Green Living Tips

A Random Betty Brain Spill of Tips:

The U.S. government estimates that if every American household replaced just one bulb with a CFL, it would have an impact to taking a million cars off the road!

Light Bulbs:

*Burning fossil fuel to provide electricity to power the average light bulb results in the emission of 500 lbs of CO 2 into the environment.

*Replacing just one 75-watt incandescent bulb with an 18-watt compact fluorescent will save about 570 kilowatt-hours of electricity over the bulb’s ten-thousand-hour lifetime. Which means just one bulb will eliminate the combustion of three hundred pounds of coal!

Junk Mail:

Recycling saves precious landfill space, reduces polluting

*American offices throw away enough paper each year to build a wall twelve feet high stretching from Los Angeles to New York City.

According to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries as a nation we use 75 million tons of paper per year – that’s 600 lbs each person every year!

Junk Mail:

Unsolicited junk mail uses 62 million trees a year (Outside magazine, 4/07)

Packaging accounts for 50% of all paper produced in the US

GLASS:

Recycling GLASS reduces:

*Energy use by up to 32 %

*Air pollution by 20 %

*Mining wastes by 80%

*Water use by 50 %

Good to know.

The rule of thumb with GLASS is that any container for food or drink is able to be recycled, anything else not.

Recycling ALUMINUM:

*Uses 95% less energy

*Eliminates 95% of air pollution

*Eliminates 97% of water pollution

*You can earn up to .40 cents per pound

The problems with plastic:

  1. It’s made from a non-renewable polluting source: oil.
  2. Technology used to make plastic produces large amounts of hazardous waste.
  3. Even when it’s recycled, it must be made into a new product.
  4. #7 cannot be recycled.
  5. Every hour Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles.

Meat:

*For each quarter-pound hamburger made from Central American beef, fifty-five square feet of tropical rainforest are destroyed for grazing land. When the cleared trees are burned, 500 pounds of CO 2 is emitted into the atmosphere. We import approximately 135 million pounds of Central American beef each year.

Transportation

Transportation Priority Actions:

According the the Union of Concerned Scientist the number one most harmful consumer activity is transportation. Choose a place to live that reduces the need to drive

  • Think twice before purchasing another car
  • Choose a fuel-efficient, low polluting car
  • Set concrete goals for reducing travel
  • Whenever practical walk, bike, or take public transportation

Helpful Auto Tips:

  • Buy a fuel efficient car
  • Properly maintain your vehicle
  • Calculate your own gas mileage
  • Make sure your brakes are properly adjusted
  • Use unleaded gas and a quality multigrade oil
  • Use radial tires and check tire pressure regularly
  • If your car is going to idle for more than sixty seconds, save gas by turning your engine off.
  • Greatly reduce or eliminate the use of your air conditioner
  • Encourage your local auto service center to install and use CFC recyling equipment for auto air conditioning repair
  • Buy a light-colored car with tinted glass – less air conditioning
  • remove unnecessary articles from your car – the lighter the better
  • Don’t speed. Drive at a moderate pace. For optimum fuel economy drive around 50 mph. Cruising at 70 mph reduces fuel economy by 20-30 p% of course speeding also creates a safety hazard for everyone on the road.
  • Drive smoothly
  • Plan your trips carefully choosing the least-congested route and avoid short trips when possible
  • Arrange or join a car pool for commuting
  • Don’t tailgate
  • Travel light check out ucsusa.org best and worst vehicle environmentally

Lawns:

FACT: Using a gas lawnmower for an hour releases as many unburnt gas byproducts (PAHs) as an average 100 mile road trip

Batteries:

Americans use approximately 2.5 billion disposable batteries annually. (Environmental Action Coalition in New York ) – they contain mercury, manganes, cadmium, nickel, and auto batteries contain toxic lead and sulfuric acid.

Priority actions (given by the Union of Concerned Scientists):

  • Eat less meat
  • Buy organic (when possible)
  • Chose your home carefully
  • Reduce the environmental cost of heating and hot water
  • Install efficient lighting and appliances
  • Chose an electricity supplier offering renewable energy (where available)

Avoid these high impact activities (again UCS):

  • P owerboats – 1hr = smog as driving from DC to Orlando , they use lots of gasoline, fuel goes into the water (govt needs to require labels and incentives for F.E.)
  • Pesticides and fertilizers
  • Fireplaces and wood stoves
  • Recreational off road driving
  • Hazardous paints and cleaners
  • Products from endangered or threatened species

Cloth vs Disposable Diapers

After extensive research conducted on all sides, most comprehensively by the Franklin Institute, this one is mostly awash, which is what I recently read in “Wake Up and Smell the Planet” by Grist. However, Carroll Ann Friedman, the owner of Stork, a local diaper service, just informed me that the Franklin study was, in her opinion, greatly flawed. Below is some of the pertinent information she offered to Betty users:

“*The study points out the significant energy savings of diapers washed industrially. What it fails to account for in its measurement of the carbon impact of disposables is the cost of transporting both raw materials and the finished product. (It does, however, factor in the carbon footprint of transporting cloth diapers). This long-distance transport happens only once for a cloth diaper, which is used 70-100 times, while it happens for each and every disposable.

*Another problem with the Franklin study is the exaggerated difference between numbers of diapers used by cloth and disposable users. Our customers who exclusively use cloth will start service with 70-80 diapers per week (10 per day). By three months, the count usually drops to 50 per week, or 6-7 per day. By 8 months, the count has usually dropped to 40 or less, and will often drop to 20-30 in the second year.

*Cloth diaper users potty train an average of 16 months earlier than disposable users (average age for girls is 22 months, 25 months for boys). This saves hundreds of diapers per baby.

*While the study addresses the waste load of cloth VS disposable, it does not acknowledge that cloth diapers send this human waste through systems designed for its safe treatment while disposable diapers deposit raw sewage in open-air and unfiltered or treated systems where the waste can and does enter groundwater in raw form.

*Contrary to this study, none of our customers use more than one diaper at a time (except occasionally at night). There are several sizes of diapers that accommodate the growing child.

*The study does not address the health benefits to babies in cloth…. disposables have been associated with asthma-like conditions, overheated genitals, dramatically increased diaper rash, and long-term diaper use (this is discussed on more detail on our website: www.thestork.biz).(end of quote by Carroll Ann Friedman)

7 rules for responsible consumption:

  • Give special attention to major purchases
  • Become a weight watcher
  • Analyze your consumption quantitatively
  • Don’t worry or feel guilty about unimportant decisions
  • Look for opportunities to be a leader
  • Buy more of those things that help the environment
  • Think about non-environmental reasons for reducing consumption
  • (slow down the pace of life has the two-fold benefit of lowering your impact on the environment and taking more time to enjoy the precious time and joy in nature, little things)
  • Take care of yourself

FYI: Paint cans are made of steel. If cleaned can be recycled.

“Each breath of air we inhale contains a quadrillion or 10 to the 15 atoms that have been breathed by the rest of mankind within the past few weeks, and more than a million atoms breathed by each and every person on Earth.” (Larry Dossey, MD, Green Lifestyle Handbook , 1990 Biofeedback Certification Institute of America)