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I’m in an Eco-State-of-Mind!

Published: March 13, 2009

Dear St. Patrick: You’ll be happy to know that people around the world are going green—year-round! (Well, most people anyway.)

There was a time when it would suffice for a person to be friendly and efficient, but those days are long gone—all part of our polluted past. Today, we must strive to be eco-friendly and energy-efficient, that is if we want to breathe a little easier tomorrow.

A former coworker of mine taught me that you don’t have to be an ecofreak to help make the world a greener place. There are hundreds of things we can do in our everyday lives to help ease the suffering we have bestowed upon our mother earth—starting with plastic bags.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, over 380 billion plastic bags, sacks, and wraps are discarded in the United States each year. Reusable bags are such an easy solution, so why don’t more people use them? One problem is, of course, that we forget them at home or in the car. And who wants to spend 1 or 2 dollars for each new bag when a plastic one is “free”?

Here’s what I do: Pretend the stores charge extra for the use of plastic bags. I’m cheap, and the very idea of this will prompt me to walk back out to my car, where I keep a few extra reusable bags handy for those impromptu trips to the market. Bring your own bags to the mall, too. But should you forget, consider letting items from different stores share the same bag.

I also found a ton of great Web sites for everyday green living. IdealBite.com dishes up a sassy dose of everyday green tips; greenpeace.org and thedailygreen.com are also excellent resources.

What’s your favorite green living tip of the day?

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  • Ken

    Simple and straightforward: Follow the guidelines of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program seafoodwatch.org to make ocean-friendly choices that are also good for your health. Seafood Watch is even available for the iPhone and any internet-enabled mobile device.

  • Betsy

    Although I prefer using reusable bags as Heather suggests there are stores such as Wal-Mart and Meijer that recycle clean plastic bags–––or so they say! Upon entering these stores there are big plastic barrels where you can deposit your bags. I usually collect a large bagful of bags before dropping off mine.

  • Kathy

    What a wonderful article! Many times we don’t think about the use of one’s plastic bags used in the course of a year. Multiplied over by million and almost 400 billion plastic items
    discarded in a year is a huge pile up. You bring to mind awareness we all need to be concerned with. The world is changing on how we deal with most things!
    Thanks for the insight!

  • Adam

    My company recently developed an environmental management program to comply with an ISO 14001 certification. Although this certification may be too large of an undertaking for most the benefits of a few policies are great for the ecosystem. A district wide recycling program and elimination of styrofoam into the facility were a couple of the things implemented. Talk with a manager in your company and start a trend.

  • Julia

    Sarah you pretty much took the words right out of my mouth. I swear that nickel adds up and it’s not bad motivation to run back to the car. I like to use my giant purse as a bag sometimes. I also like to see how many paper bags I can fill with recyclables.

  • Karl Rouwhorst

    I’m glad to see that I have made an impact on your daily life. I follow the concept if I forget my reusable bags in the car. I walk back out and get them after doing this a dozen times it’s amazing how you start to remember the bags. :)

  • Sarah G

    Heather!! You know how I feel about being Green; I’m glad to see you spreading the word!!! Also most grocery stores credit you a nickel for bringing your own bags; we all know that every penny counts right now… You don’t have to be a tree hugger to be green!