3 Easy Ways to Be More Green

posted on: March 17, 2007

Happy St. Patrick's Day!! If you want to know the real story behind St. Patrick's Day, and why it is associated with the Irish, Good Luck, and Clovers, check out the Saint Patrick's Day post on wikipedia. Since March 17th is when many people strut their love for the color green, I'm going to take this opportunity to share 3 ways to BE more green in your everyday life!! (Read on to find out how you can win a free reusable tote bag!!!)

1. Drive less.
Find ways to carpool with the people you work with and/or utilize public forms of transportation, which is improving across the country! As gas prices go up, it may actually be MORE economical to your wallet and the environment to fly instead of drive! Since airlines are a public form of transportation, it helps more people utilize less fuel and emits fewer harmful gasses into the environment over time as opposed to that same 200 people driving in cars for several days instead of planepooling for a few hours. (I would love for someone to do some real research on this!) Trains are my absolute favorite form of travel because you still have many of the benefits of traveling on the ground like talking on your cell phone, connecting to your wireless internet, looking at the local scenery, having more leg room, and not having people frisk the heck out of you, but alas, we Americans haven't made it as easy or cool as the Europeans have. Jet Blue, Southest, and AmTrak make it very easy and economical to travel long distances with ease. If you absolutely need a car when you get somewhere, Enterprise has great rates and offers a hybrid Toyota prius at some locations.

2. Reuse more.
It isn't enough to recycle by simply buying disposable products and putting them in a recycling bin. We need to reuse more. It's about using and buying things that are reusable rather than buying things that are meant to be thrown away. Imagine how much space we'd save in landfills if everyone brought their own cups to fill up at fast food chains, coffee shops, and gas stations. Imagine how much oil and how many trees we would save by trading in the disposable grocery store bags (which may get reused once before they break) for cotton totes that are washable and reusable. How about wearing jeans and sweaters more than once before washing them, which will result in using less energy, time, money, and strain on the environment (unless you went to a really smokey bar and the Febreze isn't doing the trick... no one wants to smell your smokey bar clothes!) Try using Dryel instead of driving to the dry cleaners and having them wrap plastic bags around your clothes. Check out ReusableBags.com to find all kinds of reusable items that have been made in ecofriendly ways. I could go on, but if even 1/4th of my blog readers committed to doing just one of those things, we could make a big difference!

3. Buy Locally.
Studies have shown that people who purchase foods and goods that were grown and produced locally, tend to be healthier overall. How can this be so? The farther your food has to travel to get to you, the more preservatives have to be added, and the more waste and disease have a chance to affect the quality of that food. I think we can all agree that fresh produce which is in season always tastes better than produce which is out of season. If you want great food out of season, find out which local farmers can their produce and make it available for sale, or head to your local farmer's market to get the good stuff grown nearby. As great as the internet is, there's also a high value in buying things locally from small mom & pop shops that make their own products rather than having mass produced items shipped from who-knows-where. Not only does it help you support your local and US economy, it also helps save the environment by reducing the amount of waste created in producing and shipping mass market items. That's one of the things I love about Etsy and EBay, because they allow you to search for products and sellers near you!!


This reusable, washable, carry-all is usually only given away to my clients who order full size albums, but you can now get your own for free!! One winner will be chosen at random, and there are three different ways to enter, just pick one that works best for you! * Make sure you include your email address when posting a comment so that I can notify you via email if you're the winner! Here's how to enter:
1. Leave a comment below with another easy idea for living a greener lifestyle.
- OR -
2. Make a promise in the comments below letting us know which of the ideas mentioned above you're going to put into action immediately.
- OR -
3. Make a donation to the Environmental & Energy Institute and leave a comment letting me know who made the donation.

The winner will be chosen on April 9th! Thank you so much for your participation!!

15 comments, to add [click here]:

  1. Another idea for going green is implementing a paperless office workflow...scanning documents, e-faxing, etc. (This idea, courtesy of Nathan Holritz at OSP-Indy!) I am working on implementing this one and cannot wait to have it finished!

    You are my kind of girl, Ms. Ruthmann!
    You are preaching to the choir, because I am so living all of your great ideas already. My kids are totally into all of this stuff too.
    We buy local and organic whenever possible and don't bring anything into the house with trans-fats or corn syrup, which are pure evil.
    Because we live in the country, we try to save up errands so we don't drive as much.
    I also wear the same jeans,like, 100 times before washing them. But don't tell!;-)
    Oh, and I stopped buying clothes that need to be dry cleaned.
    Can you tell that I want that adorable bag super-dooper bad?!?
    ps "the luckiest" is one of my new favorite songs too. I just put a slideshow to it and it's awesome!

