Stamp out Styrofoam 

Cups, plates and other products made of polystyrene (IE Styrofoam) show up at parties everywhere.  But maybe it’s time to tell them they’re not welcome anymore.  Consider:

  • Polystyrene is made of petroleum.  ‘Nuff said.
  • Polystyrene is non-biodegradable; it persists for a long time in the environment.  It’s especially troublesome in the ocean, where it doesn’t break down but just breaks up into small pieces which then enter the marine food chain.
  • Polystyrene is bulky, so it fills up landfills – meaning new landfills are needed sooner.  That bulkiness also means more garbage bags and more trips for the garbage truck.
  • Polystyrene is recyclable – but don’t be fooled.  Because it’s so bulky, it’s expensive to transport and very few jurisdictions actually do recycle it; most just dump it into the landfill.

The best solution?  The first of the three Rs – reduce – is once again the best strategy.  Try to avoid using disposables altogether, but when their use is unavoidable, choose paper products instead: at least they’re compostable or recyclable.

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Dare to wear clothes more than once between washes 

By habit, most of us are accustomed to throwing all our clothes into the laundry after we’ve worn them once.  But unless we work in situations where we sweat a lot or get physically dirty, most of us could easily get away with wearing clothes at least twice between washings.  The advantages are MANY:

  1. Clothes will last longer, because washing is a pretty punishing process
  2. Clothes washers and dryers will last longer because they’ll be doing fewer loads
  3. Much less detergent will be used
  4. Much less water – particularly that energy-intensive hot water – will be used
  5. Less dryer use means lots of electricity will be saved, because a single dryer uses as much power as 350 CFL light bulbs
  6. IMPORTANTLY: wearing clothes more than once will greatly reduce your washday workload!

So – to save money, energy and work, dare to wear your clothes more than once between washes.  (Logical exceptions: socks and underwear)