I dreaded coming to work this morning. Why? Today was the end of our "Smart Home" ticket giveaway, and since we had more contestants than pairs of tickets, I knew I would have to disappoint a few people. I hate that!
However, I first want to thank everyone who participated. We had seven contestants - not a huge number but all of them had great suggestions for ways to go green at home and in everyday living. I'm not only going to publish their suggestions here in PlainTalk, but I'll also add them to the Library's Web site on "Green/Environmental Resources," where they can inspire other people to find life-changing but simple ways to care for the Earth. Here are the contestants' green suggestions, and the names highlighted in green (of course!) are the 5 winners of "Smart Home" ticket vouchers. Please keep reading and writing in to PlainTalk and watch for other contests in the future. Last summer, we gave away a $20 Panera Bread gift card, so you just never know what surprises await you!
Vitaly and Marina G.
"I am very interested in the green, sustainability revolution that is coming to the United States. My favorite suggestion for how to go green at work or home is using less material. By using less material, we are able to reduce the strain that we as humans put on the environment. An example of this is: using less paper towels or completely eliminating them and using a towel to wipe your hands dry. This is green because it would require the cutting down of fewer trees. Also, if you must use paper towels, it is best to use 100% recycled paper. At work, instead of making coffee in a Styrofoam cup, bring a cup from home and reuse it everyday. Little contributions that each individual makes daily it was will globally alter the way humans change the relationship we have with the environment. A very simple thing is using energy efficient lighting throughout your house. This reduces not only your energy bills, but uses less nonrenewable energy sources that release CO2 into our environment and slowly strain the health of the earth."
"One of the hardest things to recycle or reuse is the bad guy Polystyrene, aka Styrofoam. Most communities' recycling programs, including mine, won't take these items. Recycling the styrofoam that comes with most appliance packaging is an easy one - just break it up and use it in your next Ebay shipment.
But what about the endless restaurant styrofoam take home boxes that are dirty after you've gobbled down your yummy leftovers? If you are gardener like me, these are great to use in your potted plants for drainage and filler. Just don't mix them into your dirt beds. Your backyard animal visitors may eat the pieces and become ill or suffocate."
"Our family recycles everything, we use energy efficient light bulbs and use high efficiency appliances. We think conserving energy and being green is very important. We are hoping to get our elementary school on board, and start a paper recycling program at Plainfield School through our PTSO. I would love to take the kids to the museum to see the Smart Home exhibit!"
"I would like to have a plastic bottle, glass bottle recycling program at my work place. We use a lot of bottles in the hospital which could be recycled, but are not."
"I like to clean my home without chemical based cleaners. I use baking soda, vinegar and basic soaps such as the Method brand. I also use Borax instead of bleach. I use laundry soap without chemicals. I am happy that I am not adding more toxins to the air inside or out."
"We have stopped buying bottled water for outings and trips. It was very convenient to keep a case of bottled water in the car for whenever we were out, but I was very concerned about the waste since we weren’t always able to find a recycle bin when disposing of the bottles. So, we have purchased a variety of sizes of reusable water bottles and fill them up before we leave the house."
"Use reusable grocery bags. If you leave them in your car, you won't forget to bring them to the store. You can also fit more items in a large canvas bag than you can in a plastic bag from the store, so you can make less trips carrying your purchases from your car to your home. Also, because they won't rip like plastic does, your items aren't in danger of spilling out and breaking. And some stores give you a discount for using reusable bags."