Neo

Going green!

41 posts in this topic

Going Green

Recycling

  • items you can typically recycle either through your city's recycling curbside service or through a local drop-off facility:
    • Glass bottles and jars
    • Aluminum and steel food and beverage containers
    • #1 and #2 plastic bottles such as shampoo, milk, etc.
    • Paper such as newspaper, magazines, phone books, etc.
    • Cardboard such as shipping boxes, cereal boxes, etc.
    • #1 and #2 plastic packaging

    • There is typically no need to pre-rinse recyclable materials as all organics are removed during the recycling process. With that said, it is best not to leave half empty cans of soup in the recycling bin for obvious reasons, but recyclables do not need to be spotless when dropped into the recycling bin.
    • Please be aware that most lids cannot be recycled as they are made from a non-recyclable material and should instead be discarded with regular garbage. Break down any boxes and crush aluminum cans before recycling.
    • Some cities are now offering recycling services for items that contain harmful substances such as CFL bulbs as they contain traces of mercury and should not be disposed of with regular garbage.
    • Most auto parts chains will gladly recycle your spent oil (from lawn mowers, etc.) at no charge.
    • Most grocery stores will recycle your used plastic or paper grocery bags. An even better option would be purchasing a permanent bag and taking it with you when you shop, this significantly reduces the amount of waste that is produced.
    • Many cities will come pick up yard waste, old appliances, construction lumber, etc.
      • Composting is the process of turning used organic scraps, grass clippings, regular dirt, etc. into nutrient rich soil that can be used in gardens and other places to give new plants a healthy life.
        • Green Lifestyles

        • Begin with a layer of yard waste such as grass clippings and leaves along with kitchen waste such as orange peels, asparagus ends, old lettuce, coffee grounds, etc. Do NOT place items such as meats or cooked food into your compost.
        • When built up to around six inches then add a layer of soil of the same depth and continue the layering process.
        • Keep your compost turned and moist (not soaked) for roughly 18 months. At this point the compost is usable as a nutrient for your garden, new plantings, etc.

        • For many of us we are set in our lifestyles and do not wish to change much, especially if it has a major impact on the way we live. Fortunately there are things that all of us can do with minimal or no impact on our we live our lives.
          • Replace all light bulbs in your house with the more efficient CFL type bulb (the funky spiral bulbs you see in your local hardware store). These waste less amounts of electricity saving you on your electricity bill and give off the same amount of light.
          • Switch to concentrated products. Concentrated detergents for example require about half of the amount that normal detergents use thus taking up half of the required container space.
          • Purchase a programmable thermostat to save on heating and cooling costs in your home. With these handy units you can reduce the amount of heating/cooling used when you're not home or while you're sleeping.
          • Look for the Energy Star label on appliances that you purchase and compare their efficiency to comparable models.
          • Use a surge strip on electronic devices to easily shut off power completely to them when not in use. Appliances such as TV's, gaming consoles, etc. use a great deal of electricity even when not in use if they are plugged in. Unplugging makes certain that the device isn't using any electricity.
          • Switch to natural gas when possible for heating and cooking as it is a much more efficient than electricity.
          • Replace old models of air conditioners and other major appliances with more energy efficient ones.
          • When you're looking for a new or used car take a look at models that give you greater gas mileage. You can save a great deal on gas by switching to a more efficient hybrid model or by switching to a smaller car if you do not need the extra space of a larger vehicle.
          • Replace old hot water heaters with a more efficient model such as a tankless water heater that uses natural gas to heat the water only when you are using hot water.
          • Reduce any flying you may do as it is a major contributor to greenhouse gases.
          • Grow your own vegetables in a garden instead of purchasing them in a grocery store. Many of the items in your grocery store travel a good distance to reach the shelf causing further impact on the environment.
          • Stop junk mail by visiting: http://www.dmaconsum.../offmailinglist
          • Use a commercial car washing facility instead of doing it at home as these facilities typically recycle the water that is used and are very efficient.
          • Don't use the hot cycle on your washing machine.
          • Telecommute when possible saving you time and the energy wasted to get you and your car to work.
          • Use public transportation when at all possible and if it isn't perhaps start a carpool with co-workers.
          • Increase gas mileage in your vehicle by: keeping your tires inflated to the suggested psi, take off slower from stops, keep your speed under 60mph.
          • Buy needed household items at warehouse stores such as CostCo as they use much less packaging.
          • Reuse existing products by means of having it repaired if broken instead of throwing it away and purchasing new or donate it so that the replaced product is used by someone.
          • Purchase your electricity from a renewable source. Over 50% of power companies offer this option. To see if your electric company offers this option visit: http://epa.gov/green...s/gplocator.htm
          • Keep your highway/interstate traveling speed at 65mph or below to save approximately 15% on gas when compared to speeds of 75mph.
          • List of 50 ways to help the planet: http://www.50waystohelp.com/
          • Reduce water usage by calculating your current usage and seeing what can be done to reduce it by visiting the following website: http://www.nwf.org/w...rcalculator.cfm
          • Only purchase produce that is in season in your particular area by visiting the following interactive map: http://www.epicuriou...alingredientmap

