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MailTribune.com
  • Organizing to go Green

    Simple steps can make a big difference
  • It seems like everybody is talking about "going green" these days. Whether you turn on "The Oprah Show," flip open your favorite magazine or eavesdrop at your local coffee house, everyone seems to be in on the green revolution.
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  • It seems like everybody is talking about "going green" these days. Whether you turn on "The Oprah Show," flip open your favorite magazine or eavesdrop at your local coffee house, everyone seems to be in on the green revolution.
    There are so many different ways to incorporate environmentally friendly practices into your family's daily life. Whether you turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth, collect soda cans for recycling or bike instead of driving, all of these little steps really make a difference in our world.
    Of course, like anything, there are the overachievers. Those who compost their own garbage, grow all of their own food (and make their own yogurt), heat and light their homes through solar energy and even craft new items from recyclables are certainly the rock stars of the environmental movement.
    But what about the rest of us? We can't all be overachievers, so is it still worth it if you can't do everything? The simple answer is yes. Don't let intimidation keep you from greening your ways. Organizing yourself to take some simple steps can make a big difference, and you'll be surprised by how easy it is to incorporate new eco-conscious habits into your lifestyle without even noticing the effort.
    1. Start small
    There isn't just one way to be green, so before you start trying to overhaul everything, remember that every little bit counts. Also remember that no one is keeping tabs, so if you pack your lunch in reusable containers but can't give up your regular light bulbs, don't beat yourself up over it.
    2. Bad habits rule
    No, we don't mean your bad habits are cool or that you should embrace them. Instead, get in touch with yourself and figure out where you are the worst offender. Are you addicted to paper towels, always using five or six when really one or two could still do the job? Opt for WhiteCloud's GreenEarth paper towels. Do you have a six-pack-a-day bottled-water habit? Buy a reusable bottle and refill it throughout the day. Start by curbing your worst habit (or habits) first — you'll make the biggest impact that way.
    3. One woman's garbage is another woman's treasure
    OK, it's unlikely your used Us Weekly will suddenly morph into the latest "it" dress, but recycling magazines, catalogs and junk mail is a great way to get in on the green bandwagon. Better yet, go online to www.catalogchoice.org and control which catalogs you receive or call companies that send catalogs you no longer want and tell them to remove you from their lists.
    4. Become a bag lady
    You know that tote from your husband's conference in Florida three years ago? Give it new life or buy reusable totes (they even have nifty freezer ones) from your favorite store and use them instead of plastic shopping bags. Store them in your trunk, so you are always armed in case you make an unplanned pit stop. Stepped inside the store without them? Think of the walk back to your car as a free two minutes of exercise.
    5. Shop locally
    Hit up one of the local farmers markets. It not only helps local growers and crafters and gives you a chance to enjoy fresh, organic produce, but it also reduces traffic, smog and all kinds of other pesky disturbances that come from trucking food across the country.
    6. Get the kids in on it
    Start by explaining why it's important to take little steps toward helping the planet, and the kids will be more than happy to join in. You can get them involved by doing everything from packing their lunches in reusable containers (instead of plastic baggies) to signing up to help a local group clean up a park or beach to even planting a vegetable garden in your backyard. Just remember to make it fun.
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