When I first heard about “going green” I felt very overwhelmed. There were so many things that my family did that were so clearly un-green, that I felt like we were almost solely destroying the environment. I started hearing terms like “carbon footprint” and was totally freaked out and thought that while families everywhere were changing their ways and saving our environment, our family wasn’t going to be able to make any changes that would stick. I’m the person who buys the reusable shopping bags but forgets them at home (or accidentally leaves them in the car) whenever I go to the supermarket. I’ll also make 3 trips to the same place because I leave something home, giving the environment nothing but the emissions from my SUV.
Over the past few years, I’ve tried to do little things to make us greener because my thought was that even the littlest change was better than no change at all. As we start a new year, here are a few things that your family can do that are super simple, will make you a little greener and make our environment a little cleaner.
- When you buy eggs at the supermarket, buy eggs packaged in cardboard instead of styrofoam cartons. Cardboard is much more recyclable than styrofoam cartons (which don’t decompose for 100 years!).
- Speaking of supermarkets, use recyclable bags at checkout. Many supermarkets will take a few cents off of your bill for each recyclable bag you use. If you don’t want to purchase recyclable bags, reuse the regular supermarket plastic bags on multiple shopping trips.
- Carpool! Not only is it green because it keeps car emissions out of the environment, but it’s much more convenient for parents to only have to drive one way! Don’t forget that caring for your car will also make it run better and therefore keeps the environment cleaner. Change the oil filter on a regular basis, make sure your tires have enough air in them, drive the speed limit and reduce the weight of your car by making a conscious effort not to carry around extra things.
- When you print things on your printer or write on scrap paper, use both sides of the paper – by using two sides instead of one, you immediately cut paper consumption in half.
- Recycle your sneakers! The Long Island Ducks have joined Keep Islip Clean in their efforts to recycle used sneakers for NIKE’s “Reuse-A-Shoe” program. From January 3 through January 31, 2012, drop-off your used sneakers (athletic shoes of any brand that do not contain metal) to the Ducks executive offices at the Bethpage Ballpark. The shoes will be collected and shipped to NIKE’s recycling facility in Memphis, Tennessee where they will be separated, ground up and recycled for use in materials that build new sports surface, gear, padding and shoes. Because these sneakers will not be sent to landfills, donations help clean up our environment while at the same time helping others. Win-win for everyone!
- Here’s my favorite – cut down on the paper by receiving less junk mail. Contact and or all of the companies below to have your name taken off mailing lists. If your newspaper or magazines offer an online digital version, subscribe to that instead of the actual publication. DirectMail.com, DMA Consumer Assistance and OptOut will all reduce the amount of mailing lists your name appears on.
Overall, remember that there are very small changes that we can make to be a little greener. If we all make the tiniest effort, our world will be a much cleaner place.
We’d love to read your comments about what changes you’re making in your own house!