The other day I was talking to a friend on the phone. I heard the water running in the background and asked her what she was doing. “Brushing my teeth,” she replied in a muffled voice. The fact that she was talking to me on the telephone while performing her morning hygiene rituals, did not phase me in the least. What bugged me was the fact that she had left the water running while she was brushing her teeth. This prompted me to start asking other people if they do the same. Astoundingly, of the 14 people who I asked, 7 of them admitted to leaving the water running the entire time they are brushing their teeth. I couldn’t believe it.
In my eco-concious ignorance, I had thought that these long suggested and super simple things we could do to reduce waste, save money, and conserve resources, were commonplace for everyone. It’s second nature at my house to shut off the water right after your wet your toothbrush. You put it back on when you need to rinse. I do it. My kids do it. They don’t know any other way. So, in rounding out this week’s Earth Day topic, I thought we’d remind every one of a few ridiculously easy, back to basics, things you can do to make Earth Day everyday. These are literally 5 of the easiest things you can do to be green, without really disturbing your daily routine or costing you a dime (in fact most save money).
Run away. As I mentioned, turning off the water while you are brushing your teeth is such an easy way to save on your water bill and conserve water. Why literally allow money to flow down the drain? If you brush for just 2 minutes, that’s about 10 gallons of extra water you are paying for. Multiply that by two or three times per day, per person, and that’s a nice chunk of change. Some may take this a step further and turn it off while lathering up their hands before rinsing or turning the shower off while putting on shampoo and conditioner. But, baby steps is all I am asking for.
Turn it off. I am always amazed when I see people leaving their car running while they run into the post office, the convenience store, or to grab their kids from school. Despite the popular belief that it uses more gas and energy to shut off and restart your car, unless you are literally going to be less than one minute, it is more efficient to turn the car off and restart it when you return. Not to mention, it is a lot safer too. If leaving your car unlocked is practically an invitation to get your belongings taken, imagine what leaving your car running with the keys in it says?
Snip it. Remember years ago when there was big controversy about cutting those plastic rings that come on multi packs of your favorite beverages? There was lots of talk about marine and wild life were getting caught in the rings and suffocating, choking, or dying of starvation as a result. Everyone (mostly) diligently snipped their rings. And then it just seemed to stop. Out of sight out of mind I guess? Well, the risk is still real, and it is still there. So go ahead and start snipping again. Or better yet, don’t buy things that come with those plastic ring holders. I haven’t had to snip a ring in about 5 years.
Charge it. People seem to have forgotten that it is not safe to toss batteries into the trash. Or maybe they never got the memo. In either case, this is a real basic. Batteries contain mercury and will leak into ground water and soil, or be released into the air, when discarded and placed in landfills. Simply put, store used batteries in a safe, clearly labeled box or container, until they can be taken to a local recycling facility. A better basic? Rechargeable batteries. It’s easy and money-saving too.
Eggs-actly. Here is one so old, so well-known, that to this day it still blows my mind when I see people purchasing styrofoam. Styrofoam will never biodegrade. Seriously. That egg carton you bought back in March of 1974, it’s still sitting, fully intact in some landfill somewhere. Now multiply that by the 41 million other styrofoam egg cartons purchased back in March of 1974 alone. The picture is not pretty. Now, who can blame you really? Back in ’74, your options were pretty limited. But I cringe when I see someone opt for the styrofoam plates, packaging, or egg cartons, when the much safer, greener, and earth-friendly paper or cardboard options are sitting right next to them on the shelves. In fact, it kind of blows me away that they even still make them. So please, ditch the styrofoam. It’s just not okay. Tips like recycling and using cloth or canvas bags seem to always stay at the forefront of conversation, so it’s easy to remember to do these things. But these 5 tips I have shared with you, are tried and true, oldies but goodies, that seem to have slipped through the cracks. It’s time to bring them back. After all, being eco-friendly and environmentally conscious never goes out of style.
And speaking of style… it’s time to give away our stylish and fun reusable shopping bags! Thank you for your feedback, and for sharing the things that you do to be more environmentally conscious. We hope that this week served to remind you that we are truly all in this together!
You’re winners are:
Jill, Keith and Emily.
Winners: We will attempt to contact you via our site and our Facebook page. Please contact us by email firstname.lastname@example.org or on our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/oneunified to claim your prize!