Super Easy Ways to Be More Environmentally Friendly

posted on: April 22, 2008

Here are some more ridiculously easy ways to help give this planet of ours a little more lovin' EVERY day!
(all photos are linked to original source)

REFUSE TO IDLE

It drives me bonkers when people sit curbside and just let their cars burn fossil fuels and emit toxic gases because they are just too lazy to turn that little key off and back on again. Even the city of Vancouver, known for cold winters has a no idling LAW to help keep the environment a little bit cleaner!! I don't know if New York taxi cabs would be able to deal with this kind of law, but certainly we can all do our part to reduce the amount of fuel usage and smog. Just turn the car off and leave your parking lights or blinkers on... it's not going to hurt your car or take more than a few seconds to restart it again, I promise!

WALK-THRU

Since so many people are addicted to drive-thrus these days, the wait inside- especially in fast-food joints- is often much QUICKER than sitting in the drive-thru!! I actually did an experiment on several different occasions where I noted the last car waiting in the drive-thru, and then I parked and went in to get service and checked to see how much longer the car I would have been sitting behind would have taken to get the same service. On average, I saved an extra 2 minutes by NOT sitting in the drive through! Plus, I saved 4-5 minutes of letting my car idle!! And I actually burned more calories by getting out and using my muscles instead of sitting in the car for a longer period of time. As if those benefits weren't awesome enough, it's much easier to make use of your own reusable cup or mug when you go inside than it is to ask someone to take it in a drive-thru. So, I challenge you to STOP using the drive-thru in order to save yourself more time, get a little more exercise, and help reduce wasting fuel.

LESS HOT AIR

Your clothes will last longer if you let them dry on a drying rack. Your hair will be healthier if you let it air dry as well. However, I understand that it's not always practical to let everything air dry, which is why there are other ways to reduce the use of energy and speed up drying times. For your laundry, you can use dryer balls to help separate clothes in the dryer, reducing drying times by up to 25%. When it comes to your fabulous mane, you can use Ionic Hair Dryers to not only dry your hair much more quickly, but to also make those lovely locks super shiny!!

PRESSURE CHECK

Make sure your tires are always full of air by checking the tire pressure every few weeks. It only takes a few seconds while you're at the gas station filling up anyway, and it could save you not only money, but fuel efficiency as well. I tend to put a little extra air in my tires (generally no more than an extra 5lbs of pressure), and I can always tell a noticeable difference in my fuel usage. When my tires are low on pressure, I can't make it to Chicago without stopping for gas. When they have plenty of air pressure, I can make the entire trip without stopping. It's really that much of a difference! Try it for yourself!! Another green tip... lay off the gas... learn to enjoy coasting into a stop light or stop sign instead of keeping your foot on the gas. Your breaks and your gas tank will thank you for it. (This means YOU, hubby!!)

SPRING CLEANING

Now that spring is here, I bet you're in a better mood to start those cleaning projects you were putting off all winter long! You can start by simply choosing an environmentally friendly cleaning product the next time you need one from the grocery store! There are now paper towels made from recycled and unbleached materials, biodegradable garbage bags, natural and non-toxic cleaners, and the list goes on. Helping the planet is as easy as simply thinking about what you're buying and how it affects the planet before you make your next purchase.
• Plastic Bags
If you have a lot of plastic bags accumulating because you'd never throw them out knowing that they don't biodegrade, you can now recycle them at your local grocery store! Look for tall white plastic bag recycling containers in the entrance of your local grocery. If the box isn't easy to find, take a quick minute to ask a manager if they offer a plastic bag recycling program, most of them do- they may just need to make it more visible and easy to access!
• Batteries
Proper disposal of batteries is VERY important to the environment and protecting our ground water from harmful toxins. Finding a drop off location for your old batteries is as easy as entering your zip code at www.call2recycle.com.
• Junk Mail
The best way to eliminate junk mail, is to prevent it from coming to your home in the first place. Sign up at www.GreenDimes.com to eliminate the junk from ever hitting your mailbox, and they'll plant a tree or even give you a little green for taking the time to do so!!
• Everything Else
The idea that one man's trash is another man's treasure is the basis behind Freecycle.org. Anything that you think isn't worth selling on EBay, may be worth posting on Freecycle! You never know what someone is happy to take off your hands!

