It's Not Easy Being All Green - But Can You Be Just a Little Greener?

It's easy to be greener for just a week. Pick from 10 easy green actions - or submit your own suggestion!

Can You Be A Little Greener?

Well, it’s not easy to live green all the time but it is easy to live a little greener.  We are all racing around, busy with life and it can be daunting (and inconvenient) to live a totally green lifestyle.

That said, I’m challenging Patch readers to pledge to take one green action this week and stick to it.  Here are my top 10 easy ways to green up your week.  Feel free to comment - share your own tips, frustrations or successes on any green front!

  1. Actually bring in and use the reusable shopping bags at the grocery store.  And the pharmacy, the mall, department store and farmers market. 
  2. Keep the plastic baggies in your drawer at home.  Pack lunches and snacks in reusable containers.
  3. Eat one plant-based meal this week.  Or one additional if you’re already on this train.
  4. Walk or bike ride for your quick trip to the store, pharmacy, post office, library, etc.
  5. Recycle all your paper for one week – cracker/cereal boxes, random papers, flyers, circulars, junk mail – you know what to do. 
  6. Avoid reaching for the disposable water bottle.  Use your reusable water bottle every day.
  7. Switch off the power strip for your TV, computer, gaming devices when not in use.  Or purchase a power strip, set it up and use it.
  8. Unplug cell phone chargers when not in use.
  9. Buy a curly bulb and replace an old bulb with one that is more energy efficient (and cost effective).
  10. Wash your clothes in cold water.  Water heating consumes about 90% of the energy it takes to operate a clothes washer!

 Thanks for reading and being a little greener.  

