Friday, April 30, 2010

Tip: Gimme 5

Because so many places do not accept No. 5 plastics for recycling, Whole Foods and Preserve implemented a program called Gimme 5. Many of the stores around the country now have drop-off bins where you can take these difficult items.

Once your used packaging is gone, Preserve turns them into household products, such as toothbrushes and razors, sold at a stores near you! How cool is that?

It's great to have a place working for a program like this. And it benefits Whole Foods too by getting us in the stores. I know anytime I've been to Whole Foods, Earth Fare and Trader Joe's, I always get distracted and end up buying more than I intend. I love that these stores promote organic foods and eco-friendly products, but as someone on a limited budget, I hate the higher prices that come with them.

If you can resist making extra purchases (or even if you can't), it's great to be able to find a local drop-off point.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Incentives for Recycling

As long as I can remember, stores such as Publix and Walmart have had bins near the front door for returning plastic shopping bags for recycling. Target has taken it a step further, with many locations implementing more complete in-store recycling stations. The one closest to my apartment has separate receptacles for plastic shopping bags, glass/plastic/aluminum and one for used electronics.

I had already been drinking the Target Kool-Aid, but now I keep a full pitcher on hand cause I'm hooked.

A more complete listing of Target's "Go Green" initiatives can be found here. I know these large box stores get a bad rap (and with good reason, since they generally drain surrounding resources), but I realize they aren't going anywhere. They're just too freakin' convenient!

A 5¢ discount every time you use a reusable bag. A $1 credit toward a reusable bad for turning in five plastic bags (through a partnership with TerraCycle). Gift cards for trading in old electronics (through a partnership with Next-Worth). Plus on Earth Day last week, stores gave out free reusable bags — I got mine!

But at least this particular chain is taking some major steps to look out for the environment. Walmart is coming around too: stores around the country are carrying TerraCycle products thru Thursday, when the experimental program concludes. (Maybe I missed it, but Walmart didn't seem to do nearly enough advertising since I just found out about it while researching for this post.)

Likely, these are places you already shop so it doesn't require too much effort to take in recyclables — especially when there's a reward involved.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Tip: Earth911

Not too long ago, I discovered the website Earth911. Since not all of us have the luxury of curbside collection services, it's a great resource for finding local recycling centers and drop-off points for a variety of materials.

Whether you're looking to get started recycling, have recently moved to a new place or are traveling, you can find a convenient place to dispose of your recyclables.

A couple months ago, I was on vacation with some friends in Florida. I convinced them to set aside their beer bottles and cans, and on the last day I looked up the nearest bin. My boyfriend and I dropped off a bunch of bags — without even leaving the island — that otherwise would have ended up in the trash.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tread Lightly

For the past five months, I have been blogging once a week over here about style on a budget. You can still find me there at least once a wee, but I’m starting this new blog to focus on another passion of mine — environmentalism.

I haven’t set broad, incomprehensible goals for myself, such as “save the rainforest” or “stop global warming.” What I have set out to do is focus on my own day-to-day behaviors and how I can gradually decrease my footprint on the Earth without breaking the bank.

Ever since it has become cool to “go green,” lots of new products have popped up to aid in this effort. While I think it's great that its now trendy to be environmentally conscious, it sure can be costly to buy organic products and install solar panels on your roof.

Instead I’m more interested in the little things. Where can I easily drop off my recyclables? Where can I recycle number 5 plastics? What are some affordable eco-friendly products I can switch to without drastically altering my lifestyle or bank account? What can I make or buy used vs. buying new? Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.

My goal is for this to be a place where I can be open and informative, with you the reader, about my journey toward a more efficient lifestyle. What works, what doesn’t. A product review here and there. And how-to guides I find interesting. I want to focus on affordable environmentalism — but hopefully avoid being dull or preachy.

I’m always interested comments, suggestions and recommendations, so don’t be afraid to speak up!