Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thursday's 10-Minute Green Tip Toe

My Green Tip Toe post is designed as a "you-pick". Do whatever you can. Even if you only have time to do one thing on this list, you're doing something to help. These tips are all about living more green, so keep in mind if travel is necessary, pick your method by being mindful of the environment (i.e. walk or bike if you can; leave the Hummer at home. We'll call that tip#1):
  • It is almost back to school time, and that means school supply shopping is around the corner. If you have an office supply or discount store nearby, you and the kids might just as well make it a fun outing and take the bicycles. Don't forget to bring backpacks to carry your loot home, and most importantly, wear your helmets.
  • While you're at the supply store, remember to buy only recycled notebook and printer paper, and consider this idea instead of buying new 3-ring notebooks: Take last year's notebooks and let your kids decorate them with photos, magazine clippings, cartoon strips, wrapping paper and cloth leftovers, and anything else your creativity brings to mind. These notebooks certainly won't be lost easily and the kids will get a lot of compliments from their teachers. That's a great way to start the school year. To protect their artwork, use heavy-duty vinyl from the office supply store to cover the notebooks, or get them laminated for a more professional look.
  • Another product to look for at the school supply store is soy ink. All that printed paper ends up in a dump at some point, so choose soy when you can.
  • Clean out your closet and locate all those old, misplaced and unused tote bags. They will make great "green" grocery bags and you won't have to pay a thing for them.
  • Are you like me and have a lawn service who handles fertilizing, insect problems, fungicides, etc.? Do a quick search online for organic lawn care providers and give them a call. I'll be meeting with 2 suppliers in my area soon, and I'll let you know what I learn. I hope you will leave me a comment on your experience.
  • No doubt you have read and heard the many dangers of plastics to the environment. Plastics are made from petroleum products, and the dangers of both freezing and heating your food in plastic has been much-publicized lately in the green media. You can help the environment and your family's health by gradually shifting your food storage containers to glass. Ideas?
  • Every year I send my family home with leftovers from Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners in disposable plastic containers. Last year I told them to keep them. If you like to give goodies for gifts, use up some of your plastic containers as gift packaging. With an appropriately frilly bow and ribbon, it will look quite festive. Finally, save and reuse glass containers from foods you buy. Some examples are fruit juice, pasta sauce, mayonnaise, jams, etc. If you are up for spending a little money, think about canning jars. They are dishwasher safe and have a good seal for freezing and holding liquids.
  • Speaking of gift giving, try to focus on reusable gift bags instead of gift wrap. More trees on the planet means cleaner air.
  • The next time you are in a discount or bed/bath store, check out organic cotton sheets. If there is any one cloth item in your life that you should consider changing to organic, it is your sheets. Check out the prices so you know what you'll need to spend and then keep it in mind when you need sheets. Think about it. You spend about 8 hours a day wrapped in them; that is more skin contact with pesticide-laden cotton than your clothing, so it should be your first conversion. Check out the prices now so you will know what it will cost you when you need new sheets. Watch for sales.
  • Stop by your local bookstore or library and pick up a book on living more green. There is a starter list on my sidebar. The Hundred-Year Lie is definitely a must-read. My next book to read will be Living Like Ed, by Ed Begley, Jr. I found it interesting that he has been living "green" since long before it became "cool". Check it out; his website includes a biography of his acting career as well as information on the many environmental groups he is involved with.

Join me tomorrow for Friday's food post, when I will tell you about one solution that has come up regarding my PB & J Challenges post on 7/18/08. Remember that the comment button follows each post in purple. Thanks for sending along your thoughts.

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