          • Reducing waste can be beneficial to you in terms of saving you time as well as greening your lifestyle by protecting the environment. Junk mail such as credit card offers, shopping catalogs, etc. are examples of this and the following lists ways to get your good name off of the mailing lists for such items:
        • Composting

        *With a combination of the above you can easily reduce the amount of garbage produced in your household by a significant amount and make yourself more independent on things you regularly use.

        Edited by Neo
        UPDATED: February 10th, 2009

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        I like this piece. I've taken you advise on a few of these items already such as replacing my light bulbs with the "spiral" type and purchasing almost an entire kitchen full of energy star appliances. My new televisions are also energy star. Not only have I cut back on the energy I demand from the environment, like you've said I've noticed significant savings on my monthly bills.

        Last year I also had the opportunity to buy a new car. While the temptation to purchase a sports car or SUV was tempting, I chose the economical route and went with a 4-cyl Camry that easily pulls 33 MPG on the highway and mid 20s in the city. I fill-up every two weeks. I'd probably do much less if I didn't drive home everyday to eat lunch and watch Matlock. In my old car I filled up every week spending on average $35-$40 per fill. My new fuel budget with the Camry is half that of my last car, and the Camry is bigger.

        So not only am I saving energy, I'm saving tons of money now.

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        So not only am I saving energy, I'm saving tons of money now.

        It is a win/win situation which is why I strongly encourage 'green' living. There are no doubt others and as this thread evolves I will add suggestions and comments to the master list in post #1 of this thread. I have saved hundreds of dollars just by doing simple things like switching out my thermostat for a programmable one, replacing lights with the new CFL type, etc. There are very simple things we can all do to not only reduce our impact on the environment but save a bundle too.

        Just imagine what you could do with a few extra hundred bucks in your pocket! I moved 30 miles closer to work over a year ago after driving almost an hour each way for four years. It is amazing how much money could have been saved had I moved sooner even though my car gets good gas mileage.

        I'm a huge supporter of recycling initiatives and given the money I would likely zero in on that topic. It is such an easy thing for people to do (along with composting which is a part of recycling IMO) that can reduce garbage by a huge amount. We typically fill only one and a half tall kitchen trash bags of garbage each week. We have multiple recycling containers that are usually full each week. In essence we're recycling more than we're throwing away in the garbage, imagine if everyone could say the same. I see so many homes with two large rolling trashcans by the road (some spilling over they're so full) with not a recycling bin in sight. It is free, easy to do and where I live the city charges you a fee for a second trashcan.

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        I also recommend getting a amnual transmissions vs an automatic when you purchase a car The automatics are better than they used to be, but still give up a few mpgs to the manuals.

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        I'm a huge supporter of recycling initiatives and given the money I would likely zero in on that topic. It is such an easy thing for people to do (along with composting which is a part of recycling IMO) that can reduce garbage by a huge amount. We typically fill only one and a half tall kitchen trash bags of garbage each week. We have multiple recycling containers that are usually full each week. In essence we're recycling more than we're throwing away in the garbage, imagine if everyone could say the same. I see so many homes with two large rolling trashcans by the road (some spilling over they're so full) with not a recycling bin in sight. It is free, easy to do and where I live the city charges you a fee for a second trashcan.

        This is something I'd like to see as well. My city has done a good job of recycling and composting and such. Comparatively I think we have a good percentage of people that regularly do this, even if my city isn't as big as many other cities. But I've still wondered about how to get more people involved. It's hard to get some of the other 'average' citizens to get involved with things like this. I'd also like to see some sort of initiatives that might get at least some more people to seriously consider it.

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        I also recommend getting a amnual transmissions vs an automatic when you purchase a car The automatics are better than they used to be, but still give up a few mpgs to the manuals.

        I'm not sure that it makes that much of a difference any more. When I purchased my car the difference between manual and automatic was 1 mpg. In fact, I've seen some manual transmission cars that have slightly LOWER gas mileage than their automatic counterparts.

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        I try to recycle everything possible. Living by myself and travelling with work a lot, it's not unusual for me to not have any trash to put out for the week but to have at least 1 recycling bin full (I keep a bin in my company car to retain any recyclable materials that I use during the week.)