“Action trumps everything” Len Schlesinger

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

KC September 26, 2012 at 05:31 AM
I hate those stupid bulbs. I don't care if I only have on one light in the entire house, which typically is the case, it is going to be from a real light bulb. I would sooner have candlelight and in winter months often do rather than those atrocious cork screw bulbs. I did put one in the laundry room and it is just horrible.
KC September 26, 2012 at 05:33 AM
No, it is the Brick Patch. But all are welcome.
KC September 26, 2012 at 05:45 AM
I would say what sux big monkey balls is more along the lines of planet trashers, conservatives with poles up the assets, overbuilding, Box stores that took away the look and flavor of our town, Walfart, and that big ugly orange box in Brick plaza whose name I have blocked out of my mind because it is so fugly, taxation with out real services, the stench of political corruption, people too stupid to understand climate change and the threat of pollution with their cigarettes and clothes dryer sheets and the fact that the conservatives have driven Brick Township 160 million dollars into debt. I never heard it on the Patch had to read USA Today to find out about it. We are in huge debt and this is why we can't even get our trash picked up without dealing with Crazy Joe from Public Works who catches an attitude when his people are dispatched to do their job. You are lucky you are still working Joe, didn't they want to get rid of public works people in the past? Seems to me, answering the phones is an easy job. I would do that job and I would be nice to people calling in for collections as at least they are trying to maintain their properties. Of course I did not perform any political favors for the Acropolis team so we all know that could never happen right Joe? Whatyasay Joe, howbout a spoon of sugar in the AM before answering with the snotty attitude. d
KC September 26, 2012 at 05:49 AM
At one point in my life I worked with the emotionally disturbed. They would regularly beg me to turn out the horrible flourescent lights. Unless we were reading something specifically requiring bright lighting, I would comply by opening all window shades and windows. Letting the sunshine in. Most normal people hate those flourescent monster lights.
Mary Crawford September 26, 2012 at 10:27 AM
Great idea. I think we should start locally and get local stores to use those degradable bags. Would you be interested in working on that?
. September 26, 2012 at 11:34 AM
The problem with plastic bags from the food store is that they are so weak, they can't hold anything. Who wants to use a bag that will break before you get it into your car. I would rather use my own reusuable sturdy bags. I especially love the insulated one for frozen foods. I do wash my reusable bags, so that isn't an issue. I am not saying to ban them, but I don't care to use them.
Eleanor September 26, 2012 at 12:21 PM
There was a plant based option - when the ethenol push was on (corn fuel), they worked on making a bag that was just like a plastic bag but out of corn husks, as well as making it from other vegetable residue. Whatever happened to that idea?
marylou September 26, 2012 at 12:52 PM
Joshua,Most of the people I know have been using the CFL bulbs since they came on the market,by choice.Perhaps we should still have a choice.but place the blame where it belongs.The President who signed the bill which became the law was not Obama,but GW Bush.So, whatever the outcome of the 2008 election was,we'd still not be able to buy the old-fashioned light bulbs.And my guess is that the Republicans would think CFLs were the greatest thing since sliced bread,because the only reason the hate them now is because they think that they are Obama's idea.
Patrick September 26, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Sun chips has that bag for their snacks. And consumers didn't like how loud the bag is... Thus it is a work in progress. I guess I'm not shocked at the people moaning about bulbs, I hope you all realize that George W Bush signed into law a ban on incandescent bulbs, only to have our last Congress overturn the ban during the great budget debate. As Republicans held out on the debt ceiling debate, resulting in our credit rating downgrade, when the final bill was worked out, the House defunded money to allow the phase out of these bulbs. You don't like the curly bulbs, get an led light. It is pure light. This idea that government should control the market place on environmental is just absurd. Especially in New Jersey. How many super fund sites exist because of this mentality... how many toxic rivers flow with chemicals because we let the marketplace just do what they wanted for their own profit. If you want government doing anything, it is protecting us from what will kill us or our children.
Rick September 26, 2012 at 01:30 PM
@marylou -- While it is true that Bush signed the law ,what the law said was bulb manufactures must make INCADESENT bulbs more efficient ,period.Obamas EPA has taken this extreme step we are living with now.Google CFL bulbs and any honest person will see the unintended consequences of these dangerous bulbs.A little research and an open mind will enlighten you to this problem.
