Earth Day 2011 (April 22, 2011)

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Wind Energy - Green 52Green 52 wants to remind everyone that today (April 22, 2011) is Earth Day.  What can you do to adopt an environmentally responsible habit or practice that you can carry into the other 364 days each year?

Make an Earth Day Resolution:

Earth Day is celebrated in over 175 countries and has been organized for over 40 years.  This year’s theme is One Billion Acts of Green (see EarthDay.org for details).  Please remember that Earth Day is an opportunity to pause from your normal routine of consumption, and think about conservation.  It’s a chance to consider how you impact the environment, and what you might be able to do to reduce that impact.  Just as many people create New Year’s Resolutions before January 1st of each year, consider making an “environmental responsibility resolution” on Earth Day.

Environmental Responsibility can be easy – find 52 tips here!

At Green 52, we devoted an entire year to creating weekly green living and environmental responsibility tips at our website, Green52.com.  On Earth Day or anytime this year, please review the green tips and see if you can find one or more environmental responsibility ideas that you can incorporate into your daily lives.

If your friends and family aren’t aware of Earth Day, and don’t understand how simple it can be to reduce your personal impact on the environment, suggest that they read the ideas on Green52.com.

Corporate efforts to cash in on Earth Day:

Also, be aware that many companies, including corporations with an international/global presence like Starbucks, may try to cash in on Earth Day.  By example, I see that today (1 day out of 365) Starbucks is offering a free brewed coffee to anyone who brings in a reusable travel mug to fill (see info here).  The idea and “contribution” by Starbucks toward bringing awareness to Earth Day and encouraging others to try to shift their habits/focus is great.

However, it would be nice to know approximately how many Starbucks paper cups make their way to the landfill each year because reusable mugs are not used by the average consumer on the other 364 days.  While some of the blame may rest with the consumer, it’s certainly possible that if Starbucks (and other companies) did more all year long to contribute to conservation as much as they contribute to consumption, the world would be a better place.  In viewing the free coffee Earth Day offer at the Starbucks website, it says:     “Last year, when we did a similar promotion on Earth Day, more than 1.2 million of you participated.”  (http://www.starbucks.com/blog/happy-earth-day/993)

So, if 1.2 million people took advantage of the “Earth Day special” at Starbucks in 2010, how many paper cups are used each day and thrown into landfills?  Maybe together, consumers and the businesses that cater to such consumers, can find ways to extend the ideas and responsibility that people think about on Earth Day, into the other 364 days each year.

Weekly Green Tip #43 from Green52.org

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Green tip for week #43 — Week of February 22, 2009

Use reusable bags

This is pretty obvious, but for some reason, Americans are either reluctant (or downright unwilling) to use reusable bags for shopping.  I know, it’s very convenient to drive your big SUV 3 blocks to McDonald’s and then drive two more blocks to the grocery store, only to buy two items, place them in a plastic bag, and drive back home to throw the bag away.  That type of “convenience” is a big contributor to the climate crisis and environmental ignorance our society is faced with.

As a simple change, which will drastically reduce plastic or paper bag production, consumption, and waste, consider storing reusable cloth, nylon or even previously used paper/plastic bags in your trunk, with your bike, or near your door.  Next time you walk, bike, or drive to the local store to pick up an item or two, carry them and tell the clerk to skip the bag, if it’s only a couple of items.  If you have several items, place them in the reusable bag you brought with you, and put the bag back in a handy place where you can remember to take it with you next time.

As a challenge, write down the number of plastic bags and paper bags you use from shopping, the grocery store, etc. during the course of one month.  Just put a tally sheet on your fridge, and add one for each bag that makes it inside your home.  After that month, commit to cutting that number in half, and keep doing so each month until you have the number to zero, or as few as you can possibly get by with.

Then, you will be incredibly well-informed and in a great position of knowledge and personal experience to tell your friends and coworkers to do the same.  For the bags you consumed during the month, be sure to recycle them, and reuse any that you can as trash liners, garbage bags for the car, and other “repurposed” uses.

Like many of the green tips and environmental responsibility ideas found on Green52.org, this is not breakthrough news, it is not rocket science, and most importantly, it’s not difficult.  This idea alone won’t fix the perils facing the planet, but every bit helps.

If you don’t have tote bags or other reusable bags at home, check at your grocery store next time you go, as many have now offered reusable bags as alternatives to paper or plastic.  Obviously there are many retailers and online vendors who carry every variety of organic cotton bags, bags from recycled materials, personalized bags, etc.

If you own or operate a business, consider branding reusable bags with your logo or website to give away to employees to encourage them to use them, or to donate to charities or give away at trade shows.  There are several good resources for reusable bags on the web, including Reusable Bags.com , EcoBags.com, and many others.

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For more weekly green tips, come back to Green52.org and tell
your friends and colleagues about the weekly green tips found at
Green52.org.