        I have converted my house over to CFL's and will be adding a programmable thermostat within the next two weeks in preparation for fall/winter.

        I also invest in green energy thru the power company and buy offsets for any personal air travel that I do! :thumbsup:

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        I also recommend getting a amnual transmissions vs an automatic when you purchase a car The automatics are better than they used to be, but still give up a few mpgs to the manuals.

        I wanted to back this up a little more with the following from Consumerist.com:

        "For drivers in everyday situations, a manual transmission is not likely to provide any difference in fuel economy over an automatic transmission. The reason is that to achieve the optimum fuel efficiency a driver has to execute shifts at precise engine rpms (revolutions per minute). Given the challenges of city driving conditions, most drivers won't be able to realize greater fuel economy with a manual gearbox."

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        I also just noticed that the G8 GT with automatic doesn't have the gas guzzler penaly but the manual does. I think this is because the auto comes with cylinder deactivation, so you probably should check this.

        Consumerist is right, though. For most people, the auto is probably a better choice.

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        I'm not sure that it makes that much of a difference any more. When I purchased my car the difference between manual and automatic was 1 mpg. In fact, I've seen some manual transmission cars that have slightly LOWER gas mileage than their automatic counterparts.

        Indeed. In the days before they had computers making adjustments, automatics got significantly lower mileage than manual transmissions. This is because they operated in an "always slipping" mode where there was never any direct connection between the engine and the wheels. They also generally only had 2 foward gears. (notice on older cars you will only see a PRNDL) Now automatics lockup just like a manual, have the same if not more gears than manuals, and are computerized to shift as the right intervals to maximize mileage.

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        I would just add, and this is one thing I fault Al Gore on, is that buying more stuff isn't 'green'. If you have the choice of keeping something or replacing it, be it a car, or computer, or home, generally the more environmentally friendly choice is to keep it-or, if broken, repair it. Insulation, however, is a good investment.

        And there is a device called a Kill-A-Watt that measures power draw from household appliances, and can let you tell how much your TV (for example) drains when it is not being used and how much it costs you. Following my above rule it may not be worth buying for yourself, but if you share it with friends, or can talk your local library into buying a few... I believe Amazon sells it.

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        And there is a device called a Kill-A-Watt that measures power draw from household appliances, and can let you tell how much your TV (for example) drains when it is not being used and how much it costs you. Following my above rule it may not be worth buying for yourself, but if you share it with friends, or can talk your local library into buying a few... I believe Amazon sells it.

        My co-worker has one of those "Kill-A-Watt" devices, it's pretty nifty. I haven't borrowed it yet, but I plan to one weekend.

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        Recent article on the current trend of going green in America. Some interesting facts and figures like hybrid registration up 49% and almost 90 million CFL's sold, I hope the trend holds an isn't just a fad. It does seem as if businesses are getting on the bandwagon as well as American citizens...

        MSNBC Video on the Greening of America

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        What a great resource this thread is for people who are interested in progressing toward a green lifestyle, but find the whole prospect so daunting they aren't sure where to begin. Thanks Neo! ~

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        I have always had recycling in the back of my mind, but never did much about it. I did recycle newspapers but that was it, and after the shopping center across from my apartment complex moved their newspaper bin, i quit for a while.

        My city has a curbside recycling program that it offers to homeowners(which has had much success), but i live in an apartment and have no outlet to such.

        However, i recently took a load of trash to the dumpster. 2 full bags....4 days worth! I began thinking that all of this trash for just my girlfriend and i seems a little ridiculous. So i did a little research on the web and found out that their is a city operated, recycling "convenience center" abut 3 miles from my home. So i went to investigate(and drop off a small load). I was amazed at what they accept in these bins! All plastics #1-#7, metal, tin, all paper, glass bottles(clear, brown, green, blue) cardboard/paperboard, and magazines/phonebooks.

        So, i went to wal-mart, bought a bin and began recycling. I was quickly amazed at how much i typically throw away that i now recycle. Our recycle bin is the same size as our trash can, and after we figured it all out, we were emptying the recycle bin more often than the trash bin!

