Tuesday, May 8, 2012

10 Tips and Tricks to Live a Green Lifestyle

I may be one day weeks too late for the party, but it's not stopping me from celebrating one of the best women in the planet - Mother Earth! I'm the most eco-conscious person around, but I do have my fair share of looking out for Mother Nature. Anyway, if you're like me who's a day weeks behind but would still like to live a Green Lifestyle, here are really simple and doable tips that you can do at home, work, and, yes, in the tradition of my POC days, fashion!

 At work

1. Organize a recycling group.  

We did a Post-Earth Day celebration here at work, and each floor had to do something that abides to the 5 R's of Avon's Hello Green Tomorrow campaign - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rethink, Replant.

Folks from the 7th Floor did a Rethink the Green and Gorgeous Way by putting out a box of old samples with items that were free to take away for everyone. Now that's what you call Recyclable Fashion.

Eight floor associates Reduced their Paper and Styro Consumption by feeding all their photocopiers with used paper and by carrying reusable mugs instead of styro cups.

Our floor at the 10th is having a Used Paper Drive in which the department with the most used paper collected will get a special treat from their floor's Green Captain! And guess who's the floor's Green Captain is?

You can make it fun and exciting, and not really straight to the point RECYCLING. 

 2. Turn off computers, laptops, printers, photocopiers before going home.

Did you know that there's another type of vampire that's as harmless to the environment as it is to virginal girls? It's called vampire power or parasitic energy. It's "small bits of energy that continually flow through the plug and up the cord even though your appliance or doodad may be turned off." It's ever present in appliances and gadgets that are turned off but not unplugged. Vampire power continually sucks energy from outlets which causes the continuous consumption of energy, which in turn produces greenhouse gases (if I got my science right!).

So it's not really enough to turn off your your appliances and gadgets, you have to unplug. Here are the top 10 items that you can unplug at home and at work. Isama na natin ang chargers!

3. Recognize and compliment good green behavior at work.

It's really a challenge to get everyone at work to live a Green Lifestyle. I know I am having challenges. People are busy with work, and it may seem intrusive and too tasking to ask people to recycle, but it's not called a lifestyle if you don't weave in these green behaviors to your employees. Here's a smart tip from one of my co-employees:

"See how many pages each user is printing.  List the 20 users with the least amount of documents printed for the month and recognize these employees. Over time, this will change the behavior as the users will reduce the number of pages printed.  Reward users that have cut down on their printing significantly with a prize."

Cool, right?

At home and in life


4.  Be conscious of the life cycle of the things you throw away


Here's an interesting way to look at recycling: When you throw away something, anything - a plastic bag, a styrofoam cup - you're not really conscious of where and for how long that piece of trash stays on the face of the earth. You just get rid of it and then forget about it.

It's all about instant gratification for most of us - we consume something then we throw it away. To put things (and your garbage) in perspective, here's the life cycle of our common garbage:

Just so you have an idea of how long it takes for your garbage to decompose:

Paper- 2.5 months
Cigarette Butt - 10 to12 years
Plastic bag- 10 to 20 years
Disposable diaper - 75 years
Tin can - 100 years
Styrofoam- NEVER. They're immortal, like Edward.

See? Those are days, weeks, months of your lives that you will never get back!

With that being said:

5. Reuse everything!

Glass bottles, plastic bags, papers, books, clothes, tires, everything! Here's a list of 50 more items that you can reuse at home.

6. Make it a habit to carry an eco bag.

Avon's Hello Green Tomorrow 2012 Reusable Shopping Bag

Most designs are foldable anyway, so it won't take too much space in your bag. Saves you the hassle of carrying too many plastic bags when shopping and they're reusable!

I'm an eco bag/reusable bag fiend and I carry one or two in bag always. My favorite brands are, of course, Avon's Hello Green Tomorrow bag (can carry up to 10 kilos!), Beansprout because it's water resistant (I've had coffee spill inside this bag and it never leaked), and Envirosax because of the very eye-catching designs (it's water resistant, tew!)

Here's my Envirosax lunchbag. Photo from Instagram.

7. Don't be a douche: Just bin it!

Singapore got it right: JUST BIN IT.

But in our case where there are not so many "bins" around, JUST PUT IT IN YOUR POCKET, you douche!

Eating a candy but there's no trash can to put the wrapper in?

Got hungry, you order siopao from Hen Lin, no bins in sight?

Paid your bus ticket. What the hell do you do with a 1x1 piece of paper?

Well, my copy could use a little improvement, but you get the point, right?


In Fashion and Beauty

8. Buy thrifted.

Shopping is a very wasteful industry and probably one of the industries with the most carbon footprint produced. Your It bag will be tomorrow's sale bin item and Spring/Summer 2012 clothes will be, what, outdated in 3 months time.

The Philippines may not as fashion conscious when it comes to seasons (we only DO have 2 seasons anyway), but some countries are. Why do you think the ukay industry boomed all of a sudden?

When you buy ukay, think of it not as being penniless and cheap and dirt poor. Think of it as saving Mother Earth! Yan ang tinatawag na re-imagining!.

9. If you can't beat 'em, ask your local government to beat them to a pulp!


You won't believe how proud I am when the SM Grocery bagger asked if I had a bag and I was able to say "Yes." It was Wednesday at that time and Makati's No Plastic Wednesdays was in effect. The woman behind me was so irate because she had to pay for her plastic bag (Tip 3: Recognize and Reward Good Green Behavior!).

Muntinlupa and Bacoor also have No-Plastic Laws enacted in their municipalities and I couldn't be happier! They may just be cashing in on the Green Revolution trend, but whatever their intentions are, at least Green Behavior is already taking place.

Write to your local government if you want to have the same No Plastic Policies in your town or city. Letter writing campaigns, signature campaigns, even Twitter works. So go do it!

10. If you want organic, then BUY organic!

I'm not going into a debate of When Is An Organic Product Really Organic, but if you want more organic products in your shelves, then patronize brands when they make an attempt to launch such products. You may not know it, but Mass Production Is King when it comes to fashion and beauty. And sometimes, going organic takes money and lots of effort. So when Zara comes out with Organic T-shirts and you cry "foul!" because of the exorbitant prices, think about it: How much are you willing to spend for organic products? Right now, the organic route is still a niche market. If companies see a clamor for an organic line, then they will produce it.

You see, it doesn't need much effort to live a Green Lifestyle. All it takes a little bit of re-adjusting your habits and being conscious of our actions. Ano ba naman na magdala ka ng re-usable bag or consciously wag mag litter diba?

How about you? What steps are you doing to live a Green Lifestyle?

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Diana Alexandra said...

I like that you didn't just do the awareness thing and you actually made a list of things that people can do. It's taking a position and giving concrete steps that most campaigns lack. Good job, Mara!

I learned that in the Ortigas Center, the whole community is moving towards a greener community because the whole area has cut back on use of plastic bags. (At least in the major establishments, they all use brown paper bags now!) Walang ganun sa Makati. :( 

Mara said...

 Awareness campaigns are so 90s! It's time we take Green Action :)

We have a joke that Makati is still estimating what to charge No-Plastic Law violators. Makati is a "business city" after all. LOLz!

Any Green Tips that you can share? :)

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