Going Green in Honor of Earth Day: Bring Your Own

The theme of this Earth-friendly post is “bring your own everything”. The next time you run out of the house, take a minute to stop and make sure you have everything you need.  This will require adding a few more things than just your car keys and wallet to your briefcase/purse/bag.  Take a look at the following check list, and make sure you have the appropriate items for your destination checked off:

  • Mug/coffee cup:  Next time you hit up your local coffee shop for a shot of caffeine, make sure you bring your own cup to hold that java.  Stash a mug or reusable thermal cup in your back seat so you won’t need to lug one of those flimsy, junky paper cups out of the cafe.  According to the Guardian Weekly, 220 billion paper cups are consumed annually worldwide, 130 billion of those being in North America.  Many of these paper cups land on the streets, while the others are sent to the already overflowing landfills.  While America contains just 5% of the world’s population, it consumes 1/3 of the Earth’s timber and paper.  As a result, paper weighs in as the largest contributor of waste at 37.5% of the total waste stream.  Avoid the unnecessary tree-killing, street littering, energy wasting throw away cups and bring your own.
  • BPA-free reusable water bottle:  For the health of your skin, hair, and well, your whole body, it’s important to keep hydrated throughout the day.  There’s no better beverage for this than water, and carrying a water bottle with you is the best way to make this hydrater as accessible as possible.  According to the Clean Air Council, Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles per hour.  For all those juice and soda drinkers out there, enough aluminum cans are thrown away to rebuild our nation’s commercial air fleet as much as every three months, while enough iron and steel is wasted to supply our automakers everyday.  By bringing your own water bottle with you, you can reduce the amount of resources you waste (money, materials, energy, etc.) and still have a beverage by your side to quench your thirst.
  • Reusable bags:  Are you one of those people with plastic bags floating all through out your house? Are paper and plastic shopping bags filling your closets?  Do numerous bags show up in your bathroom, your counters, your dining room tables?  How about on your streets (even if they’re not yours)?  If you’re still using the bags your cashier provides you, it’s time for you to break away and invest in some reusable cloth bags.  Those plastic bags you see on the streets that have escaped from homes and ventured out into the world take 450 years to biodegrade.  To create these bags, an excess of water is used, and even if these bags end up getting recycled, they still emit harmful chemicals into the air.  According to reusethisbag.com, in NYC, one less grocery bag per person would reduce waste by five million pounds and save $250,000 in disposal costs.  Why not take advantage of reusable bags?  Sure, it might take a little extra effort to remember to bring them with you, but it’s worth it in order to help preserve our Mother Earth.  Plus, often times the bags have somewhat of an aesthetic appeal…especially compared to the plastic/paper garbage they give you at traditional stores.  Check out www.reusablebags.com/ to get started.

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  • Reply
    marla {family fresh cooking}
    April 20, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    I am proud to say that I bring everything each day for myself and my kids. We have our Sigg water bottles and reusable shopping bags. I like to save the expense and the planet with reusing stuff. xo

  • Reply
    Oraphan
    April 21, 2010 at 12:15 am

    What a great reminder! I always bring my own shopping bags and my water bottle but I’ve never brought my own coffee mug to buy coffee before, I will do that tomorrow:)

  • Reply
    Fi
    April 21, 2010 at 4:03 am

    Woohoo, I’m happy to say that I do all of those things. The shopping bag thing is my biggest pet peeve… the big grocery store near me took away all the plastic bags to encourage people to bring their own. A week later they were back to providing them because so many people complained. Every time I go I see people weighed down with 5 – 10 bags at a time and I just want to yell at them! It would be so much easier for them and better for the planet if they just bought a few of the tougher reusable ones.

    *ahem* Sorry, rant over. Hi, I’m Fi by the way! I ventured here through your comment on Sam’s blog @ snowflakesandsunshine. Hope you don’t mind a new reader! 🙂

  • Reply
    Heather @ Side of Sneakers
    April 21, 2010 at 8:09 am

    Great tips!! I have reusable bags but always seem to forget them- I try to put them in my car whenever I see them in the kitchen so I’m ready for next time. I’m always shocked by how big of an impact just using one less bag/cup/etc can have.

  • Reply
    Elisa Sutherland
    April 21, 2010 at 9:26 am

    My husband and I made a commitment a few years ago to always use our own coffee mugs, bags, and water bottles. If we leave the house without those things, then we have to go without coffee or use mugs and stay at the coffee shop, buy only the groceries we can carry in our hands, and drink from water fountains. After a few annoying times, we became much better at remembering to bring our stuff with us.

  • Reply
    Heather
    April 21, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    Great reminders!

    I always bring my waterbottle and reusable mug (I just keep a mug at work for my tea).

    I have a reusable grocery bag that fits nicely in my purse too!

    Happy Earth Day!

  • Reply
    Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman
    April 21, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    Good reminder! I never remember to bring my reusable grocery bag. (looks down in shame.) I should really just keep it in the car for the random grocery trips I make.

    By the way, for some reason for the past week my work has annoyingly added your blog to its list of blocked sites. Anyhow, I haven’t been commenting much because I do all my reading at work. (I can still read you in Google Reader, and do.) Just so you don’t think I’ve left your blog. I love it!

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