Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Greening 201: Ideas for a greener 2015 for the already converted

So, you compost, always have a reusable bag and cup with you, you buy local produce and products, sold your car and haven’t used a clothes dryer in years.  What’s next? How can you take your greening to the next level?  Here are a couple of ideas as you ponder into 2015.

Ditch the straw: About 500million straws are used in the US every day and many of these contain BPA. While it’s easy enough to say you won’t use straws, the trick is that many restaurants bring drinks (water, iced tea, margaritas, etc) to the table with the straw already in the drink.  Order your drink sans straw.  It will keep you on your toes.  Even the National Park Service thinks this is a good idea!

My current cork collection!
Start recycling one funky thing: While many goods can easily be recycled in bins, other items (CFLs, corks, batteries, jeans, etc) can be a challenge.  Commit to recycling one funky item.  Tell your friends, colleagues, neighbors, coffee shop, fellow gardeners etc about your project and tell them that you’ll also recycle this one item for them.  Embrace this and do it with joy…and maybe someone you know will start recycling some other funky item.

Don’t buy eggs in Styrofoam cartons.  Duh. I had to throw in something easy.  Why are Styrofoam egg cartons even made anymore?  Even my CSA won’t take them.

Look, Ma! No plastic bag!
Tell your neighbors not to put recyclables in a plastic bag! Plastic bags can REALLY mess up a recycling sorter and can shut it down for hours.  Recyclables can go right into the bin; they shouldn’t be bundled into a plastic bag.  If you have a lot of plastic bags to recycle, take them to a grocery store OR DC DDOE says to put all the bags together in one large bag.  (I know you know this, but I bet your neighbors don’t.)

Carry eating utensils in your bag/purse and a container/jar for leftovers when you go out to eat.  You’ll be able to avoid food waste and plastic/Styrofoam packaging.

Commit to establishing a garden plot this year!  If you don’t have room in your own backyard, try getting a plot at a community garden.  It’s not too early to contact them.  Here’s a partial list of DC Community Gardens and contact info.  If you’re not into gardening, join a CSA. Here’s a 2014 list of CSAs.  I’m sure much of the contact info is still the same.

Stop coloring your hair.  It will save you time, money, and you’ll be doing your part to keep many b-a-d bad chemicals out of the waste stream.

Join Freecycle DC.  I love this list serv.  I have passed along COUNTLESS items I would not have thought anyone would want, from used (but clean!) ziplock bags to mailing envelopes.  There’s some really good stuff on the list serv too!

Canoe or kayak the Anacostia.  The Anacostia is DC’s hidden gem.  You can rent canoes and kayaks, paddle boats and rowboats at Bladensburg Waterfront Park, and it’s easy enough to get there by bike or car.  You can see the beauty of this river despite all the trash.  It will remind you why we need to keep spreading the gospel of recycling. 

Go forth, and green.

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