Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bloomin' Wonderful Resolutions-- Dana's Five W's

What's your green resolution? The holidays brought a sea of appliances, electronics, packaging, and gift cards into my relatives homes and left me awash with mild shock about how my world is filled with plastic--even if I do carry my own shopping bags and gave up trash bags in 1988. Noodling on how to take it easy on me and momma nature in 2009 produced five simple things I can do that have big impact. I sometimes need mnemonics to remember things, so these are my "Five W's."

1. Wallet. No lectures about spending on lattes, I'm talking about the 10 billion gift cards, library cards, ID cards, membership cards, and other PVC cards that add 75 million pounds of plastic to our waste stream every year. Inspired by the cashier at Home Depot who is collecting thousands of gift cards to be recycled at her register, along with a Starbucks employee who drops cards off by the bag full--in 2009, I’m going to ask businesses if they use Earthworks recycled cards. And I will recylce my used and expired cards by mailing them to Earthworks.

Send your PVC cards to:

Earthworks System, LLC33200 Bainbridge Road, Suite Esolon, OH 44139

2. Water. Yeah, you know about plastic water bottles filling the dumps and possibly leaching toxins into our bodies, so I'm not going to go over that again. I'm concerned about my water filtration system using plastic parts. By mid-year my water filtration supplier promises plastic-free water filtration products will be available and if his molds don't work, I intend to research ones that do.

3. Wash. Research cleaning with a steam cleaner. Judy Garbutt, co-owner of a green cleaning company in St. Augustine, cleans floors, tiles and tubs with a steamer. Eliminates mold, germs, and doesn't use toxic cleaners. She recommends the EuroFlex SC, available on for less than $100. Does it use more water than mopping? Add to electricity use? More research on the wonder cleaner forthcoming.

4. Wear. I'm going to save money and energy drying my clothes and linens using the clothes line more and the dryer less. It saves money on the second-biggest electricity using appliance in my home (frig is first) and cuts down on fabric softener (full of toxins and expensive!).

5. Worry Less. In 2008, I eliminated rental cars on my travels by ride sharing, walking, and using public transportation. It wasn't easy. I have lots of luggage. I'm usually on a tight schedule. I have the tendency to be overly responsible, which can create anxiety.

On a trip to attend a wedding, I borrowed my mother's hybrid and was terrified something would happen to it while I was driving. Not the mood I wanted to be in for celebrating nuptuals. On a trip to Sedona, the shuttle ride from Phoenix to Sedona added three hours to an already long drive. That wasn't easy on my back and I was car sick. But it was cool how many people were amazed that I didn't have a car. It seemed incomprehensible to people that a successful person would walk when they could drive. Americans love their cars.

This resolution is to make greening my travel less stressful this year than it was in 2008--worry-free. See if I'm able to come up with anything when I share my green travel resolutions in January.


Jan 4 Insight said...

Good job on those resolutions! Here's another one: Carry reuseable cloth bags with you when you shop, and lose those polluting and wasteful plastic shopping bags.

Also, I noticed your reference to fabric softeners. Kudos! They are one of my biggest pet peeves, because they're so noxious and wasteful. Here's a tip: Add 2 Tablespoons of baking soda to your water add the start of your wash, and kiss those horrid fabric softeners good-bye forever.

Happy 2009!

Dana said...

I gave up plastic bags years ago, my mother raised us carrying our own shopping bags. It was not considered chic or hip at the time. Glad it is now!

Dana said...

Tried you baking soda tip, it worked!

Wishing you peace of mind and joy in 2009.