Betty’s New Year Resolutions!

by Betty on January 9, 2015

Art by Kristin LaFlamme Art by Kristin LaFlamme

JUST SAY NO TO PLASTIC

Plastic forks, spoons, knifes, bags, take-out, bags, packaging.  Is it humanely possible to go without plastic for a year?  The answer for most people is NO.  But it’s definitely worth a good college try.  If you need a little inspiration Google “plastic gyres in the ocean” which are giant islands of plastic floating in our oceans.  So pack your bamboo forks in your purse, store utensils at work, stash some in your car and take the no-plastics challenge!  If you find a friendly sales clerk pushing the plastic bags (I’m sure we’ve all had this experience), gently share your new year’s resolve or quip “No thanks, I’m trying to quit” which usually gets a smile.

 

USE LESS ELECTRICITY

Whether you make use of the latest smart home technology or just have a regular habit of turning off your lights when you leave, resolve to use less electricity this year.  Have you winterized your home?  Do you have a programmable thermostat yet?  Do you change your HVAC filters regularly (it’s easy with FilterEasy home delivery)? Have you had a LEAP home energy check up yet (leap-va.org)?  It’s worth the $45 dollar investment.  The more energy we all save the more we are doing our part to end mountaintop removal from coal-fired power plants.

 

RECYCLE MORE

Set up a system in your home to sort out your recycling. If you live in the city, great! They’ll pick it up for you (as long as it’s separated from the trash). If not, you can take your recycling to McIntire Road Recycling Center. Already recycle? How about composting? Composting saves resources and reduces greenhouse gases by keeping waste out of the landfill and putting it to good use. Black Bear Composting is a great option for those looking to compost at home but don’t have the time or the space to do it themselves! TAKE THE SURVEY! https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/HCKV339

 

De-ccumulate – LESS STUFF

According to Annie Leonard’s Story of Stuff 99% of what we buy ends up in the trash within 6 months. Think about that next time you’re out shopping. “Do I really need this?” “Will I still be using this in six months?” “Could I borrow this from somebody instead?” Collaborative consumption, AKA sharing, is a great way to avoid unnecessary purchases. Why buy a brand new power drill that you’ll only use once a year when you can just borrow one from your neighbor? Think about setting up a sharing/exchange program in your neighborhood for unwanted or unused goods.

 

WASTE LESS FOOD

40% of what we prepare ends up in the trash. We recently food a great awareness raising and action-inspiring website called I value food. Take the Meal Reveal and the Waste Quiz and I believe you’ll be inspired to take action. Step one: what about making an “Eat Now” shelf in your fridge?

 

CONSUME BETTER

Much of what we buy is designed for the dump. It’s sole purpose is to not last, so you’ll buy more. This is called planned obsolescence and is good for manufacturers and an economy built on consumption, but stinks for consumers and the environment.  When you’re out buying, keep in mind where these items will end up. Are they made of recyclable materials? Do they come in recyclable packaging? Are they going to last, or are they destined for the dump? Perceived obsolescence is also something that plagues all of us. This is the desire for the next new thing. Advertisements will tell you that your perfectly functioning phone, laptop, or tablet is out of date and uncool. What’s really uncool is an ever growing trash heap! Hold onto that tech for a few more months, or even years, and take comfort in the fact that you are contributing to a culture of smarter, better consumption.

 

ORDER UP MORE ECO-LIFESTYLE ACTIONS with Betty’s Home Menu of eco-actions (betterworldbetty.org/homemenu).  From the a la carte easy stuff to the family-style dinner, rack up the points and have some fun while your doing it.  Sign up online where you can download the menu and take actions that will lighten your household’s environmental footprint and save you money.  Mail betty@betterworldbetty.org and we’ll send you your free fridge magnet and bumper sticker to get you started!  

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