Monday, January 07, 2008

Paper or Plastic?

Last week on my way home from work I stopped behind a beautiful silver BMW at a busy-with-rush-hour intersection. All of a sudden a paper cup came flying out the driver side window, hit the pavement, and rolled to a stop. My face flushed scarlet red. Impulsively I yanked the e-brake and reached for my door handle so blustering mad I could have picked up the paper cup and the BMW and chucked them both across the freeway to the nearest dumpster. But the light turned green. Instead I could only honk in utter disbelief . I threw my car into gear and cursed silently all the way home. I am more offended by this than anything I see on TV.BD and I make a valiant effort to waste less, drive less, recycle more and all that. But it discourages me when there are bozo's in the world who feel so entitled that they can just throw garbage onto the street. Really, how lazy and disgusting can you be?
As part of our resolutions for 2008 BD and I have decided to step up our effort in a few small ways. This becomes addicting. Once you've made a simple change that makes a huge difference you feel empowered. Now when I'm at the grocery store and the bagger asks me "Paper or Plastic?" I can answer, "Neither!" because I got me these sweet cloth grocery bags for Christmas. My grocery store actually pays me not to use their bags. So not only am I throwing away less paper and plastic, I'm saving money. Brilliant.This concept is also true for lots of stuff including light bulbs. Using CFL's (compact florescent light bulbs) saves you dollars, as in actual cha-ching, per month on your electricity bill. This is a no-brainer people.
And even though I can't stand Al Gore and his hypocritical shenanigans, he has done a marvelous job getting people to talk about big environmental issues when no one else would. Kudos. Now thanks to big names like Oprah (watch her latest 1.4.08 episode: Going Green 101) I think people are starting to catch on. Are you?

21 comments:

Two Wheeler said...

Way to ring in the New Year! Saving "green" (dollars) and spreading the word!

The Blairs said...

Happy new year Duncans!! I have also been thinking about making more of an effort to do my part. Good news is my mom gave us some shopping bags from costco, so we don't have to use paper or plastic either, they are huge and very durable. I've got a lot of changing to do.
Ryan

Lacy said...

What are you going to come up with next? Do you ever sleep? Good work G, you make me want to be better and think about other things besides what is going on with me!!

Two Wheeler said...

Way to go Nancy! Bags are a great thing to get as a gift especially, because then it's even cheaper for you to buy groceries (that is if your grocery store gives you credit for not using a plastic bag).

Cole said...

Sweet post Gina...
You can find the CFL's subsidized by RMP at Costco 12 for $4 most of the time.
Few drawbacks to those bulbs are they burn out quickly if you turn them off and on so leave them on at least 15 minutes when you turn them on. Also they contain MERCURY (so if you break them for fun don't do it around your own house). They contain a real small amount compared to other things that contain mercury like thermometers but rarely do you throw thermometers away or break them. But if you want to do your part IKEA is the only place ive heard of in UT that recycles these bulbs so if you use um don't break um recycle um.

So were can we get those sweet shopping bags? we'd need like 5. On second thought I wouldn't have a good place to put my household garbage.

Lastly, I know Brad likes to get behind these types of things. You should have BD write a letter to his congressman about recycling. It's not readily available here in UT county (I've looked into a bunch of times.) If you have any extra info on this subject do share.

GJ Gina

Rachel said...

Dang! I HATE littering as well! I SO wish you would have had time to get out of your car and go hand the cup BACK to the driver! That would have shown 'em! Also, VERY impressive. I love all the info!

The Blairs said...

Hey Brad, what grocery stores give discounts for not using plastic bags?

gina bina said...

Cole, thanks for the info on the light bulbs. Ikea is also a good place to buy these bulbs, but I don't know the cost off the top of my head. I'm curious, have you seen a dip in your electricity bill since you've started using them? Because of the way our building works, we're unable to see a breakdown of our electricity usage.
Utah is way behind on the recycling programs. It's pathetic. And you better believe that I'm going to write some letters about it. Phoenix, for example, has a terrific recycling system. ALL garbage is sorted in your own home into paper, plastic, glass and "garbage" and is picked up by the city right in front of your house. Residents can actually be fined if they don't sort the recyclable material. Genius I tell you. A system like this makes you think twice about what you put into the garbage. Because even though you have thrown it away, it has to go somewhere.
You can use any cloth bag for groceries. I got the ones from www.weaddup.com, but now Oprah is selling her own for $9.99 each at www.oprah.com. Pretty much any canvas bag will do!
Also, if you reuse your grocery bags as garbage bags, that's terrific! But in our situation, we accumulate more grocery bags than we could ever reuse for garbage and I found myself throwing them away. I have 4 cloth bags and there will be times at the grocery store when I will need to use additional paper or plastic bags. And when that's the case I'll just try to either recycle the paper ones or reuse the plastic ones. I've had these bags for only a couple weeks now and it feels good to know that I haven't thrown away any plastic bags just because I don't have room to store them!

