Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #39 - Earth Day Edition

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Here are some things that we've done to reduce, recycle, reuse and preserve our precious Earth.
  1. Install a dryer vent that can switch from venting outdoors to venting indoors during the winter. In the wintertime, the thing you need most in is warmth and moisture. This provides plenty of both, plus your home smells like clean laundry. This kit is relatively cheap (~$20) at Home Depot.

  2. Install CFL light bulbs everywhere. Not only do they save money in electricity, they keep your house cooler in the summer.

  3. Use a real cup for water at work. The amount of styrofoam cups that are used at work is mind boggling. You don't even need to wash a water cup that often and I use the extra water at the end of the day to water my plants.

  4. Use a ceramic mug for coffee. Yes you do have to wash a coffee mug out, but thankfully this just deters me from drinking coffee every day.

  5. Printed out recycling signs and posted "No Cans / No Bottles" signs over the garbage cans at work. Recycling is very new in my workplace in New Hampshire (totally different than in Massachusetts) and I cringe every time I peer into the garbage and see a bunch of plastic bottles and cans (which I will sometimes fish out if they aren't covered in food). So far the signs seem to help the number of people carelessly tossing their recyclables away.

  6. Recycle everything that is recyclable at our transfer station. For several years we were able to recycle #3 to #7 plastics, especially those #5 polypropolene yogurt cups, but now we are back to #1 and #2 plastics only. Glass, aluminum, steel, cardboard and paper are all recycled. And they have a convenient Salvation Army drop-off for clothes.

  7. Pass on children's books to co-workers with younger children. For that matter, I also pass on adult books that I no longer need on my bookshelf.

  8. Register with I registered in October last year when they first started up and immediately entered all the catalogs I receive. Unfortunately, the catalog companies have been slow to respond and only a few have confirmed that they have received my request. It is a great concept though and if enough people join, perhaps catalog companies will wake up and pay attention!

  9. Register with Direct Marketing Association to stop catalogs. Since these people are actually on the side of more direct marketing, they try to scare you from signing up by putting up this disclaimer:
    If your name goes on the DMA's Mail Preference Service you will no longer receive mailings about magazines that may interest you. Most discount coupons that save you money at the stores will stop coming and so will the catalogs that make holiday shopping easier. This means that you will not receive free product samples nor offers for new books, records and tapes.

    For many people advertising mail is fun, informative, and a convenience. It gives you time to consider a purchase carefully without any sales pressure. You can make your selections and order from your home at any hour of the day or night, any day of the week. If a piece of mail doesn't interest you, simply toss it into the recycling bin. The choice is yours.

    Um, I think most people get past the junk mail is fun stage by the time they hit 20 or so. Yes, I don't want junk mail! And hello? What about shopping on the internet? And I still get plenty of free samples that I actually want from FreeStuffTimes, thanks.

  10. Register with OptOutPrescreen to reduce the number of credit card offers. I registered in December, and there has been a slight decrease in offers, but not really enough to put a dent in the junk mail.

  11. Decided not to buy a minivan. We've decided to stick with our trusty Toyota Echo which is still getting 40-45 mpg at 135k miles. If we do take a long car trip or vacation, we'll just rent a minivan then instead of having to take the hit on the mileage all year round.

  12. Walk or bike at lunch instead of taking the car to the gym. In fact I canceled my gym membership for the spring, summer and fall and will rejoin when it gets too cold to exercise outside.

  13. Spread the word on biodegradable forks spoons and knives. These are prevalent in our customer's site in Toronto, Canada, and all the trash from the cafeteria goes into a composting bin. I haven't seen them in the US yet, but it is a really cool idea. The forks are great quality and very comparable to heavy weight plastic ware.
This post is also doing double duty for Thursday Thirteen as well as Hump Day Hmm's Earth Day edition. Reduce, recycle and reuse!


Melissa said...

The multitasking? Is brillant! I am so impressed! Both with your list and you abilities. :)

Anonymous said...

The next wave will be LED bulbs to replace CFLs to reduce energy and mercury.

Your quick report from the floor of the Spring 2008 Electronics Shows...

pussreboots said...

I work from home (yay telecommuting!) and that saves on gas. I drink water, tea and coffee from actual glasses or ceramic cups. I have the CFs installed everywhere. I like the idea about the two way dryer vent. If only our vent wasn't on our neighbor's roof! Happy TT.

Anonymous said...

No Styrofoam in this house! And we use CFL bulbs everywhere!

Anonymous said...

Way to go... love this list. Keep up the great work. I also do what I can to reduce, recycle and reuse. A lot of what I own is from Freecycle, and a lot of what I don't want any more goes through Freecycle. It's awesome!

Anonymous said...

Whoof! I like to go to Mom's compost pile whenever I can and see what good stuff is there to eat. She doesn't like that and said she's going to figure out a way to stop me. Bark!

Julie Pippert said...

Great list and suggestions!!

My only caution is with #1...don't use dryer sheets if you do that or be careful which ones you use (same goes with softener products). They do release chemicals into the air. Well, you should worry about that whether venting in or out, but in will be potentially more harmful. :)