If you can remember to watch the latest episode of “The Walking Dead,” you can remember to grab your bags before you stop by the store. Like any habit, it takes time and lots of “Doh’s!” before the behavior sinks in. But this habit will make a difference: 12 million barrels of oil were used to make the 88 billion plastic bags used in the U.S. last year. If you forget your bags, fear not. At the store entrance, look for the plastic-bag recycling bin and reuse these.
Take Up The Tap
As Coloradoans, we are extremely lucky to be close to the natural source of water. Most other states rely on water that has been digested and treated multiple times. Bottled water is not required to be more “pure” than tap water. In fact, over 40% of bottled water actually comes from municipal taps. Don’t waste money and resources for packaging when the best water is free (just carry your own container).
Reclaim Your Mailbox
According to the a study by the Center for a New American Dream, 100 million trees (or the equivalent to clear cutting the Rocky Mountain National Forest every 4 months) are used each year in the U.S to make unrequested mail. Greendimes.com and 41pounds.com offer subscription services to keep unwanted mail from getting to your doorstep. Other free services such as CatalogChoice.org and ProQuo.com do most of the work for you. First, get off the main credit card solicitors’ list. Call 1-800-5OTP-OUT to hide your name for the next five years or permanently. The health department’s Pueblo Recycle Hotline (719-583-4924) has a full list of prevention techniques.
Switch One Cleaner
Keep your home clean without damaging your health and indoor air quality. Almost all cleaners have safer alternatives and work just as well. Look for words such as “biodegradable,” “petroleum-free,” and “phosphate-free.” Save money by changing one of your most-used cleaners to a homemade version. Most non-toxic cleaners combine simple ingredients like baking soda, white vinegar and Castile soap. Explore PuebloCAREs (pueblocares.org) or the local library for recipes and resources.
For Washers, Cold is Hot!
Most clothes do not need hot water to become clean. Hot water is only useful to kill nasty bugs and mold that may live on damp towels and sheets. Using cold settings as opposed to warm or hot water can save over 90% of the energy to wash clothes, says the Rocky Mountain Institute.