Go Green! There are many ways to be conscious of our environment. And, believe it or not, many are “convenient!”
Better World Shopper, www.betterworldshopper.com , suggests “voting with your wallet” and choosing to spend a bit more on fairly traded, environmentally conscious and sweat-free goods. Be a better world shopper!
Fair Trade Coffee tells us that the United States consumes 20% of the world’s coffee. Many agricultural workers toil in poverty. “Fair Trade is a viable solution to this crisis, assuring consumers that the coffee we drink was purchased under fair conditions. To become Fair Trade certified, an importer must meet stringent international criteria; paying a minimum price per pound of $1.26, providing much needed credit to farmers, and providing technical assistance such as help transitioning to organic farming. Fair Trade for coffee farmers means community development, health, education, and environmental stewardship.” Fair Trade also has an online store. See Fair Trade Coffee Web site for information on where to buy. http://www.globalexchange.org/campaigns/fairtrade/coffee/
For information on organic, sweat-free, fair trade clothing, go to www.coopamerica.org , www.newdream.org/consumer/index.php , www.fairtradefederation.org , www.organicconsumers.org/clothes/leaders.cfm .
To expand your “green” behavior to the office, visit http://www.thegreenoffice.com/ . We all use so many electronic products that are constantly being updated. Consult the Environmental Protection Agency at http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/hazwaste/recycle/ecycling/index.htm . You can also donate your used computer:
http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/hazwaste/recycle/ecycling/donate.htm or join a recycled office product cooperative: http://www.recycledproducts.org/join.html . One of the best ways to recycle is to make sure you reuse or recycle your inkjet and toner cartridges. You can help conserve resources and reduce pollution, as more than 300 million cartridges end up in land fills every year! Remanufacturing just one cartridge saves about ½ gallon of oil. Individual companies offer recycling programs, so check with the manufacturer of your cartridge.
Lightbulbs have also come a long way. As your old bulbs burn out, replace them with energy-efficient “Energy Star” products. The Department of Energy has many great ideas and resources: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=lighting.pr_lighting . There are more energy-saving tips and products at http://www.eere.energy.gov/consumer/products_services/energysaving/index.cfm/mytopic=4000 .
In Illinois, the Illinois Recycling Association provides a plethora of information on e-cycling, freecycle. http://www.illinoisrecycles.org/ . “The purpose of this site is to provide a listing service to foster the exchange, re-use and recycling of valuable commodities, products and services.” http://illinoisrecyclesdirectory.org/IRecycle/ .
Household cleaning and other products also harm the environment. Green cleaning products are those a trend away from chemically-reactive and toxic cleaning products. MSNBC provides natural cleaning tips http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17966376/ . There are organic cleaning solutions, like products from Seventh Generation, Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day, Method, and Shaklee.
http://earth911.org/ is a site that helps locate nearby recycling facilities for used motor oil, batteries, electronics and a host of other things that we often put in the trash. It also provides tips on living more “greenly.”
More information is available on the internet and through governmental and nonprofit agencies.