  3. Buying localing is awesome and we do this. ESPECIALLY during the summer. Shopping at local markets make you appreciate your food and think healthier...

    I try to shop with totes as often as possible! : )

    I'd LOVE another one to add to the collection.

  4. Anonymous12:52 PM

    bailey.candice@gmail.com says
    Local eating, TASTES better too!

    My husband and I already share a car because we live in a big city and don't need two, but he's been riding his new bike nearly every day (it's already warm in seattle). This has resulted in him losing many of his "fat & happy" pounds. He's inspired me to purchase a bike as well so I can keep up. Does that count?
    That bag is fab... I might have to order an album just to get one!

  5. FREECYCLE!! If Freecycle is available in your area (you can find out at www.freecycle.org), by all means join! It has its roots in both environmentalism and anti-consumerism. There is also the added benefit of joining a local e-community like-minded others. I have both given and recieved some great items on Freecycle, and it feels gratifying to keep perfectily good items out of the landfill.

  6. jamie1:18 PM

    I was thinking of my favourite green thing to do even before I saw your bag, and that's to bring all the little tote bags you get from conferences and shows to the grocery store - some stores (my local kroger) will even give you a bag discount for bringing your own (saving another green!). I love getting those little bags now, instead of wondering what do with them once the conference is over!

  7. Does it count to walk to the corner store to get ice cream? I can't wait for warmer weather so I can start riding my bike again. I love that our grocery store, bank, and pretty much everything is within riding distance -- and mostly on bike paths through parks. How cool is that?

    I'm tempted to get those little basket things that go on the back of your bike that'll fit grocery bags. They're just so dorky -- even for me! But they'd be convenient.

  8. I should hire you to write for the Tree Grower's Diary, girl! You GO!

  9. Megan9:14 AM


    I'm all about re-use and properly disposing things. Best Buy has a recycle area for ink cartridges, batteries... even cell phones! That's such an easy thing to add into your day. I stock pile my used Epson cartridges and then take them with us when we go shopping to get rid of them right.

    We have one of those IKEA bag holders for under the sink and use "old" grocery bags for lots of things - lunch-carriers, kitty litter disposal, etc.

    Oh, and I rarely wash my jeans too. And when I do, I do it on cold to save a little energy. :)

    Great post, Anne!

  10. I am going to start buying more fresh foods locally. We have a farmers market that everyone raves about, and I have never set foot inside it! That is going to change this spring....Oh, and the Dryel idea? I've been using Dryel for awhile now...so much more convenient than hauling your clothes to the dry cleaner, and its more earth-friendly too!

  11. Besides adoring my job as a digital photographer (I too, sometimes miss film, but all that extra trash and chemicals isn't to green is it?) I teach elementary art. It occured to me that buying new scissors every year is crazy. So, I bought a scissor sharpener. That way, I can re-sharpen blades and keep from putting 30 pair of kid scissors in the landfill every year. I totally agree we have to work more on re-using, not just recycling these days and think about really simple no-brainer changes. This one was like some weird awh-inspiring thing that my students didn't even know exsisted?! Why don't we darn our socks anymore?

    Krisitn Greenlee (photography)
    p.s. thanks for always being inspiring both as a person and a photographer!

  12. Okay, I realize I'm super late in posting on this, but I just have to say: Unplug that microwave, toaster, coffee maker, cell phone charger! That's just a bunch of energy going to waste.

  13. OK, I somehow managed to miss this entry and the tote bag business until today! The tote bag is adorable though!

    I don't know if these count as green or not but here goes: return your plastic grocery bags to the store. Most stores nowadays have plastic bag collection bins. Dry cleaners will collect the plastic they cover your clothes with too.

    Also, if you are not reusing your plastic bags for whatever reason and throw them away, tie them in a knot first. This way they are less likely to get caught in the wind from garbage trucks or dumps, and therefore are less likely to end up in trees and oceans and other places where they can be harmful to wildlife.

    (email: jessica.a.fisher at gmail dot com)

  14. i love sigg bottles! and double binus, they are eco friendly and are BPA free! less cancer risk and recyclable? can it be true? word to yo mutha.

    also, i am responsible for the facility of the business i work for. a schmancy 100,000 sq ft building with lots in need of cleaning every night. we recycle over a TON of paper and cardboard a week and i just recently had our custodial staff switch to all green cleaning products from coastwide labs. and it cost us... nothing to switch. i just needed to ask. and we switched our foam soap wich saves a ton of water over to a green foam soap that is even cheaper than the regular stuff. sometimes it IS EASY being green, kermit.

  15. This is really good post.
    I already have a few canvas bags from NeoCons of the past. It's time I promise to use them at the grocery store, every time!!
    It would so help my motivation to add your bag to the mix! :)


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