"Going Green” can mean different things to different people as well as different things in different settings. The one thing that “Going Green” always means is reducing the impact one has on the Earth’s resources.
There are numerous ways to go green, many of which can be easily incorporated into everyday life. Consider paper use. How much wasteful paper use occurs daily in the typical home? As an example taken from kitchens across the country, many singles and families alike routinely use paper towels, paper napkins and even paper plates. Adding in a few newspaper or magazine subscriptions and a pile of junk mail equals a lot of wasted paper per household each year.
For “Going Green” beginners, just combating paper waste can significantly reduce the impact an individual or family has on the environment. As most paper comes from trees, reducing paper use will save trees from needless harvest. Put the following ideas into practice today!
Stop using paper products unnecessarily. Commit to using real plates, even for snacks. Make or purchase cloth napkins to be used at meals. Keep paper towels for use only during those times when a dishcloth or sponge may not be appropriate, such as for clean up of poultry blood or other potential bacterial contaminants during food preparation. Follow Grandpa’s example and keep a handkerchief handy rather than reaching for a tissue. Be sure to purchase toilet paper made from post consumer content rather than virgin fibers.
Switch to paperless billing wherever possible and sign up for online banking to pay monthly bills. Read the news or magazines online through digital subscriptions and opt for paperless book club or other memberships. Reduce or eliminate the number of catalogs that come by mail by contacting each company and requesting removal from their mailing list. Reduce the amount of other junk mail by signing up with a reputable mail preference service.
Reuse and Recycle Paper
Save gift-wrap, tissue paper and gift bags to reuse on another occasion. Recycle greeting cards into postcards or gift tags. Donate magazines to libraries, senior centers or medical facilities and use catalogs for children’s crafts. Take old phone books or newspapers to the local recycling center or use for cleaning windows or to make compostable starter pots for seedlings.
Bring Less Paper Home
Make or buy a reusable cloth shopping bag and significantly cut down on both paper and plastic bag usage. Buy products in bulk when possible to minimize wasteful packaging. When given the option, consider whether a receipt is really needed, for instance, at the coffee shop, grocery store or gas pump.
Going Green can be a lot of fun! Spread the word. Share green ideas at work, at school and in the community. Encourage neighbors to get involved. Join, or even organize, green community activities. Take care of the Earth and she will return the favor!