10 Little Ways to Go Green

Try these ten tips for 1. Post-it Notes: While these little guys are great for leaving yourself reminders, they're pretty wasteful. Even worse, they're rarely recycled (yes Post-its can be recycled!). By cutting your Post-it use by four packs a year, you can save almost a third of a pound of paper.

2. Drinking Straws: Plastic straws, though small, make trash that's completely unnecessary, and every ounce of trash created by a straw is entirely avoidable. By eliminating five straws a week you can keep more than one third of a pound of unwanted waste out of our landfills.

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3. Paper Mail: Though e-mail has rendered snail mail almost obsolete, a lot of companies still mail out paper bills and advertisements. Eliminate one piece of mail a week by either switching to online billpay or removing yourself from a mailing list or two and in one year reduce your paper use by 1.15 lbs.

4. Zippered Sandwich Bags: Packing a lunch today? Then chances are you used at least one sandwich bag. If you're able to replace one sandwich bag a day with a reusable storage container, you can decrease the amount of plastic in the dumps by 2 pounds this year.

5. Disposable Flatware: If you're in the habit of ordering in lunch, there's a good possibility that whether you ask for it or not, you get plastic flatware. If you can use real utensils instead of plastic (a fork and knife) 5 times a week you could save yourself and the planet 2.7 pounds of plastic a year.

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6. Plastic Grocery Bags: If you go grocery shopping frequently, or buy your toiletries at the drugstore, it's probably safe to say that you accumulate at least one plastic bag a day. By replacing that one plastic bag a day with a reusable tote for the next year, you could keep 5.3 pounds of debris from going into a landfill.

7. Plastic Water Bottles: Some cities have already banned the sale of plastic water bottles, which is great! However, for the rest of us, plastic water bottles are a constant temptation because of their convenience and availability. By cutting out just one plastic water bottle a day, you can save 7.9 pounds of plastic from either being recycled or thrown away.

8. Disposable Food Containers: If you're accustomed to ordering food for delivery or getting takeout, you probably go through a lot of disposable food containers. If you eat in instead of taking food to go you'll eliminate the need for food to be packed in disposable containers and save at least 10.6 pounds of plastic.

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9. Disposable Coffee Cups: For most of us coffee is a part of our daily morning ritual. By replacing a disposable 10 ounce cup (smaller than a Starbucks small) with a mug 5 days a week, in one year you'll save 6.45 pounds of trash. Now here's the crazy part: If you stop using the protective paper sleeve on top of replacing your paper cup you can save an additional 5.3 pounds of trash a year, for a grand total of 11.75 pounds!

10. Paper Towels: This is another product that's completely unnecessary! Even though these items are easily replaced with cloth rags or sponges, the moment you buy these guys you can't stop finding uses for them and before you know it the whole roll is gone. If you buy just one less roll of paper towels a week, you'll reduce the amount of paper towel waste you create in a year by 15.7 pounds!

How do you "go green" around the house? Let me know in the comments!

--by Megan Inayoshi

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