly surprised that the prices on the hybrids have dropped to realistic numbers. A few years ago, when we first looked at them, they were $38-50,000. Totally out of our price range, no matter what our intentions. Now, there are many different hybrids that are $20-30,000, including SUV hybrids (we were quite impressed with the Saturn Vue Hybrid) that were less that $35,000.

I know there is more, but I can't think of it right now.
post #2 of 20
Hmmm...I drive a Honda, so I'm more fuel efficient and only have to fill up every 9-10 days.

We wait until the very hottest day before turning on the air conditioning.

If a 2-sided printer is available I will print to that printer and use both sides of the paper.

I utilize the eco-shredding program at work. Shred things and it gets sent to a recycling company.

We recycle cans, plastic bottles, etc.

That's all I can think of right now. Most of it is so everyday now that you don't think of it as being "environmentally friendly"
post #3 of 20
Matt needs a pick-up for work (construction) but since I work close to home (and take the GO when I am in Toronto), I don't have a vehicle.

We only fill one garbage bag a week. We live in an apartment and have to walk past the recycling bins to get to the truck, so we have a couple of recycling bins and sort as we use and simply throw them in there each day.

My office in Toronto recycles EVERYTHING, each office has a tiny garbage bin and then several recycling bins that are emptied daily and try to keep to electronic files as much as possible.

We buy in bulk to save on wasted packaging and sort into portions in food containers to use when needed.

We turn off lights etc when not being used (the only thing that never gets turned off is my computer (we have fax to email for his business and need to get the faxes) and the alarm clock).

I am sure there are more
post #4 of 20
We replaced 2 cars last year that had average gas mileage ratings with a Toyota Prius hybrid (we love it) and another that gets 33 MPG (up from my 20 mpg). We moved closer to work and DH went from a 42 mile drive 1 way to an 8 mile drive. I went from a 35 mile drive to a 20 mile drive. Our gasoline use has gone down tremendously.

We are currently looking at changing over to solar power for our new home. Our sun porch has a huge roof expanse facing southwest which is ideal for solar. We actually started doing some research in earnest yesterday to see what this all entails. We would like to get off the power grid completely. We think we found a company that gets subsidies for installing new systems and that would be ideal.

Our garbage output has been down for many years now. Our goal is to have 1 bag per week and with that we use dog/cat food bags rather than plastic.

We recycle whatever we can. That doesn't just mean taking it to a recylcing place, but to repurpose when we can or donate to charities that can give them to those less fortunate. Libraries love magazines that are current.

We try to find environmentally sound cleaning supplies. It's amazing what vinegar can be used for. We empty our dehumidifier into the gardens rather than dump them down the drains. We buy plants native to the area for our gardens as they are more likely to not require any additional watering.

Our washing machine is both low energy and low water consumption. Any new appliance we buy must be the most energy efficient. We don't run our air conditioner at home unless it's horrible hot and raining. Ceiling fans work wonders and don't use a lot of energy.

Can we do more? Absolutely.
post #5 of 20
Oh yeah, I drop all my read books off at the library too
post #6 of 20
Well... here's what I've done. 1. Switch all of our lights to either compact fluorescent or LED. 2. I take the stairs rather than taking the elevator. 3. I've purchased reusable bags for groceries and my lunch. 4. I wash my clothes and dishes with cold water. 5. DH and I carpool to work cutting down on the amount of gas we use.

Not only do these things help out the environment, but they also have cut down on our bills as well.
post #7 of 20
I drive a hybrid.

Use energy efficient light bulbs.

Recycling is mandatory in our village and has been for years.

I try not to buy products with excessive packaging, and avoid a lot of packaging by using whole foods and not processed ones.

One resident recently mounted a campaign to ban throwing phone books at each residence in the village. He was successful. It is not an outright ban, but an opt out program, you sign up to stop all those phonebooks going in the driveway. I love this guy! Multiple phonebooks a year being dumped in my drive really bothered me too, but he did something and I didn't. I just complained about them and threw them in the paper recycling bin.

I think in the long run, these small things will make a difference, it just takes regular people to become involved.
~Rhonda
post #8 of 20
- I eat very little meat (basically only when I'm eating at someone else's place)
- I am cutting down on dairy too
- I almost always use re-usable bags for groceries / shopping
- I don't buy for the sake of buying
- I buy most of my clothes at the thrift shop
- I don't own a car, I walk almost everywhere, or use public transit
- I recycle everything I can

In the future, I'd also like to switch my cats to biodegradable litter.

