by Maggie Zeibak
Let’s face it; we’ve all got an agenda. Admittedly, some people are passionate and want to share their opinions loudly, while others quietly put their beliefs into practice. Those differences aside, taking the time to become more aware of the impact we have on the environment, we can all slowly, but surely, make inroads into becoming a more eco-friendly community. By searching for new ways to help preserve our planet, we can feel better about leaving Mother Earth for future generations to enjoy. Let’s consider a few ideas, some old; some new – and ones we don’t have to feel self-conscious about.
Think twice before jumping into the car; perhaps you can shop on the Internet or, here’s a new idea – walk to the store if you can. Get rid of surplus belongings at a garage sale or donate to the thrift shops in town and while you’re there, don’t forget to buy something. Encourage the kids to recycle the soda cans and become involved in environmentally sound school projects.
One of the biggest challenges facing us is how to dispose of our old electronic gear. We frequently replace our TV’s. cell phones, computers and iPods, items that should be taken to the Hazardous Household Waste (motor oil, batteries, nail polish, and paint) station at the landfill. To make things easier, you can now drop these items off at City Hall, 100 Avenida Presidio. They’ll also take your used ink cartridges, but if you take them to Staples, you’ll receive a $3 certificate to use in their store.
Don’t you dare throw out any books or magazines before thinking of Friends of the Library – they can use them to raise funds. There are numerous books for sale there, and don’t forget the Buck-a-Bag Sale on Fridays, when you can stash as many books that will fit into one bag for a dollar.
Return wire hangars to your dry cleaners and see if your postal needs shops will take those pesky Styrofoam pellets to re-use. Gather up eyeglasses for the Lions Recycle for Sight (www.lionsclub.org
), they will distribute to the needy in developing countries. More than 37 million have been collected and the donations continue to grow.
One of the most innovative methods of recycling is right there on the computer via www.Freecycle.org
for people who would rather recycle than throw an item away. People interested in keeping good stuff out of landfills should consider posting the free item on the net, then the person who wants it can come pick it up. Nearby Camp Pendleton has a chapter of this organization.
An innovative way of fundraising comes from the Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation (www.makingmemories.org
) where Brides Against Breast Cancer can donate their wedding gowns, bridesmaid dresses, purses, veils, slips, shoes and flower girl’s dresses. These items are resold to raise the funds, and they are put to better use than languishing in your attic.
Got some hiking boots or waterproof rain gear that you aren’t going to use again? Passages Northwest (www.passagesnw.org
) would appreciate them in their program to help motivate young girls to discover their strengths through team building exercises.
Travelers can have a huge impact on the environment. Download Budget Travel’s (www.BudgetTravelOnline.com
) “Please do not replace the towels or sheets today” card to save changing the linens daily. It is printed in English and Spanish.
To avoid harmful chemicals from reaching our oceans, we can make our own cleaning supplies. For example, for furniture polish try 1 pint of mineral oil with a few drops of lemon juice. A good all-purpose cleaner can be made from 1 quart of water, 1 tsp. liquid soap and 1 tsp. Borax (or, 2 tsp. Borax, 4 tbsp. white vinegar and 4 cups of warm water), and you’re all set to clean countertops, floors and upholstery. You can also use Borax to scrub the toilet bowl with excellent results.
Fabric softeners leave a chemical residue on your clothes, so just add ? cup of distilled white vinegar to the wash cycle. It softens your clothing and gets rid of static cling.
Feeling guilty over how much you waste? Is your conscience bothering you and nagging you to do better? Never mind, you probably can’t live a completely eco-balanced life, but you can certainly contribute in more ways than one, by making a change to the color-scheme green. b