MAKE SOME NOISE

Send a friendly reminder to your congress and house of representatives. Tell them we need action, and we need it now. Here are several petitions that you can quickly and electronically sign in order to help deliver the message of change to our government...
Sky Petition for cleaner air
Presidential Pledge to encourage media to focus on environmental issues and to ask our next President elect to take immediate action
Emissions Petition to enact the Climate Stewardship Act
• Search for a petition that speaks to you on The Petition Site and Petitions Online.

DON'T GIVE UP
Journey
No one is perfect. I wish I could live my life totally green friendly, but it's not always practical. The important part is that I make efforts where I can, and that little changes everyday can help add up to a lot of impact in the long run. Being green is more of a journey than a destination. You just take it one step at a time, making better decisions and choices as you go. ;-)

And now.... my theme song for progress... just look how far we've come since tapered jeans and man bangs...

18 comments, to add [click here]:

  1. Holy moly!
    I'm glad I left a trail of bread crumbs to get back from that Journey.
    HA! Get it!?
    Sorry.

    I love the throwback!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I kinda like the tight tapered man jeans. ;)

    great ideas Anne!

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  3. Kim Kelley5:20 PM

    Anne, I'm so encouraged by your saving the planet lifestyle. I want to be more green and promise to try and do at least one thing on your list. Cross my heart!

    Dont stop believin!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yea! WE did an Earth Day post too. Today....to conserve we used our cloth bags and used our eco friendly Seventh Generation Products! ; )

    YEA!!!

    Oh yea and we only own one car....our other mode of transportation is a scooter and our bikes!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anne, great post! Thanks for sharing such easy eco friendly ideas!

    Happy Earth Day!!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I just discovered you on flickr today. Then by complete coincidence someone referred your blog to me. I am in love with your work! You are fantastic. I linked to this blog post. Great tips. I look forward to seeing more of your work. :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anne!
    I loved reading every word of this. Such quick and easy ideas that even I could pull off ;)
    Ah, and the Journey song at the end - MADE MY MORNING :)
    (One of my favorite postings of yours by far :) )
    See you in October!!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. jamie8:41 AM

    lovely post anne!
    hope you don't mind, but i set the road picture as my desktop this month - it was time to move on from the valentine mittens! - I wanted to remind myself that much of what we do in life is a journey, much more so than reaching our destination. miss you!!!!

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  9. Hi Anne, I just found something earth-friendly that I thought you might like to share with your brides. This website sells wedding invitations and favors (and also non-wedding stationary) that is made from recycled paper that's had wildflower seeds embedded in it. You can actually plant the card and grow stuff! I haven't tried it (yet) but it looks pretty cool.

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  10. Hi Anne--great post! I rode my bike to work today! I'm trying to do this a couple times a week, when practical to do so. It takes some planning, but I do feel it's worth it for so many reasons.

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  11. brief warning about green dimes:
    http://www.portfolio.com/views/blogs/market-movers/2007/08/14/revisiting-green-dimes

    perhaps catalogchoice.org is slightly better?

    ReplyDelete
  12. jmpang- thanks for the resource... there's another one also that I couldn't remember the name of, but is great for all forms of junk mail.

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  13. GREAT post......but the picture with the 5 of the same lady is freaking me out.

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  14. I am going to get me some of those dryer balls, woo hoo!

    I have been having trouble though finding where to recycle regular AA batteries. I think that the places near me (that the site referred me to) only accept cell phones & rechargeable batteries only I think... guess I should confirm that though!

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  15. Kim Calakoutis10:06 AM

    Love This!

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  16. Thanks for using my photo (no idling).

    I'll add something to your list: consider the full environmental impact of the things you buy and use -- from the raw materials that are extracted from the ground to how much energy it cost to transport the materials to the factory, the product to you, and how the product will be disposed of when you don't want or need it anymore.

    Take another look at the dryer balls. They are made of petroleum; a lot of energy has already been spent manufacturing them. Will the reduction in the amount you use your dryer offset the energy that went into making them? (I don't know the answer, but I suspect yes because dryer balls seem to have a long lifetime.)

    Be conscious about the products you use and take a moment to think about their total energy costs. Maybe it'll lead you to use less stuff, which in the end will save you money.

    See also the story of stuff.

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  17. Helen, I couldn't agree more, and yes, everyone needs to see The Story of Stuff, it's a great piece that's been done really well.

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  18. i just bought some dryer balls. our dryer takes 2 cycles, so hopefully this speeds it up.

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