It's official!

It's official!
David Stubbs Photography

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easy ways to help the environment

I remember the day I became an environmentalist. I was in my 20's and working as a morning reporter in Indianapolis. After work one day, I was watching an episode of Oprah which was all about the state of our world. It talked about how many plastic bags Americans used everyday, how many paper towels, how much wasted energy, etc. I remember having this sinking feeling in my gut and thinking, "Crap, we can't keep going like this."

Fast forward to 2014, and now that I have a little boy growing and kicking in my belly, I've taken my appreciation for the environment to a whole new level. Even though I haven't met him yet, I'm pretty sure I'm going to like him (most of the time) and I want him to have the most beautiful and perfect planet for the next 100 years. To me, if I didn't take care of the Earth, it would be like telling him I didn't care about his future. (And how could I resist this smile??)

So on this Earth Day, I wanted to share some of my favorite ways to help the planet. I hope you'll see how easy it is and you can do it too!

1) Recycle- It seems so easy, yet everyday I see people throwing away items that can easily be recycled. Last night at work, a co-worker was getting ready to throw away his paper bag and aluminum top from his Chipolte dinner which can both be recycled. I told him to hand it to me (I also had the same items) and I took them home to recycle. I also recycled my soda lid and receipt. Super easy.

Luckily in NYC, you can recycle just about everything, so I keep this list on my fridge as a reference. Your city (hopefully) has the same kind of list. If it doesn't, ask your lawmakers to help out!

(And for the love of god, never throw away a water bottle or a soda can because those can always be recycled.)

2) Say No to Plastic- I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that I say no to plastic bags everyday. I fit whatever I can into my purse or work bag and I also carry these two reusable bags with me everywhere. These two bags have probably saved more than a 1,000 plastic bags. One Saturday while shopping at several stores, I realized I said no to plastic six times. Six! Think about the impact we could have if we all did this.

(And I know what you're thinking. You never remember to bring reusable bags with you. Trust me, if you start making it a priority, you will. My husband now takes a bag with him every time he goes to the store. He's even left and come right back, realizing he forgot them! Lesson: If a man can do it, you can too :-)

3) Get rid of the paper trail- If you haven't already, sign up for paperless statements for all your bills. It's so much easier to pay your bills online anyway! There are also several websites/apps I like that help get rid of junk mail and paper waste.
  • Phone Books- Click here to opt out of phone books. These were my biggest pet peeve in Chicago because we'd get dozens of them dropped off on our doorstep every couple of months. What a waste! (Oh and here's a hint: in 2014 you can get any phone number you need online. It's great.)
  • Junk Mail-  There is a new phone app I love called Paper Karma. You just take a picture of the junk mail you receive, and they work to get you off the mailing list. It's fantastic!
  • Credit Card Offers- Click here to opt out of credit card offers for 5 years or for life! 
  • Catalogs-  Click here to opt out of catalogs. This website has helped me get off the mailing lists for at least 50 companies.
4) No more plastic bottles!- Oh yes, Americans love their plastic water bottles. In fact, we go through 60 million of them everyday in this country. And unfortunately, it's believed that 86% of them never get recycled. Oh, and it takes 700 years for them to decompose. And you'll spend nearly $600 on them this year. Now are you convinced?? I carry my reusable water bottle with me everywhere. Check out for awesome reusable products.

5) Limit your waste - I love that my mother-in-law tells me that she now limits herself to using one paper towel in public restrooms because of me. Everyday I encourage you to think about what you're using. Do you need that much toilet paper? Two, three or four paper towels? Are you really going to eat those leftovers you're taking home in a Styrofoam container? Do you really need to print that entire document? A little bit goes a long way!

6) Unplug! About 10% of household energy use goes to appliances that are plugged in but not being used. Save money by unplugging them after each use! I've started with our coffee maker and toaster. Also turn off the lights, TV, etc. when you're not in the room.

See how easy it is?? We owe this to our kiddos. Happy Earth Day today and everyday!

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