Refuse to be Passive

The 3 Rs of a planet friendly lifestyle- Reduce

In Life in General, Uncategorized on February 2, 2011 at 8:32 am

It seems that pretty much everyone has gotten on the bandwagon of recycling, paper, plastics, and metals to the extent that their local sanitation and recycling system lets them. But do you remember the other two Rs?

The other two Rs often seem to get left out. Maybe it’s because they’re a little more inconvenient. Maybe it’s because it’s not as easy to quantify if they’re being done well. The complete phrase, of course is “reduce, reuse, recycle.”
Reduce, reuse, recycle. One out of three is better than zero out of three, but it’s still not a passing grade. So, in light of that, let’s take a quick look at some options for reduction.

Reduce
1. Opt to save gas, and go easier on your wallet, by walking to anything that’s less than 1 km away. For me that’s the grocery store, pub, library, swimming pool, thrift store, and convenience store. This will reduce the amount of gas you use and the emissions put off by your vehicle.

2. Buy fresh, not prepackaged. Buying food fresh, such as vegetables, cuts down on the amount of plastic and packaging we throw in the trash every day. If you invest in some cloth produce bags,you can also easily do away with those plastic ones the grocery store provides.

When buying more general household items, look at the amount of packaging they come in. Do your toilet paper rolls really need to be wrapped individually and then re-wrapped in an outer layer of plastic? That’s like putting your sandwich into a baggie and then putting another bag over top of it. Sounds dumb, right? Well, it sounds dumb because it is dumb.

Bottom line: watch the packaging. Most of it isn’t needed anyway.

3. Turn the heat down. Heating your house takes a huge amount of electricity. Dropping the temperature in your house by a degree or two and opting to wear a sweater and slippers can save you money on your heating bill, and be kind to the planet.

If you’re out of the house during the day, invest in a programmable thermostat that will automatically drop the temperature in your house to 16 degrees when you’re away form home, but can have your house back at a balmy 20 by the time you get home. During the night, when you’re snuggled up in your bed, once again, put the temperature down. You don’t need it that warm when you’re snuggled under all those blankets.

4. Opt for low-energy lightbulbs. You can find them at any hardware store, and energy efficient lightbulbs are simply a smart move. They cost a little more, but last a lot longer than your traditional lightbulb. Once again, you’ll save money on your electricity bill and all with little inconvenience to you. After all, the long lasting bulbs will give you light for years. Oh, and when leaving a room, remember to turn out the lights!

5. Opt for a condo, rather than a house. If you lifestyle affords this, it’s a great option. No shoveling snow in the winter, no weeding in the summer, and best of all lower utility bills because your walls are insulated by the units next to you. The smaller floor plan also aids in the saving of heat, and in your battle against materialism, in that you don’t need as much stuff for a condo rather than a full house (at least not in general).

These are just a few of the many ideas out there for Reduction, the sibling often overshadowed by the ever popular Recycling. Take five minutes now and ask yourself, “What areas of my life can embrace Reduction in the effort to do my part for a healthier, more vibrant planet?”

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