Thursday, October 18, 2007

One Less Napkin

Thursday, October 18, 2007
Tonight's energy efficiency class was entertaining and enlightening. The program focused on the four R's - rethink, reduce, reuse, and recycle. I think most of us have heard of the reduce, reuse, recycle part, but it was the rethink part that I really liked. Here are some of my key takeaways from tonight:
  • The average American throws away 1460 pounds of garbage every year - we are so wasteful!
  • Look at packaging! If you have the option of a styrofoam egg carton or a paper one, pick the paper - it can be recycled when you're finished.
  • I learned a cool new term - precycle! Instead of purchasing several small containers of yogurt, purchase one large one - this creates less waste. Consider purchasing a small box of jello and making it up at home rather than purchasing the individually packaged jellos. It may be more convenient, but a small recyclable box creates a lot less waste than the cardboard packaging, 6 small plastic jello cups, and the foil lids. If possible, buy items with no packaging at all.
  • The average distance food on an American's dinner plate has traveled is 1700 miles! Consider buying local or only fruit that is in season.
  • Ride your bicycle when the weather is nice instead of driving your car.
  • Donate items when possible instead of throwing them away. Local organizations such as Computers for Kids are more than happy to take used computers and monitors off your hands for a good cause, when otherwise you would need to take them to the local hazardous waste pickup. The average CRT monitor contains 8 pounds of lead!!!
  • Glass is not picked up as part of the curbside recycling in Boise, but there are drop off sites. The glass is recycled locally - every couple years, the ACHD grinds down all the glass that has been collected, and the glass is then used in the makeup of the sub-surface of our roadways. In fact, 90% is rock and 10% recycled glass, which is reported to help with drainage, etc.
  • If you register with Greendimes, you can actually reduce the amount of junk mail that is sent to you, thus reducing your waste. There is a small charge to register, but in return, they'll plant 10 trees on your behalf. How cool is that!!!?!