Ric September 26, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Mary, in what order do each of these contributes waste (from most to least): 1. people who do not recycle 2. plastic frozen food containers 3. plastic grocery bags The answer is the same order I listed them. Now why aren't you carrying on about people who do not recycle? If you really really really are really concerned about future generations, why are you devoting your efforts to the smallest problem? Why are you wasting (no pun intended) your waste efforts on the least waste problem? I sometimes wonder is it just "trendy" to complain about plastic bags? And how much waste is being generated by people who renovate their kitchens and bathrooms every five to seven years by ripping everything out and replacing it? They try to justify their renovation because they used a recycled material somewhere. But that recycled something is such a small part of the job. It seems to me that we should look down at people with new kitchens and baths because they are wastefully filling up the landfills. Don’t you agree? The great thing about encouraging more people to recycle is you cut much more waste going into landfills or up in smoke. Maybe if the greeners went back to basics and encourage more people to recycle it could become trendy. How’s about that? I won’t say a word about you using dirty old bacteria filled cloth bags if you leave my plastic bags alone. Do we have a deal? Honestly, if plastic bags are banned in this state, I am going to stop recycling my waste.
Rick September 26, 2012 at 01:33 PM
@patrick--- you have a right to your opinion but not to your own facts.
Joe R September 26, 2012 at 01:44 PM
I'm so glad that everyone is so concerned about mercury pollution. Maybe we can get more people concerned about the mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants which spews mercury vapors into the atmosphere. What do we plan on doing about all the exisiting long fluorescent tube lights that are in factories, businesses, big box stores, offices, schools.......everywhere? Or are we only concerned about mercury when it comes to CFLs????
Mary Crawford September 26, 2012 at 01:51 PM
@Ric: Totally agree - there are many paths to take to reduce our waste - not just one and do not misread that I am only concerned about one issue of plastic bags. We all have to take a look and individually reduce what we send to landfills. It is amazing with just a little forethought how much less you can use - in the past couple years, I have bought much less packaged food, started composting, making appropriate meal sizes to reduce food waste, am diligient in recycling what I can and yes - I use my reusable bags! The amount in my garbage can is so much less. (btw the bacteria story about bags is just not an issue - the real world example is that those towns/counties/countries that have banned plastic bags have had no increase in food-borne illnesses )
marylou September 26, 2012 at 02:02 PM
I posted a link from the EPA about the correct way to dispose of broken CFLs in a previous comment.CFLs.Home Depot used to take ones the burned out to be recycled.I don't know if they still do because I haven't had 1 burn out in a couple of years.They do last much longer than incadesents. I still feel that If a Republcian had banned incadesent bulbs,the conservative would have thought it was a good thing.As I said,eveyone I know started suing them when they came on the market,by choice.
marylou September 26, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Mary,I am all for reclycling.I reuse the plastic bags from the supermarket.What do you use for your garbage?If you are buying Hefty bags and using your own bags to carry home your groceries,your,defeating the purpose.I have been next in line at the supermarket where the customer in front of me brought her own reuseable bags,and they stunk?Perhaps not a health hazard,but rather unpleasant.I might try bringing my own bags to tote home paper goods and dry groceries,but I'd rather use the store plastic bags for meat and other wet items. And,what about the smaller plastic bags used in the store for produce.While it;s not problem buying a few apples or onions without a bag,loose mushrooms and such need to be in those bags.I bring them back to the store and place them in the bin provided.
Rick September 26, 2012 at 03:00 PM
There is only consensus not proven fact.The earth is warming, the debate is about the cause.Did you know that in our solar system the planets and moons with atmospheres have also increased in temperature.Education will set you free.
Rick September 26, 2012 at 03:07 PM
The outrage is we are being dictated to by the government.Why not then force everyone to buy an electric car or lose weight or don't eat meat or control the size of my soda .Get the idea now.And Hannity and Rush did discuss it when Obama mandated it.
Mary Crawford September 26, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Hi MaryLou - degradable trash bags are available online and work just fine - wish they were in stores too. For produce, I just recently found these awesome mesh bags online with a drawstring on top - you can still read the stickers on the produce at checkout. I have not had an issue with stinky bags but occasionally throw them in my wash when they get dirty on the outside from the floor of the car. Using a few plastic bags here and there is much more preferable that just using them in the quantity that we have come accustomed to.
Ric September 26, 2012 at 03:19 PM
@Mary C. So what you are saying is it is safe to use that old shopping bag where the chicken last in it had leaked blood with salmonella which I did not notice? Do not tell Dateline that. Does the lettuce and fruit I next put in that bag know how not to get contaminated with that salmonella? You are welcome to believe that unproven old wives tale claiming there is no increase in food borne illness by reusing shopping bags; but, I rather not risk dying from salmonella. I just hope you do not put your family’s health at risk. You said nothing about trying to get more people to recycle other than that it is an idea among other ideas. I am so proud of you: you compost and all that. You are a far better recycler than I could ever dream to be. But still it seems to me it would far more effective to concentrate your efforts on encouraging people to recycle than to play this I am a much better recycler because I avoid plastic bags than you are game.
