Sunday, September 23, 2007

Gimme my morning paper!

Things I have already been doing to reduce my personal environmental impact:

  • Switched from disposable razors to a reusable handle with disposable blades.
  • Switched from can shaving cream to old-fashioned shaving soap (Burt’s Bees) and shaving brush in a mug.
  • We are slowly changing out lights in the house.
    We added power-bars to most electronics and *try* to remember to turn the bars off at night.
  • Switched from a table-top PC to Laptop (though I sprung for the really fast Alienware.)
  • Working on the paperless classrooms (see earlier posts).
  • I started using a glass bottle for water instead of plastic bottles and refill it at home and at school. This one significantly reduced our trash output.
  • We recycle paper for drafts and I bring used paper from work home to use for drafts here (it just goes into recycling there with only one side used).
  • We used the AC almost not at all this summer.
  • Subscribed to magazines I like rather than picking them up at the stand.

Things I am planning on:

  • Putting mini-blinds on all windows for winter.
  • Reducing over-all trash output by cooking from scratch more (we do a lot already, but when we get busy with writing and school, takeout starts looking really nice and easy).
  • Looking for electronic versions of magazines.

Things that I still can’t do:

  • Giving up the morning paper on the subway.
  • Composting. We live in an apartment. I know about the worms in a box thing, but . . . yuck!

    Well, that’s a start anyway.


  1. Wow! That’s a great start! I was curious to know how do you carry your glass with you, is that a plastic glass or china? Do you wash the glass every time you use? I hope you don't waste too much water to wash your glass and cause more power use for processing the usable water. I’m interested to know because I'm a bottle-user. I reuse my bottle. I don't drink water directly touching the bottle with my mouth; I pour the water in my mouth from the bottle to keep it safe from germs. But still after a certain period I need to buy a new bottle. If your idea works better I may buy a glass too. I also cook at home (for health reason) and use glass and plates that I clean after I eat. I've also replaced paper towels with cloth towels to wipe my hand. I bought some cloth handkerchiefs for my guests that I can laundry and reuse. I've decided to eat more vegetables and fruits, if possible raw (though I'm afraid of getting bored soon).

    How do you go to work, by car? I’ve a good counsel for you. You could walk or you could buy a bicycle. I can’t wait to see a professor, very dressed, going to work every morning riding a bicycle. I think in Japan, there is a University where everyone is required to learn ho to drive a bicycle before admission because the university doesn’t allow motor vehicle, doesn’t matter how far the students come from.

  2. Hi Mary--

    I have a glass bottle with a lid. It was originally sparkling water (but a clear bottle with a large silver lid--photo to follow). Living in NYC I don't worry overly much about my own germs as I have the millions of others to worry about, but I do wash the bottle every couple of days. You should not use the same plastic bottles more than a few times because the plastic can taint the water and fungus and other nasty things can start to grow in the plastic.

    We also bought linen napkins and kitchen towels to cut down on the paper waste and wash them by hand here at home a couple of times and then the go to the laundromat for a real cleaning.

    As far as travel goes, I am a subway person who walks a alot. The bike may be in the future, but the drivers here in Astoria, Queens are nuts and we are close to LaGuardia airport so we get tons of Taxi traffic. Ugh.

    Oh, and we have started carrying cloth shopping bags in our briefcases to use instead of plastic for that "quick shopping run" on the way home.