Friday, January 31, 2014

Ways to Make Your 2014 Green

For most of us, recycling is like flossing: it's a good thing, sure, but it's not part of our daily routine. We believe that an environmentally-friendly lifestyle takes too much time, money, and effort...and besides, who knows where to start?

But with a little planning, living green can be surprisingly easy. Here are 3 ways you can make 2014 your greenest year yet:

1. Lunch Smarter

With plastic utensils, paper bags, and cardboard containers, lunching-to-go is filled with products that--unless recycled--will go straight into a landfill. The best solution is to pack your lunch from home (using reusable products), but that's not always an option. Here are some small steps you can make next time you're in the drive-thru:

  • Refuse the plastic cutlery and bring silverware with you, or invest in reusable ones that you can easily store in your desk or car.
  •  Quit using plastic containers and transition to mason jars or stainless steel food carriers. The food carriers will cost more, but it's a purchase that can last you years (if not decades). Do you still have any of your cheap, plastic containers from 10 years ago? ...Yeah, me either.

2. Shop Smarter

Lately, it seems everyone is pushing reusable shopping bags...and for good reasons. If you go grocery shopping once a week, and average 5 bags per trip, then you're actually using 240 plastic bags a year. That may not seem like a lot, but think about this: it takes ONE plastic bag up to 1,000 years to degrade...that's insane! And even then, they remain toxic after breaking down. They drift in the ocean, contaminating soil, waterways, and the health of animals. They're one of the most harmful products, and--ironically--something we use daily. If you haven't transitioned to reusable shopping bags, I would urge you to reconsider. You can find them at your local grocery store, or in bulk on the Internet

3. Buy Smarter

Consignment stores, eBay, and Craigslist have never been more popular--and it's not just for the price tag. One of the best ways to help
the environment is buying used clothing, furniture, and other household appliances. But what can you do while you're not in the market for new desks or sweaters? Here are some simple ways to live green at home:
  • Coffee cans, shoe boxes, margarine containers, and other types of containers can be used to store a plethora of things--from food scraps to nuts and bolts. They can also become fun craft projects; for example, here are some creative ways to reuse a coffee can.
  • You've just had your yearly yard sale, but there's still unwanted clothes, toys, and furniture in your garage. Rather than throwing them out, take them to a donation center or give them to a friend. Social media sites like Facebook have become great ways to advertise your unwanted items (and you may even make a small profit!).
These are three simple steps towards a greener 2014. Do you have some more tips? Post them in a comment below.

With Recycled Love,

WKU Recycling & Surplus 

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