Weekly Green Tip #30 from Green52.org

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Green tip for week #30 — Week of November 23, 2008

Green your printing routine

Many of us already use electronic communication, email, digital storage of files, and other ideas to cut down on paperwork clutter, but we still have to print things from time to time.  Whether you are using your home or work printer, be sure to green your printing routine when you can.  Here are several ways to cut down on waste and consumption of resources.

First, change your print settings to default to draft mode (and select “grayscale” if you have a color printer).  Changing these settings allows you to save ink and have faster printing output.  If you are printing a photo or something that needs to be in color, obviously you can change the settings back at that time.

Next, make sure you use paper wisely.  If you print drafts, once you are done with them save them in a “reuse” box to recycle that paper through on the other side as your draft paper for your next project.

Also, be careful not to print 10 or 20 pages when the key information you are interested in can be found in one or two pages.  You can always select which pages you want to print, or simply use “cut and paste” and copy text from the site or resource you want to save, and paste it into your wordprocessing software or a text editor (like Word, Notepad, or others) so you have a document that contains only the key information you are interested in.

Saving paper and printer ink won’t solve all the problems of the world, but when it comes to conserving resources and focusing on a sustainable environment, every bit helps!

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For more weekly green tips, come back to Green52.org and tell your friends and colleagues about the weekly green tips found at Green52.org.

Weekly Green Tip #26 from Green52.org

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Green tip for week #26 — Week of October 26, 2008

Tell your friends, family, and local paper about Green52.org!

Believe it or not, Green52.org has been publishing weekly tips for 26 weeks.  That means we are half way through our goal of creating 52 weeks of simple green living ideas and tips for environmental responsibility.  In recognition of reaching our half-way point, this week’s green tip involves reaching out for help, and offering a reminder about something you can do to help us.  Please spread the word about Green52.org, our weekly green tips, and our mission to raise awareness about and interest in environmental responsibility.

If you are one of our many frequent readers who visit Green52.org for new weekly ideas, tips, and reminders about environmental conservation and sustainability, please do your part by telling at least three friends, family members, or coworkers.  Better yet, link to Green52.org on your website, mention it in your blog, or republish our tips in your local newspaper or magazine (with credit to Green52.org, of course).  If you are new to our site, bookmark us and send an email to a friend to let them know about your new discovery.

Seriously, our site operates because of our core belief that responsible people will treat the environment with respect and responsibility. We are convinced that if we all focus on simple ways to decrease our environmental impact, the collective measures we take today, even if they are baby steps, will have profound impact in helping our environment.  Our weekly green tips get read by many, but we need you to help make sure even more people get the message.

Feel free to send us your ideas, leave a comment, or offer other support as you can — but don’t overlook the simple, free, and easy way to ensure that Green52.org has the most impact it can, by telling others about our site.  Spread the word!

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Green52.org is an interactive community — we want you to share your ideas and contribute too! Feel free to click the “comments” section on this or any of our green idea articles to add your comments, suggestions, and discussion.

For more weekly green tips, come back to Green52.org and tell your friends and colleagues about the weekly green tips found at Green52.org.

Weekly Green Tip #24 from Green52.org

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Green tip for week #24 — Week of October 12, 2008

Incorporate Bamboo products in your purchases

This week’s simple green tip is one that is functional, fun, and environmentally responsible — using bamboo products in place of other less sustainable alternatives.

Many of you are already familiar with the characteristics of bamboo that make it desirable and make bamboo a terrific “green” material. It grows quickly; it is a grass, rather than a tree (it is easy to grow, easy to harvest, and more); it is a strong and dense material (making it great for building material, flooring, cutting boards, etc.); it has a short growth cycle (often harvested in 3-5 year cycles instead of 10 to 20 that is typical of many trees). Some varieties of bamboo can grow up to a meter per day, and since bamboo is a form of grass, it can be harvested without having to remove and replace the whole plant (unlike what happens when trees are harvested).

Fortunately, bamboo is no longer an “exotic” material that is difficult to find in everyday goods. It can now be easily acquired for flooring, for cutting boards, for utensils, and even for textile goods like bamboo sheets or clothing (bamboo sheets happen to be far more comfortable and luxurious than you would suspect!). Bamboo makes a great material for clothing and textiles because of its easy growth and harvesting, sustainability, and the fact that it is light, soft (when made into clothing), and has moisture wicking characteristics that make it ideal for clothing, particularly when blended with other natural materials such as wool.

Bamboo has become increasingly popular for homes, as it adds a novelty factor, and has incredibly practical characteristics, beyond all the environmental benefits. Bamboo flooring can look terrific, and it offers a dense, non-porous, hard surface that can be ideal in a bathroom or kitchen. If you are not ready to replace your floor, simple bamboo products such as cutting boards, cooking utensils, bowls, plates and dishes can add something new to your home environment with less environmental cost to the world around us than other materials often used for the same goods.

Next time you are in the market for something made of wood, or even for clothing, consider whether there are good alternatives made from bamboo! Remember that green living and environmental responsibility is not an “all or nothing approach”. Even small steps make a big impact if everyone takes them. Do your part to help keep our environment in good condition for future generations!

