Water :: Blog Action Day 2010

Today is blog action day, a day when bloggers from around the world write about the same subject. This year’s topic is water.

There are a lot of different angles to write about with water. Clean drinking water. Efforts to keep rivers and lakes free of trash and debris. Your water footprint.

I’m gong to stick with something I know. Plastic water bottles.

I’m not going to preach about how plastic bottles are bad, because there are some instances when I still use them. But over the past several years, our family has reduced the number of one-time use plastic water bottles. We make an effort to use reusable, recyclable water bottles.

I use aluminum water bottles like this for sports drinks:

And these reusable bottles for lunch boxes:

It’s not a lot, but it’s something. And every bit counts.

According to Earth911.org, American use 28 billion plastic water bottles per year. Another statistics states the average US person drinks 200 bottles per year, 86% which are not recycled.

Some cities are taking action by reducing their spending on bottled water. A city in Maryland even banned the sale of bottled water.

It’s unrealistic to pledge to eliminate plastic water bottles altogether. But by making a conscious effort to use reusable bottles when is appropriate and convenient, and recycling all others, you really can make a difference.


Climate Change :: Blog Action Day 2009

Today is Blog Action Day, a day when all bloggers write a post about the same subject. This year, the topic is climate change.

You’ve probably heard about climate change. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), leading scientists believe that the warming of the earth (global warming) has something to do with the greenhouse gases that we produce when we do everyday things like turn on the lights and drive our car. Even the trash we send to landfills produce greenhouse gases and contribute to the warmer climate change.

So, what do we do about it?

More than a year ago, I wrote this post about ways I help the environment, which in turn, can help slow the changing climate. I also indicated a few more steps I would try to incorporate in the next year. One was to plant a garden, which I did last spring.

One other thing has changed since this post was written. Our trash service has increased the number and variety of recyclable items they accept. They also uses a service called RecycleBank to award points to people who recycle. The more points you receive, the more rewards you can purchase. It’s a good incentive, although my thought is that you should be recycling anyway, not just because you’re going to get a coupon for a free box Kraft macaroni and cheese. One neat thing about RecycleBank is that you can convert your points into a dollar amount and donate it to a participating local non-profit. Now that’s something worth doing.

How does recycling help slow the changing climate? When we recycle, we are reducing the amount of garbage that ends up in landfills, in turn reducing the amount of methane in the air. It also takes less energy to recycle an item, than to manufacture it from raw materials.

My kids are aware of our effort to help reduce our impact on the environment. They recycle their school papers, and try and remember to turn off the lights when they leave a room. They see us bring our own canvas bags to the grocery store and know the “curly” light bulbs use less energy. We drink water from reusable water bottles and try to use reusable food containers instead of ziplock bags.

So, what are you doing to help our planet? Even little step can add up to big changes.

Clean and Green

I’ve joined the green movement. I’ve decided that it really doesn’t take much effort to help our environment, especially if you make small changes throughout the year. Here’s what I am doing to “save the earth.”

I use canvas bags. I have about eight of them, and two drawstring cloth product bags so I don’t have to tear off those annoying plastic bags that are hard to open. The only annoying thing about using canvas bags? Some grocery baggers do not bag them efficiently, and do not fill them to their capacity.

We have changed all of our light bulbs to energy efficient bulbs. Sure, they are more expensive, but we didn’t change them all at once. We waited until a bulb burned out, and replace it with an energy efficient bulb.

We recycle anything and everything we can. Our trash service offers curbside recycling pickup, but only takes a few items. I use a private company that picks up my recyclables twice a week: corrugated cardboard, cardstock, office paper, junk mail, newspaper and magazines, all plastics, glass, tin and aluminum cans, and even paperback books and batteries! It costs a little extra each month, but it’s worth it. We recycle a lot, and sometimes our trash bin only has one bag of trash in it.

I buy local produce from the Farmers Market. This is a win-win for everybody. I’m supporting local farmers and growers, and home grown produce tastes way better than produce from the grocery store.

I ride my bike. OK, I’ll admit, I don’t ride it all that much. Not because I don’t want to, but because I usually have the boys with me. But when I can, I ride to the Farmer’s Market or to the YMCA. My husband is the cyclist in the family. He tries to ride at least once a week to work, weather permitting. Not only is it good for the environment, it’s great exercise.

I”m attempting to make some of my own cleaners. So far it’s only been glass cleaner, but it’s a start. Like the light bulbs, I wait until I run out of a cleaner I have already purchased, then fill a clean bottle with a cleaner I’ve made from natural ingredients.

I reuse file folders and I use both sides of the printer paper. Just turn it over and run it through again.

I doesn’t take much to make a difference. Take baby steps. Next year, I’m going to plant a garden, and maybe add composting. Remember, every little bit helps.