        Things i thought i would recycle, and what i actually recycle now;

        plastic drinking bottles, and milk jugs---- well, it turns out i consume ALOT of plastic! Everything from hand soap bottles, to coffee creamer containers, my girlfriends hair products, shampoo/soap bottles, condiments, cleaners, the list goes on and on and on.

        news paper--- well, i now recycle newspaper as well as junk mail, envelopes, office paper, mail(that doesn't contain personal data), receipts, and magazines.

        metal soup cans-- in addition to soup/food cans, i realized that i can recycle aluminus cans, and spent aerosol spray cans as well as all the little scraps like, metal lids, butter wrappers, aluminum foil, etc.

        beer bottles-- i'll cover that shortly

        cardboard boxes-- It turns out i consume alot of this also. I didn't realize how much food comes in a box(for no reason really). Cereal, cake mixes, pasta, sugars, crackers, instant oatmeal, rice. goes on and on. Also, many products that come wrapped in another material have some sort of cardboard insert.

        So, I have now reduced my garbage output significantly. And the funny thing is, it's so easy. When ever my recycling bin gets full(i throw most things in the same bin) i take it down and sort it out on the spot(which only takes about 5 minutes). Typically, i spend about 30 minutes a week doing this. A small price to pay for the good feeling i get. I also, discovered many other "drop off's" around town on my regular commute. They are handy for things that add up quick, and that i keep seperate(newspaper, cardboard boxes). The main center i go to is off my beaten path, so it does take a little extra effort, but these other centers help reduce the required trips to this main center. As far as the other things go(glass/metal), with proper rinsing and such, i can leave these materials in the back of my jeep for a few days without any smell or bugs.

        I met a little resistance from my girlfriend, at first, who was afraid of extra clutter in our 750 sq. ft. But since she has noticed how little space it takes, and how much of a difference it makes in our trash output, she has rally begun to pitch in. I used to dig in the trash behind her and say "look honey, this could be recycled". But now she is finding things that i miss. It has also helped that i put a recycling logo on the top of our trashcan as well as a list of recyclables on the pantry door.

        So, i decided to take this a step further. I am a bartender by trade, which means i throw away ALOT of glass. My state does not have any type of recycling incentives or bottle deposits. However, all of the beer/liquor/wine bottles i trash on a daily basis is absurd. I began devising a plan to get my restaurant to begin a recycling program, however i met much resistance and basically came back with an answer of "not a chance". So i took matters into my own hands. I now just bring a box behind my bar everyday, and put all of the bottles into it. WOW do these add up quick! Typically about 15-20 liquor/wine bottles and 30-50 beer bottles. At the end of the night i put this box in the back of my jeep and take them to the recycling center with my personal load every few days.

        And do you know what the funny thing is, many people at work see me doing this and comment on it. It is typically something on the lines of, "Well that can't be worth more than a nickle" or "don't you make enough money behind the bar?". I tell them that it's not for money(there is no money given for recyclables), it's just that i decided to do something good for a change. It always seems to make them stop in their tracks and think for a second.

        Sorry, for the long rant, i just wanted to share my personal story in the hopes that i can inspire someone else.

        Good luck to all and remember that together, we can make a difference.

        Edited by nashvillwill

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        Thanks for the great story! I too get funny looks with my recycling habit as I routinely go through the trash where I work looking for recyclable materials. I have a couple of dedicated bins in my office that I take home routinely and dump them in my larger bins provided by the city I live in. It is a great feeling for sure and to make it even better I've now silently recruited several lookouts that also scour the trash here at work and bring me what they find. :P

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        Nash, that was one of the best stories of taking action that I have ever seen posted here on UrbanPlanet. Thanks for sharing!

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        Nash,

        I hear more and more stories like yours everyday... I just wish it was more widespread in the populace. I have become known as the recycling 'nazi' at work because I harp on everyone about it and have been guilty of spying an aluminum can or plastic bottle in a trash can that can easily be taken to our office recycling bins and guilt tripping the offender into taking their recyclables to the bin.

        I also travel by car with work frequently, I carry a bin in the back of my car and keep all my recyclables that I obtain during the week there (plastic bottles, cans, newspapers, etc.) until I get home and dump them in my city bins. It is amazing how much stuff people throw away that can be recycled if only serious effort was put into it.

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        ^^^But thats just it george. It's not really that serious of an effort, it's actually pretty easy. You and i know this, but most seem to think it's such a big deal. All it takes is a thought before you toss something, pause and think "is this recyclable"? Then all that is required to complete the act is a receptical to put it in(that is where the serious efforts come in). But this thought never crosses the mind of most.

        It's amazing to see people throw trash in a bin that is clearly marked for recycling. These are the selfish kind of people that i think do these things on purpose just to mess with the wholesome efforts of others. Either that or they honestly just don't give a crap. It's amazing.

        That's the thing about trash, it's not debatable like global warming, or alternative energy. Trash is trash, and no one likes it or wants it pilled up near them. So why is it so hard for people to understand that if we all reduce what we trash, there will be a whole lot less of it?

