Here are a few simple eco tips
Green tips on buying books and getting rid of unwanted books:
Buy your books locally! Buying books locally supports your local community. If you can’t find the books you want in a small independently owned store or a regular bookstore, try getting them at a used bookstore (the ultimate concept in reusing!). Or better yet, try checking out the book at your local library first (reduces resources and it’s free!) before buying it (to see if you even want to buy a copy of the book). Many libraries also have interlibrary loan, which is great at finding really rare books! In addition, a lot of libraries have yearly book sales to get rid of excess books and to raise funds.
If you can’t find them locally and need to buy books online, consider getting a used copy instead of a new one (you can find used books at sites such as amazon, e-campus, alibris, and ebay, etc). Many of them are in great condition (some are even like new!), buying used books gives a second life to books, and oftentimes you can find them at really great deals! Try buying from vendors who are from a state close to yours (to reduce emission impacts, and also to get them faster!).
If you have books that you don’t want, try going to a used bookstore to trade them in for cash or for store credit (most used books stores usually offer you more if you choose store credit). You can also try selling them on used book websites. Or have a yard sale! If you don’t have time to sell unwanted books, then donate them to a library, women’s shelter, homeless shelter, places like the Salvation Army, or jails. Many of these places are happy to get worn (but in good condition) books! Or offer them to a friend, relative, or fellow student or employee.
Eco tips on reusing packaging:
If you receive a gift or if you order a lot of products online, save the packaging (bubble wrap, peanuts, newsprint, shredded paper, and boxes, etc) and reuse them the next time you mail something. This will not only save you money but it is more eco-friendly since it reduces waste. If you can’t reuse your packaging, try calling small local companies (many of which reuse packaging), recycle your boxes (many communities recycle cardboard boxes and paper, ask your local recycling/trash company or recycle paper at work or your local government center or library), or give them to a friend that is moving and needs the packaging!
Green your drinks: Use reusable bottles!
One of the simplest ways to be more eco-friendly is to use reusable water/drink bottles. Recycling disposable water and drink bottles is a good start, but there are concerns about toxins (toxins may potentially leach from plastic bottles into water or land fills), and recycling issues (not all areas have recycling programs, it may be hard to find a recycling bin when needed, or people may throw them away even if recycling bins are near by. Most (80%) recyclable bottles are thrown away). Using reusable bottles is an even greener alternative . Reusable bottles reduce trash in landfills, they help to reduce usage of energy and resource/materials (since no new bottles are made). In the long run, this is cheaper (though it might be more expensive to buy it initially. Refilling a water bottle with filtered tap water or with drinks bought in larger containers is cheaper than buying individual small bottles of drinks. It's also healthier since there is debate about the possibility of the plastic leaching.
Because of the concerns with using plastic, it is best to use a reusable glass or metal (stainless steel) container. Glass has advantages in that it is easy to clean, it is non-reactive to liquids (non-toxic, no leaching, no funny tastes if water/drinks are in the container all day long), and it is inexpensive. Just clean and reuse a glass drinking bottle, no need to buy a new one. The possible down side is that glass can be heavy and is breakable. I prefer using stainless steel drinking bottles because they have nearly all of the advantages of glass, but they don’t break like glass can. They are also good for both hot and cold liquids, and are usually lighter weight than glass. However, they cost more than glass bottles (but in the long run will save you money). Be sure to get a stainless steel container that is not lined with plastic.
Articles on recycling and also reusable bottles:
A good article on why not to use bottled water:
Reusable bottle recommendations:
Earth 911 recycling statistics (includes the amount of energy and materials saved by recycling; imagine how much is saved by using a reusable ☺ )
Recycling plastics article from CNN (2008):
A good article from a local paper from Colorado Springs on bottle recycling (2009):
Consumer Reports’ recycling tips, includes a good overview on the types of recyclable plastic:
About The Author:
Li Wong has a B.A. in Environmental Studies (Biology) and a M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy. She has been crafting natural cosmetics and studying aromatherapy and herbalism since 2001, and is currently a student of Jeanne Rose’s Aromatherapy Studies Course. Environmental interests include conservation, botany, ethnobotany (uses of plants by indigenous peoples), mammals, organic standards in cosmetics, urban wildlife issues, environmental education and awareness, and public perception. Her all natural, eco-friendly, vegetarian cosmetic company will open in a few weeks. ☺
For more information on environmental issues, Eco Living, natural cosmetics, aromatherapy, and herbalism check out: Solarkat’s Eco Blog. http://solarkatecoblogspot.com
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