Three Disposable Habits to Beat before Earth Day

March 9th, 2010

With the 40th anniversary of Earth Day just around the corner in April, it may be a great time to make a new green goal.

Consider giving up three disposables: fast-food wrappers, Dixie cups and plastic grocery bags.


1. Fast food wrappers

It saddens me to see the long lines at the drive-through of the Chick-fil-A near my home. Of all the fast food out there, Chick-fil-A is one that tends to be more tasty, so they’re always crazy busy.

However, Chick-fil-A goes through a ton of packaging for all those side items, not to mention their Styrofoam cups. Nothing on their menu is organic. Nothing on their website speaks of an environmentally conscious company. There’s so much they could do. Chick-fil-A could offer a discount to customers who come inside rather than idling in the drive-through. They could replace current food packaging with items more easily recycled locally. And it would sure be lovely if they used organic chicken!

Now that I’ve finished picking on that chicken joint, I’d like to challenge you to limit your fast-food intake. Your health and the environment will thank you. Try to pack your lunch with reusable containers instead of plastic baggies.
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Reduce Paper Towel Usage

February 18th, 2010

One thing you can do to change your habits in honor of upcoming Earth Day is to take a long, hard look at your paper towel usage. And maybe stop using altogether.


Sure, paper towels can be handy for things like cleaning up kitty vomit or patting the grease off the top of bacon, but do you really have to use them for every little mess?

I cut down on my paper towel usage by following a few easy routines:

• Dry your hands with a clean towel that you reserve for that purpose: a hand towel in the kitchen. You may wish to buy some different ones for this purpose so they can be identified as hand towels for the kitchen, not for cleaning.

• Clean messes with a dish towel. Replace it daily (or more often if needed) to reduce the spread of germs.

• If you’re cleaning something particularly gross, go ahead and use a paper towel if that makes you feel better. Or just use a cloth towel once.

If you follow those tips, you may be able to cut your paper towel usage down to just one roll or less a month. Lots of folks don’t use any paper towels at all.

Imagine the money and trees you’ll save.

(Image via Etsy)

Review Spending Habits for Earth Day

April 11th, 2009

With Earth Day just around the corner, now’s a good time to take a look at how your spending habits may be affecting the environment. I was able to hear Jane Goodall speak at my local zoo recently, and she reminded us that we each make a difference each day. She wants us to think before we buy.

Here are some tips to help you revise your spending habits to be more green:

• Choose organic or Fair Trade whenever possible, and be aware that words like “natural” may mean nothing. Always read ingredients.

• If you don’t make your own green cleaning products, choose companies that produce only green cleaners. These are people like Ecover and Seventh Generation.

• Look at packaging. Many companies are finding ways to reduce packaging. If you think one of your favorite products needs a packaging overall, tell the manufacturer. They are listening more than you think.

• Look for the Leaping Bunny symbol when choosing cleaners and cosmetics. Animal testing isn’t required or necessary.

• Buy from local farmers and artisans. If you don’t, these people can’t make a living. The small farming way of life may be making a comeback, but they still very much need your help.

For more guidance on buying green, I highly recommend Big Green Purse. I reviewed it last year. Also, read more on the history of Earth Day.

Have a green Earth Day! And every day.

(Image via stock.xchng)

Celebrating Earth Day

April 18th, 2008

How do you plan on celebrating the upcoming Earth Day on Tuesday, April 22?

Earth Day has come under attack by greenies who say you shouldn’t just think about the earth one day a year, but I don’t think that’s the idea. Earth Day started in 1970, and its principal founder, Senator Gaylord Nelson, had this to say about the very first Earth Day:

“Earth Day worked because of the spontaneous response at the grassroots level. We had neither the time nor resources to organize 20 million demonstrators and the thousands of schools and local communities that participated. That was the remarkable thing about Earth Day. It organized itself.”

The seeds of Earth Day were planted back in 1962 when Nelson persuaded President Kennedy to go on a conservation tour, which began in 1963. The conservation tour didn’t have a dramatic effect, but it put the wheels in motion for the first Earth Day, seven years later.

So, sure Earth Day may seem like an old, unnecessary idea to some, but we need to remember how it represents a time when environmental issues came to the forefront of national attention for the first time.

I’m not really sure what happened to cool the fire between 1970 and now, but we obviously haven’t done enough to protect the environment. Will your children look back and smirk at the idea of this Earth Day that accomplished nothing? What might another 38 years of nearly no change bring about? We don’t really need to find out.

Make some new green goals this Earth Day and celebrate them throughout the year.