Posts tagged "energy"


RRRWe've all heard it... the three R's. Reduce/Reuse/Recycle. But what, exactly, does it mean?

Reduce means lowering are consumption. We live in a materialistic society, and we NEED STUFF -- or so the TV ads make us believe. The only problem with more stuff is more waste. We are also a throw-away society. More often than not, what we buy comes in individual containers, lots of times non-recyclable containers, or is meant to be used and replaced versus repaired.

Reusing means finding ways to use something more than once -- often not for its originally intended purpose. For instance, upcycling a glass tea container into a vase or a toothbrush holder. Ya know, the "do it yourself" type of stuff. Both of these methods of conservation use no or very little energy. Plus they're fun!

Recycling is what you do when you put our paper, plastic, cardboard, glass, etc., in those handy containers that the recycling company collects every other week. While it may seem like a good solution (and it is compared to throwing it in a landfill), it takes energy to recycle these items.

Keeping a "green mind" while shopping means actively thinking about what you're buying. Can the container be reused? Can it be recycled? Does the item come in tons of packaging that isn't necessary? Can it be divided up into other, reusable containers instead of being purchased in individual, nonrecyclable containers? Yes, convenience is a great thing, but throwing that non-recyclable lunch-sized bag of chips in the garbage is worse than dividing up a large bag of chips into sandwich bags that can then be recycled. It takes a little more time and effort, but in the long run, you'll feel better about it!

There is a reason why the order is Reduce, then Reuse, then Recycle. Keeping this in mind, you can easily become a more "green" consumer. Happy shopping!


Your Carbon Footprint and Traveling Strawberries

Have you ever wondered how much energy you use? A carbon footprint is "historically defined as the total set of greenhouse gas emissions caused by an individual, event, organization, or product, expressed as carbon dioxide equivalent," Most of the decisions you make on a daily basis will in some way impact your carbon footprint -- the amount of carbon the activity releases into the air. This excess carbon in the air is part of the greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

The scary part is, it isn't just the things you do personally, like driving your car, that contribute to your carbon footprint. For instance, those beautiful, delicious-looking strawberries in the grocery store in December in WI... where did those come from? They certainly weren't grown here at that time of year! They were grown in another part of the US, or even in another country, and shipped here by truck or plane. How much energy was used to power that truck or plane? By purchasing those strawberries, you are enforcing the demand for them and thus the energy required to bring them to you. This is one example of how a small decision can make a big difference in greenhouse gas emissions.

The Carbon Footprint Calculator is a free tool provided by the Nature Conservancy that will lead you step by step through the process of determining your personal carbon footprint. It also gives ideas on how to take action to reducing your footprint. It's a real eye-opener!


By the way, you can still have strawberries in WI in December... just buy the frozen ones, or better yet, buy extras in the summer and freeze them yourself. Yum!