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Green52.org is an interactive community — we want you to share your ideas and contribute too! Feel free to click the “comments” section on this or any of our green idea articles to add your comments, suggestions, and discussion.

For more weekly green tips, come back to Green52.org and tell your friends and colleagues about the weekly green tips found at Green52.org.

Weekly Green Tip #23 from Green52.org

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Green tip for week #23 — Week of October 5, 2008

Buy Quality Goods and Products

Every know and again, our weekly green tip at Green52.org is so simple it seems almost self-evident. Yet even the simplest and best ideas often don’t get implemented. This week’s green tip is simply to buy quality goods. What this means, is that whether you are shopping for electronics, furniture, cars, bikes, clothing, or household items, buy the best blend of quality and value you can.

Why is buying quality goods a “green living” idea, and what impact does it have on environmental responsibility and sustainability? Plenty. We are a society of consumers, and product manufacturers have developed increasingly efficient and cost-effective ways of making cheap and low cost products. Cheap and low cost products are sometimes (not always) made of inferior quality and more prone to obsolescence, product failure, and wearing out.

Whether it is a tv, a pair of shoes, a dishwasher, a briefcase, or a living room chair, you will invariably have several options as a consumer. Choices range from least expensive to most expensive. Although differences in price are sometimes based on different options, features, novelty, or brand, the differences also are typically evident in quality of workmanship, construction, and durability. Any time you purchase a product that is made well, made from high grade materials, and designed to be functional for years to come, you have invested in something that can be good for you and the environment.

Replacing low quality goods creates waste, not only from items going to a landfill, but from the cost of making, transporting, and selling those goods in the first place. Any time you have purchased two items in the span of time one might have been used had it been higher quality, the environmental impact of your purchase is often roughly double. Not to mention the fact that savings at the time of initial purchase can often be far outweighed by having to repurchase the same item again during the time the higher quality item may have remained effective.

So, next time you are confronted with the choice of whether to purchase the “cheap” item or the “quality” item, remember that the impact of your choice is greater than simply affecting your checkbook.

Remember that green living and environmental responsibility is not an “all or nothing approach”. Even small steps make a big impact if everyone takes them. Do your part to help keep our environment in good condition for future generations!

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Green52.org is an interactive community — we want you to share your ideas and contribute too! Feel free to click the “comments” section on this or any of our green idea articles to add your comments, suggestions, and discussion.

For more weekly green tips, come back to Green52.org and tell your friends and colleagues about the weekly green tips found at Green52.org.

Weekly Green Tip #22 from Green52.org

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Green tip for week #22 — Week of September 28, 2008

Use rechargeable batteries (and recycle them when they no longer work)

This week’s simple green tip is one that many of you have probably already adopted as habit, but it bears repeating. Batteries have become a nearly essential part of our daily lives, particularly with the tremendous amount of electronic devices, kids toys, and household products that are battery operated. While some products come with a device-specific rechargeable lithium ion or other form of rechargeable battery, many others say “batteries not included” or come with non rechargeable batteries.

Although many of your devices will already have rechargeable batteries built in, many items like flashlights and children’s toys do not. For those products, simply switching to rechargeable batteries can reduce an immense amount of waste, as you will be able to get many cycles of use out of the same batteries, rather than continually repurchasing new sets of AA, AAA, C, D, or 9V batteries which ultimately get quickly used and discarded.

Not only will you save the wasted energy consumed in production and transportation of those batteries, but you will reduce the waste and energy consumed in recycling them, as well as the wasted energy involved in the packaging materials for the sale of batteries. Best yet, you will likely save a significant amount of money. Although rechargeable batteries will cost you more upfront, particularly when you factor in a charger, they are still very low cost when you consider the life of those batteries and how many traditional batteries a rechargeable saved you from having to purchsae.

Rechargeable batteries come in many shapes, sizes, price points, and options. Recharging methods can even vary from a plug-in wall charger, to a battery designed to be charged by the usb port in your computer (like the USB cell, here), to batteries that can be recharged from a solar panel or using a solar charger (like the ones available from Solio.com). Sites like GreenBatteries.com identify some of the types of rechargeable batteries and more information about them.

Once your batteries are spent, make sure that these get recycled appropriately. These should be handled by your local recycling center or hazardous waste center. Batteries can leach mercury, cadmium, and other harmful substances, and should be handled appropriately to keep this waste from further degrading our environment. The Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (rbrc.org) has information about recycling rechargeable batteries. There is also information about battery recycling at Earth911.com, here. Or, find out more about how to obtain a battery recycling collection kit for your home or business from Battery Solutions, here.

Remember that green living and environmental responsibility is not an “all or nothing approach”. Even small steps make a big impact if everyone takes them. Do your part to help keep our environment in good condition for future generations!

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Green52.org is an interactive community — we want you to share your ideas and contribute too! Feel free to click the “comments” section on this or any of our green idea articles to add your comments, suggestions, and discussion.

For more weekly green tips, come back to Green52.org and tell your friends and colleagues about the weekly green tips found at Green52.org.

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