Most of these things I don't do just for environmental reasons... I'm also trying to avoid buying clothes new because I don't want to fund companies that use sweatshops (basically all of them )
post #9 of 20
Hmm, let's see. I've been using flourescent lightbulbs (and boy have they lasted)..We wash in cold water as much as possible. We only wash full loads (partially due to being lazy and hating laundry)..

We drive a Scion XA (39 mpg highway, 31 city). My sister is a vegetarian. I try to eat free-range or kosher meats. I do buy fur/leather but only those that are byproducts of the industry. We keep the heat at 60 throughout the day while at work and then at night, only turning it up to moderate after work. We buy reusable shopping bags, but still use plastic from some stores, since they don't offer them, and then also we reuse them in the house.

Turning your monitor off nightly, or when not in use .. a monitor left on 24/7 for a year.. will release over 900 pounds of toxins into the ozone.
post #10 of 20
* I'm a vegetarian
* the majority of the food we buy is organic
* we only use organic products on our lawn and plants
* we have a rainbarrel and use the water on our plants
* all bottles, cans and papers are recycled
* all plastic and paper bags are reused
* boxes and packing materials are reused
* bows and ribbon trimming from Christmas gifts are reused

We don't do any of these things because of the global warming issue. We've done most of them since buying our first house, which was 12 years ago now.
We've always just thought they were sensible ways to lessen the impact a bit on our environment.
post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by marie-p View Post
- I eat very little meat (basically only when I'm eating at someone else's place)
- I am cutting down on dairy too
- I almost always use re-usable bags for groceries / shopping
- I don't buy for the sake of buying
- I buy most of my clothes at the thrift shop
- I don't own a car, I walk almost everywhere, or use public transit
- I recycle everything I can

In the future, I'd also like to switch my cats to biodegradable litter.

Most of these things I don't do just for environmental reasons... I'm also trying to avoid buying clothes new because I don't want to fund companies that use sweatshops (basically all of them )

I know how you feel... there is a great clothing company that makes all of their items in downtown LA.

http://store.americanapparel.net/

It's slightly more expensive than other stuff, but it's worth a look see.

Oh, and everything tends to run a size smaller.
post #12 of 20
Let's see.... The things we do aren't because of global warming, but just because they make sense. Our finances have been so tight the past few years, that we've really had to learn how to be efficient in lots of things.

We started using environmentally friendly soaps, cleaners, laundry soap, etc. They do cost more, but as we have a sceptic system, not city sewer, we don't want to destroy the property.

We are VERY energy conscious in our home, and we use those energy efficient bulbs.

We don't use anything but rechargeable batteries anymore.

We only print when necessary.

We either reuse canvas shopping bags for groceries or recycle the plastic bags if we forget to bring the canvas.

We recycle paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum.

We give all old clothes to charity and only purchase new clothes as needed. That's been because of our finances, probably - but we've discovered we don't "need" to shop.

We don't use a dishwasher. We've REALLY cut down on our use of paper towels. We primarily use dish towels for drying things and cloths for cleaning the counters &etc. If I do just dry my hands with a paper towel, I hang it up to dry so I can use it again.

We don't fill the fridge so we don't waste much food.

We buy only free-range eggs and meat, and when we can't afford it we don't buy it.

We don't own a hybrid car, but we make sure to keep the car tuned so we get close to 30 mpg. It's not great - but we had to rent an SUV when we were having work done on the car, and it got like 10 mpg. I had no idea those cars were such gas hogs! But, we also principally telecommute, so we don't have to use the car a lot.

Just FYI on the whole organic issue.... the idea of small farming has a lot of appeal. But while it's healthier for us as individuals and for the land being farmed, it's really not better for the environment in whole, and wouldn't support the population of the world if there weren't large farming. World population is projected to be 12 billion by 2020 - 2025. Further, the cost to the environment in terms of gas and energy use is much more efficient with large and centralized distribution, not small markets with just local distribution.

Laurie
post #13 of 20
We recycle as much as we can...all cardboard including the cardboard inserts in paper towel and tp tissue rolls, all paper that is allowed for recycling, all plastic grocery store bags go right back to be recycled, glass, all cans.

