I’ve always been interested in the environment/green issues/green living. My great grandmother, grandmother, and mother all had the depression era reuse/repair mindset that filtered down to me. I grew up with many animals, so humane treatment of animals has always been a huge concern in my life. I grew up in the city, but I never ate a store bought egg until I left for college. My college town had curbside recycling and a bottle bill which was very unusual for the early nineties, but got college students like me totally into the recycling habit from an “early” age. I also started container gardening and patronizing the farmer’s market in college–fresh, local food just tastes so much better!
When my sister and I were traveling Australia in 2001, we were hiking through this amazing old growth rainforest–less than 1% remains–and I thought, "I’ve got to do something to really make a difference in how we are treating our planet." I returned to the States and went to law school to study environmental law.
Although I do not currently practice law, I have continued to become greener and greener in my life and have encouraged my friends, family and co-workers to do the same. My boyfriend and I both bike to work–even in the coldest winter months–and when icy/snowy we take public transit. We shop at the farmer’s market, belong to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and freeze and store what’s in season instead of buying produce shipped from around the world or supporting factory farms. We grow some of our own food and we compost the remains. As a result, we are able to enjoy locally grown fruits, vegetables, jam, honey, cheese, eggs, milk, fish, meat and bread for the majority of the year. We bring our reusable bags everywhere–to every kind of store. And we reuse containers for many purposes. Thirty gallon cat litter containers have been transformed into (a lot of!) tomato planters (by drilling some large holes in the bottom), compost bins (both pre and post), electrical cord storage and tool storage. Jars of every size are used to hold screws, nails, art supplies, knives, pens and pencils, toothbrushes, change, rice, cereal and my dried herbs. They are even used for drinking glasses! I encourage our friends and co-workers to reduce and reuse at home and in their offices. And when I come a cross the rare skeptic, I remind them that in a tough economy, re-use is a great way to save some money as well.
It’s not just about the recycling–which we participate in wholeheartedly, but also about the other aspects–reuse and most importantly, reduce. We produce a small bag of trash each week and everything else is recycled or composted. Thanks to our bikes we only put one thousand miles on our car last year. Good luck and happy breathing, eating and living!
Things we do - helpful tips from the "Green-thumbed Greenie"
- Buy less. Purchase less cheapie stuff instead of quality products that can be repaired instead of tossed. And try not to purchase items with a lot of packaging/processing. No lunchables!
- Check out books from the library or borrow books from friends, the thrift store, craigslist and yard sales instead of buying new—this includes many other items as well!
- Use green cleaners and products that don’t use animal testing and harsh chemicals.
- Turn off the lights, TV and computer when not in use.
- Keep the heat down when not at home and when you are sleeping.
- Plan your errand running so the least amount of driving is required.
- Pay your bills online and remove yourself from catalog and junk mails lists.
- Reuse office supplies, such as filing folders.
- Print double sided and turn paper headed for the recycling bin into scrap/message/note paper.
- Keep printing to a minimum by maximizing scanning, electronic posting and emailing.
- Check with your co-workers/work email lists to find items you need instead of ordering new. If new items are needed, combine the list before ordering to minimize the shipping costs and waste.
- Buy local food from a farmer’s market, CSA or grow your own!
- Ride your bike, walk or take public transportation to work and play!
- Use reusable bags and beverage containers wherever you go!