Jessie said...

WOW! I love all the passionate comments! Really I do. I think it's so neat that people care about different things. My little "quirk" is trying to "slow the flow". It gets my engine going when I see people using water (and energy) wastefully!! So where do you guys do your shopping? I need to look into if there are any stores around here that credit you for using your own. I'm glad you shared that info - I didn't know they existed!

gina bina said...

Jessie, I'm right there with you about the water thing. I have a lot of improvement to do in that department. One way I am trying to make a difference is to drink less bottled water. We are incredibly spoiled here in the U.S. and especially in Utah where good clean water is available to literally everyone (even Debbie). It makes me sad to think about places in the world where they have no running water at all or it's unhealthy to drink. If you start thinking about clean water as a luxury, which it is, it makes you think twice about taking it for granted.
We do our grocery shopping mostly at Dan's on Foothill Drive. I believe they credit you 5 cents for every bag you don't use. It's only 5 cents, but hey it's a savings! But I'd like to keep my 5 cents. Also check out thegreenbag.org. You should ask your grocery store customer service if they do a credit. Dan's also has a big box in the front of the store where you can bring back your used plastic bags and they will recycle them for you! This is another great effort.
Love the comments, keep them coming! It's awesome to know that other people are thinking about the sames issues that effect us all.

Tuttles said...

Gina, you are so awesome. You always have something awesome going on or you're working on a great cause. I'm voting for you for next president.

Two Wheeler said...

Cole, great tip on the IKEA recycling of CFL's, I didn't know that. And yes, they do contain a small bit of mercury, so it's just another reason to recycle them rather than throw them away. Does IKEA have a bin or somewhere you can put the bulbs? How does it work?

You better believe that I've written my congressman and governor about recycling, as well as other things that I feel are pressing. How else are they going to know what we as citizens want? I would hope that all citizens take time once in a while and write the people that they have elected to office (even if the citizens letters are in direct opposition to my opinion). That's the best way for them to know what we want! :-)

debbie said...

G your funny. I will do my part and think about not drinking bottled water.

Tuttles said...

Yeah right debbie

gina bina said...

Deb deb, just giving you a hard time girl! Glad to know you read my blog. Just as long as you are thinking about something, anything, I'll give you some credit. You were a no-show on New Year's, excuses? None. Regrets? Plenty.

cathy said...

Great job Gina-making everybody think -I agree Utah is very behind at least in recycling. Here in the county we live in-Butler, PA-we only pay for what we don't recycle. So if you only have one bag a garbage you pay for that one, and you actually get money back for quite a bit of what you recycle. I think it's genius, it encourages everyone at any economical standing to recycle. This is done in half of PA's counties. I also know it's being done in at least 3 counties in Michigan (maybe more, I just don't know). Something that is also very different at least here in my own new environment is what people drive. There a lot less gas absorbing vehicles on the road.-Pittsburgh used to be one of the dirtiest cities in the US-but they have made some major strides to change and it's impressive-for example my husbands the marketing director for Riverset Credit Union-and starting Jan. 1st they went green-look on their website(riverset.com) for lots of neat info on "going green"-sorry-there's just so much to say!-thanks Gina

Natlee Lloyd said...

SO cole do you remember the time you threw a cup out of my car window at lunch time back in high school and I hit the brakes and made you get out and pick it up? Ha! So I got some sweet bags over to the costco that are reusable for groceries, 3 for like 4 dollars and they are big! In Orem on Geneva road there is a recycle place where you can take stuff if you don't have a recycle garbage can at home. Harmons in Orem also has a recylce bin for their plastic sacks. Most grocery bags and produce bags are recyclable but only #1 and #2 here in Utah. Target bags are so not recyclable but very reusable.

gina bina said...

I agree, Target has the best reusable bags!! But that's a real bummer they aren't recyclable. My physic predictions are telling me that Target will change this in the near future. Especially because cities like New York are already passing laws BANNING heavy plastic bags. China is already one step ahead of us as well, but I'm not at all surprised by that.
Thanks for all the comments!

Cole said...

That must have been a dream NatO. Now Im going to feel uncomfortable around you now that I now i'm in your dreams.

You're Crazy

Natlee Lloyd said...

No dream Cole. We were cutting through the Mall parking lot from Einsteins and you threw a cup out the window of big red. I'm sure the other witnesses consisted of E-Russ, Double D, and Jesse. Just funny memories, I know you've changed your ways, you green thumb you!

sly fox said...

I already confessed to Brad that I am destroying the Earth with the amount of driving I am doing, but I am trying. We haul our recycling to the local bins and due to that we only put our trash can on the curb about once a month and even then it is never full. Keep up the good work.