Apr 29, 2011

Easy Ways to Make Less Trash

The average American creates 4.6 pounds of trash each day, and that really piles up! All our trash in the landfills emits a gas called methane, which is the second biggest cause of global warming. And some of the trash we make gets to the ocean, which has created a huge garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean.
To reduce your impact on the landfill, try some of these following tips:

  • Compost kitchen and yard scraps (how to available here)
  • Bring reusable bags to the grocery store
  • Switch from a paper lunch bag to a reusable lunch box
  • Donate stuff you don't want anymore (but is still in good condition) to a thrift store, or sell it on craigslist or ebay.
  • Keep something in your car to bring extra food from restaurants home with (instead of the disposable styrofoam containers)
  • Try to buy things with as little packaging as possible. 
  • Bring a reusable cup to Starbucks
  • Avoid bottled water. Use a reusable water bottle instead (check out these cool designs)
  • Use reusable containers instead of Ziploc bags
  • Recycle! 
  • Use reusable plates, silverware, and cups while eating
  • When buying things, think about 
    • will this break soon or will it last a long time?
    • does this have excessive packaging?
    • can I borrow or rent this instead?
    • can I recycle this when I'm done with it?
This doesn't seem like much, but if everyone did these things, think how much a difference it would make!

For more tips, visit:

No Impact Man
Green Garbage Project
Gaiam Life
A zero waste family

Comment with your own tips and ideas! :)

Apr 20, 2011

Sesame Street Saves Water

This is a cute video with a good message - don't waste water!

Book Review - Get Real:What Kind of World are YOU Buying? by Mara Rockliff

This is the book that got me started on the whole consumerism and environmental thing. Before I read Get Real, I wasn't really a big tree-hugger. I recycled, and I turned off the lights when I left a room, but that was just habit. I never really thought about why I did those things, or what would happen if I didn't.

This book explains how everything you buy, from a car to a tuxedo to a Tootsie Roll, has an impact on the world. One chapter is about advertisements and how they try to deceive you. The next is about sweatshops and factory workers (titled "And All I Got was this Lousy T Shirt"). More are about fast food, e-waste, and genetically modified foods. Then it shifts to a positive focus, mentioning local stores, fair trade chocolate, and "designer greens" (products designed to be good to the environment). Next it tells you about how to tell actual eco-friendly products from the "greenwashers."  The last quick chapter is appropriately titled, "Do It." This chapter is about how you can make a big difference.

After reading this book, I've started seeing things in a new light. Instead of seeing a shirt, for example, just for how it looks or fits, I see where it came from, what was used to make it, and how it will eventually become trash. It inspired me to start this blog and really got me thinking about the world.

If you read one book I recommend, this should be it.

Check it out from your local library or buy it on Amazon

Apr 13, 2011

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

a.k.a. the Pacific Trash Vortex

Believe it or not, the world's largest landfill isn't on land at all - its in the middle of the Pacific Ocean! The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a section of the ocean where currents bring trash to an area estimated to be twice the size of Texas. Charles Moore, a marine researcher, has estimated the mass of the patch at 100 million tons.

An estimated 80% of the garbage comes from land based sources......meaning you and me! Most of it is plastic. The plastic disintegrates into smaller and smaller and smaller pieces until the pieces are molecules. But get this: It's still plastic! Eventually, that plastic is ingested by aquatic organisms. Plastics have been found in the stomachs of marine birds and animals such as albatrosses, jellyfish, and more - research has shown that this debris affects at least 267 species across the world.

"Why do I care?" you ask, being human. Besides the fact that it's totally gross, more than a million birds and marine animals are killed each year who eat or get caught in the trash. Plus, these jellyfish and other animals are eaten by bigger fish, and then by us. So those toxic chemicals can make their way into your dinner!

How to keep the Patch from growing:
  • Reduce the amount of disposable plastic you use. Try using a reusable container or water bottle instead of a Ziploc bag or plastic bottle. 
  • When buying anything made from plastic check before buying to see if it's recyclable in your town. Most towns only recycle #1 and #2 plastics. Go here to find out what and where you can recycle in your town.
  • Make sure what you are buying will last awhile, instead of immediately breaking. Try to buy things that will be used multiple times.
  • Before buying something, ask yourself if you really need it. 
To learn more about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, visit:

And to learn how to reduce your plastic waste, visit:

Good luck! :)

Apr 4, 2011

Creative Upcycling!

Check out these photos about people who used recycled materials to create sweet things:
A prom dress made entirely out of Skittles wrappers
Earrings from circuit boards (sorry for bad photo quality)
Products made from a European airline's discarded womens' uniforms
A bed's headboard  made from books
A wall made from recycled beer bottles

A dress made mostly from old fairy tale books

Apr 2, 2011

They Say it Better than I Can

So, here are some interesting quotes about environmentalism. :)

"It wasn't the Exxon Valdez captain's driving that caused the Alaskan oil spill.  It was yours."  -Greenpeace advertisement, New York Times, 25 February 1990
 "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke
“I think the environment should be put in the category of our national security. Defense of our resources is just as important as defense abroad. Otherwise what is there to defend?”- Robert Redford 
“Trying to save ecosystems has more to do with changing egosystems.”  -Don Rittner

And good slogans (they really make you think!)

Trees don't grow on money either
When you refuse to reuse it’s our Earth you abuse
Modern technology owes ecology an apology.
It’s only good until the last drop, then what?
May the Forest be with you
For more environmental slogans, visit http://www.thinkslogans.com/slogans/environmental-slogans/

Apr 1, 2011

Funny Recyling Commercial

Care More, Car Less!

Exhaust fumes from cars account for about half of the world's CO2 emissions from transportation. Most transportation's fuel is oil. Burning oil produces carbon dioxide, which leads to global warming. Burning oil also gives off pollutants like carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide, and hyrdrocarbons. "Why should I care?" you ask, being human. Pollutants can get you sick! They cause health problems such as shortness of breath, chest pains, asthma attacks, increase allergy symptoms, eye irritation, and cause lung cancer. Instead of driving by yourself or with just one other person, why not try:

  • Carpooling
  • Biking or walking
  • Taking the bus or other form of public transit
Even if you only make these changes about once a week, you still have an impact. Everything counts! 
     For More Information:
    Check out this website about driving less, this website about air pollution, and this website about biking to work.

    *The title of the post was used in the book "What's the Point of Being Green?" by Jacqui Bailey.