        What do you guys think of this? Let's convince the gov't, for one week, to have trash collection trucks dump every load in the middle of the nearest major intersection. Then we will see if people are willing to do something about it.

        Edited by nashvillwill

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        What do you guys think of this? Let's convince the gov't, for one week, to have trash collection trucks dump every load in the middle of the nearest major intersection. Then we will see if people are willing to do something about it.

        They would probably cry to their local politician or DOT until someone cleaned it up, I doubt they would sort it for recyclables, they would just drive thru it first...

        I do admire you taking your used bottles from work at the bar to recycle... I really wish restaurants/bars would implement recycling programs. I cringe when I go to one because I know the bouncer/barkeep will take my empty bottle away and put it in the trash. I guess I need to start asking if they recycle their bottles and not patronize them if they don't. If bar patrons did that, maybe these establishments would recycle more often.

        Just as a side note, NBC/Universal networks are offering a week where all programming will be showcasing ways to live a greener lifestyle! They have a website up with their scheduling and also helpful hints to be more 'green!'

        NBC Green Week

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        Just an update;

        My girlfriend is now participating 110%. Our recycling bin fills up in no time. Although i haven't weighed our output, but i would guess that our recycle to trash ratio is somewhere around 3:1. We are now just trying to fine tune things. We are trying to by most things that come in recyclable materials. Cardboard-good, styrofoam-bad.

        And i mentioned those funny looks i got at work. Well, people have caught on. Now when i send a bottle of beer our to the restaurant, many of the servers bring them back to me to recycle, instead of throwing them away. It seems that people realize how easy it is. One night after work, i put my bag of trash on top of the bar, and also put my bag of recyclables beside it. People asked what i was doing, and i showed them the weight and size of each and how much we were saving from the landfills. My co-workers all seemed to be very pleased. People seemed to realize that i do all of the footwork, and all they have to do is rethink where they throw things. Still no help from the restaurant management, but screw 'em. We can do it on our own.

        So far, this has been very rewarding for me. It makes me happier, and hopefully inspires others to begin their own endeavors.

        Thanks for listening.

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        And i mentioned those funny looks i got at work. Well, people have caught on. Now when i send a bottle of beer our to the restaurant, many of the servers bring them back to me to recycle, instead of throwing them away. It seems that people realize how easy it is. One night after work, i put my bag of trash on top of the bar, and also put my bag of recyclables beside it. People asked what i was doing, and i showed them the weight and size of each and how much we were saving from the landfills. My co-workers all seemed to be very pleased. People seemed to realize that i do all of the footwork, and all they have to do is rethink where they throw things. Still no help from the restaurant management, but screw 'em. We can do it on our own.

        I wish my coworkers would take to recycling. The one thing that burns me about my coworkers is that we have full recycling available at our office and many choose to ignore it. Now that I'm known as the 'Recycling Ranger' at the office, people will put there recyclables on my desk. I will take them to the appropriate bins, but it burns me that these folks constantly walk by the recycling bins and will not utilize them, but find it perfectly acceptable to dump it on me. :angry:

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        I wish my coworkers would take to recycling. The one thing that burns me about my coworkers is that we have full recycling available at our office and many choose to ignore it. Now that I'm known as the 'Recycling Ranger' at the office, people will put there recyclables on my desk. I will take them to the appropriate bins, but it burns me that these folks constantly walk by the recycling bins and will not utilize them, but find it perfectly acceptable to dump it on me. :angry:

        You're not alone. I've setup bins where I work and folks will even throw recyclables into the trash when the correct bin is right next to the trash bin. I routinely go through other people's trash gathering recyclable material. I honestly could care less what others think of me doing that because I know I'm making a difference which is more than I can say for those that disregard the simple task of choosing the correct bin. :P

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        You're not alone. I've setup bins where I work and folks will even throw recyclables into the trash when the correct bin is right next to the trash bin. I routinely go through other people's trash gathering recyclable material. I honestly could care less what others think of me doing that because I know I'm making a difference which is more than I can say for those that disregard the simple task of choosing the correct bin. :P

        I do end up doing the recycling for these guys myself, but it just burns me they won't take those few extra steps towards the bin. I fuss over the plastic bottles, cans, glass, and all paper; but is embarrasing to see how much is still trashed daily. I just wish we could everyone to think like us here on this thread!

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        Hooray to going green. To some it may be cliche' and corny but we all should seriously take care of our environment, because it's all we've got. Those are good and easy tips to follow people should make it second nature to be more responsible about their accumulated stuffs. Remembers the 3 R's: Reduce, Re-use, Recycle.

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