Thursday, January 10, 2013

Resolve to reduce-reuse-recycle

Posted By on Thu, Jan 10, 2013 at 6:08 AM

With all the recent talk of New Year's resolutions, maybe some of you have decided to include renewing your personal efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle. Environmentally friendly practices not only help save Mother Earth, they also help save you money.

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Did you know food waste and yard trimmings account for up to 25% of municipal garbage? Composting is a simple way to help reduce your carbon footprint and a low-cost, low-maintenance way to add nutrients to your plants. Even our townhome's 4x6 foot area, planted with two tangerine trees, gets some of our vegetable refuse composted into the soil. These tree had a bumper crop of tangerines this year! A compost heap can be as small as the one pictured above to make a healthy contribution to your garden. Check here for tips on how to start you own compost pile.

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One of the most important efforts to saving the environment and your wallet is to STOP BUYING INDIVIDUAL PLASTIC BOTTLES OF WATER. Several things you can do to get out of the habit bottled water are:
  • Purchase a 2, 3 or 5 gallon refillable jug (BHA free) from Whole Foods. I point you in that direction because after considerable searching, they seem to be the only place in town where you can purchase one.
  • Set them on a stone crock dispenser (not chilled). Less electricity and no delivery cost.
  • Fill up at the Windmill Express or Glacier water stations. Twenty-five cents a gallon is a great deal for good, clean, filtered water.
  • Purchase smaller, refillable bottles for your everyday needs. I keep several cold ones in the frig to take with me to work or on trips.
During my recent two week break from school, I dedicated some time to culling my closets, shelves and drawers of so much stuff! I know it's hard to decide what stays and what goes. Here's some advice from Spareparts Founder and Creative Reuse Instigator Mary Elizabeth Cantu. "I recommend we all rethink our consumerism this year -- buy less or REduse the amount of stuff we feel we need/want. Use the library, mend clothes, take better care of what we already have, gift experiences instead of things, fight the urge to buy the most updated i_____(fill in the blank with Pad/Pod/Phone), etc. If you have to shop, first visit a thrift or consignment store. San Antonio has some great resale shops!" REuse! Reuse! Reuse! Mary adds, "Challenge yourself to reuse before trashing or recycling anything. There are tons of creative reuse ideas on the internet for inspiration. For me, Pinterest has the best curated collection. The suggestions are endless and you don't have to be artistic to incorporate creative reuse. For example, paper towel rolls when cut in half turn into binoculars for a curious kid, paper rolls can be used as vessels for starting seedlings, they can also be cut into smaller circular slices, pinched at the ends and adhered together to make flower decorations. When you rethink the stuff around you, it's empowering." I say Amen! In addition, EcoStrategies, founded by Andrea Nocito, can help you and/or your business find sensible solutions to reducing environmental impact. Check out EcoStrategies website for information. Andrea is an award-winning, professional EcoStrategegist. Take a little time this year to renew yourself. Remember to unplug, enjoy the silence and listen to your heart--a little or a lot. San Antonio activist and nonprofit veteran Laura Carter believes in enabling the community to work from the heart, not just the wallet. Laura is currently Communications Director at Providence Catholic School where her job includes working with traditional, creative, and social media public relations and marketing.              

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