I need to do better with my composting..when really into it, this takes care of all coffee grounds, egg shells and bits of vegetables (peelings etc). and then helps improve our soil.

We only wash our clothes in cold water and have an energy efficient dryer (our next set will include a much more efficient washer as well).

We heat some rooms with wood, and keep the thermostat on 60-65 in the other rooms during Winter.

We only use CFB for light bulbs (unless an odd size like my desk lamp) and for our new roof last year, bought one made of recyled tires (so neat and it has a 50 year warrenty!) and we put in double pane energy efficient windows as well.

We grow vegetables in the Summer (not enough,but some) and are changing to buying local fresh...we are buying less and less pre-packaged foods, much more organic or locally grown.

We pass on used or duplicate appliances to younger friends or donate to our local Salvation army...I prefer to donate rather than throw out if something is still useable.

We donate to Second Harvest, which is a wonderful organization that "recyles" food.
post #14 of 20
Recycle and have cut down my gasoline consumption dramatically. Got a job within five miles of home. I only put 5,000 miles on my truck last year.

We do wash clothes with cold water and use those newfangled light bulbs now also.
post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by lookingglass View Post
I know how you feel... there is a great clothing company that makes all of their items in downtown LA.

http://store.americanapparel.net/

It's slightly more expensive than other stuff, but it's worth a look see.

Oh, and everything tends to run a size smaller.
Hey - there's a store that's right by wear I live. They always have really cool looking stuff. I still want to stop in there one day...actually go shopping there and other places.
post #16 of 20
Good idea for a thread! Nice to be able to pat each other on the back instead of yelling at each other all the time in here…

Nice work everyone!!

I’ll just make a list as it’s easier. Max and I:

1)\tPurchase carbon offsets for the fuel and electricity we use.
2)\tRecycle everything. Our recycling bin is filled to overflowing every pick-up day.
3)\tDon’t use plastic bags for shopping, we use the green canvas ones (so much better anyway than the plastic – they’re stronger, fit more in etc…)
4)\tCycle to work half the time and drive the other half.
5)\tOwn small cars that we only have to fill up once per fortnight.
6)\tDon’t use the air conditioning unless it gets above 35 degrees.
7)\tSwitch off all our power at the wall not the unit.
8)\tOnly shower once per day and we time our showers.
9)\tAre vegetarian (for animal welfare reasons, too) and we buy organic food where possible.
10)\tKeep our animal products to a minimum – don’t buy leather, suede etc…
11)\tDon’t buy multiple tins of pet food, tuna etc – same goes for all our shopping – we buy bigger and use less so there’s less waste.
12)\tWe don’t use fabric softener and we only wash clothes one day per week.
13)\tWe use entirely organic detergents, shampoo, soap, surface sprays, drain cleaner, washing powder – there is not a chemical in our house.
14)\tWe keep a bucket in the shower and use the water it collects on the garden.
15)\tWe shred our papers and donate the shredded result to local pet stores.
16)\tWe don’t purchase goods from companies with questionable ethical policies (i.e. McDonalds)

That’s about all I can think of for now! There’s more we could do but it’s a start, and as soon as we have the money we will buy a house that we can make more environmentally friendly than we could while we are renting. Same goes with our cars – any future cars will be hybrids. Either way, we’ll still purchase carbon offsets.
post #17 of 20
We have two types of bins where i live, the blue one is for cans, papers and bottles, and the green one is for normal household rubbish.

I always switch of electricity at the wall.

I've installed a new heating system where it's instant heat instead of having to heat the water in the boiler up everytime.

If i'm going on the computer on an evening i switch off the t.v.
post #18 of 20
I do much the same as everyone has all ready mentioned, shredded paper goes in the compost with the veg peelings and garden waste, and I use
http://www.bookcrossing.com/ for books I have read.
post #19 of 20
We are now car pooling on the 20+ miles one way trip to work unless circumstances don't allow it (appointments or over time). We use floresent bulbs in just about every fixture even the flood lights outside, re use platic shopping bags, keep heat and a/c at a reasonable temperature.We don't do a whole lot but we do what we can. There is no recycle place near us and it would be a 20 or so miles drive to get to the closest.
post #20 of 20
Recycle all we can (I recycle at work also), don't drive as our public transport is good, haven't eaten meat since before some posters were born.
Epona is trying get us to use biogradable litter

We don't fly but that is because we are poor
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