marylou September 26, 2012 at 03:23 PM
I think the problem is not with using plastic bags but throwing them out after bringing home the groceries and produce.I've stated how I reuse mine.My neighbor,who has a small dog,uses plastic bags to clean up after him.A&P,Dearborn,and Whole Foods offer paper bags.Shop-rite does,too,but they're as thin as tissue and break when you put anything in them.
Jerry Grady September 26, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Very Impressive this article drove all these comments.
Patrick September 27, 2012 at 02:53 AM
To believe this line of thought, you'd have to buy into a worldwide cover up... Conspicy... And it is truly sad that some English researchers fudged or projected numbers not based on empirical evidence, but that hardly conflicts the plethora of hard scientic data on the subject. Climate deniers, birthers, new world order cabalists.. Sorry I live in the real world. Where there is drought and melting ice caps. Wanna blame Gore cause he made a film? Please. Let's blame GE who soiled the Hudson River.. Yet now finds green to be the next wave.... You want to say let corporations rule the free market, well the free market has spoken, and they buy into green and climate change. Except the Koch Brothers... They have short term interests in jeopardy. So read a bit on it... Not just the politicized BS from either side. But from science. And the fact that there are people like this guy spewing this sort of disinformation, is shocking.... Well not really. Sorry... When you make the long term health and welfare of people political, it screws up the dialogue.... Yet these are the same people that will play the card of do you want your children to pay off your debt. Can we at least work in reality.
jerseyswamps September 27, 2012 at 08:49 AM
So we should not use plastic bags because they do not decompose in landfills? And good people should care about what kind of mess we leave our children and future generations? OK. But shouldn't that same line of thought apply to our national debt? If you don't care about our national debt then why bother with our environment? Let the kids worry about them when we're gone.
Patrick September 27, 2012 at 10:34 AM
You can't be serious... The debt can be wiped out in a decade of a booming economy.. You can't just fix the global effect and cost of say raising sea levels. Frankly, it is this sort of lack of nuance and lazy approach to our politics that has got us hating each other.
Paul J. DiBartolo September 27, 2012 at 11:46 AM
Okay, Patrick, and I'm sure we can get that booming economy by refusing to allow drilling for domestic oil and natural gas and making it impossible to create energy with coal so that our energy costs go through the second story roof (they've already gone through the first story). Add to that all the subsidies we will need to give away to make any kind of green energy scheme anywhere near affordable for you and me and then impose more and more EPA restrictions on our manufacturing sector. Now, how exactly do you propose to create this booming economy that will wipe out $16 trillion dollars worth of debt in 10 years? Wait a minute to post so I can get up off the floor from laughing. BTW, no need to worry about the rising seas because Mr. Obama promised at his capture of the Democratic nomination in 2008 election cycle that we would look back on that moment and tell our children that was the moment when the rising of the seas stopped and the world began to heal.
Mitch Cumstein September 27, 2012 at 12:02 PM
Think about this. Switching to a natural gas energy policy nationwide. SPOT Natural Gas is $2.92 - Western Texas oil is $90.90. Natural gas is plentiful here in North America. This policy change would drive down oil prices along with gas pump prices. Would also provide a framework for peace in the middle east. When oil is 15$ the we keep the money here not in OPEC pockets.
Patrick September 27, 2012 at 03:48 PM
How will any post modern economy grow? That is easy innovation... Technology will bring about the next energy revolution, healthcare innovation, transportation.. etc etc... In New jersey, there is no reason why we are not a silicon valley or the research triangle... there is no reason that as we transformed from manufacturing to service to design and innovation economies that we lead the world. But we are also attached at the hip with the rest of the world... so how do we pull ahead??? I love the story of the kindle. Even if Amazon wanted to build it here and manufacture the parts here, they couldn't google it. it is an amazing study with what is wrong with this nation.
Loretta September 27, 2012 at 06:18 PM
you libs are all alike. If conservatives don't agree with al gore and his phony climate change lobby you think they want pollution. But I agree, we do want more jobs but not at the cost of having our taxes increased for an issue that doesn't exist. You must be an obama lover and an obvious sheep who has already drunk the kool aid. An obvious lost cause!!!!
Ric September 27, 2012 at 06:32 PM
@loretta. You cons are all alike. If liberals don't agree with your lies about al gore and our climate change lobby you think they want to tax us to death. But I agree, we do want more jobs but not at the cost of having our environment destroyed because cons pretend that the destruction of the environment does not exist. You must be a romney lover and an obvious sheep who has already drunk the kool aid. An obvious lost cause!!!!


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