Posts Tagged ‘power strips’

A Greener Way to Start School

Summer’s end is fast approaching and school is about to start.  As you and your kids get ready, think greener this year. Here’s how.

For young kids:

I loved my trips to Staples with my kids to get new pencils and pens, fresh, clean notebooks, binders and folders for the first day of school, but buying everything new can be wasteful and expensive.  Instead….

  • Reuse last year’s unfinished notebooks. Just tear out (and recycle) the used papers and they are as good as new.   For new, buy notebooks with recycled paper or paper made from natural fibers like banana or coffee.
  • If last year’s binders aren’t in good shape, buy those made from postconsumer waste and water-based glue.  Fill them with recycled binder paper.
  • Reuse last year’s pencils and pens; if you need more, opt for pencils made from reforested wood or recycled newspapers. For young elementary age kids, get nontoxic, phthalate-free crayons.
  • Pack a healthy lunch in a reusable lunch bag;  buy bulk size wholesome snacks and put them in reusable containers rather than snack-size, throwaway plastic baggies. A piece of fruit is the most beneficial snack option.
  • Walk, carpool or take a bus to school to cut down on carbon emissions.
  • For after school sports, don’t forget your BPA-free, reusable water bottle.

For older students:

Follow the above tips and…..

  • Be ahead of the curve; try a solar-powered bamboo calculator.
  • Fun, eco-chic backpacks made from 100% recycled cotton canvas or other recycled materials and messenger bags made from recycled rice sacks with printed graphics are the new look.  They are a lot more environmentally friendly than the traditional polyester or nylon ones.

For college students:

Moving in and out of dorms creates a lot of waste.  The amount of cardboard and plastic packaging for the new bedding, bath and personal care products, school supplies, etc. is overwhelming and recycling bins are often not available.

  • Instead of always buying new, reuse some things from home and try not to bring so much stuff.  Dorm rooms are small and you can get away with less.  When you do buy new things, buy them at school and avoid shipping.  Target stores are everywhere and even sell organic towels and sheets! For futons and other furniture, graduating students often donate their old furniture or look on-line at craigslist.com or freecycle.com.
  • Use low energy certified microfridges, computers and tv’s.
  • Share appliances with friends – not everyone needs every appliance.
  • Use power strips instead of extension cords to save energy and keep air conditioning to a minimum.
  • Install CFL or LED light bulbs and turn off the lights when you leave the room.  Make sure to unplug your phone charger when not in use to eliminate vampire energy.
  • Skip disposable water bottles and get a reusable BPA-free water bottle instead.
  • For the late night munchies, eat organic fruits and snacks and compost the waste.
  • Choose green cleaning supplies like Seventh Generation for washing your dishes or cleaning your dorm room.
  • Decorate your dorm room with air purifying houseplants like spider plants that are easy to grow. 
  • Get involved with on campus environmental groups, or start your own.  Several colleges now have local raised bed gardens – volunteer to work in them.  Working with the soil is a great stress reducer and you’ll learn a lot.
  • Solo cups are “the” party cups, but they take hundreds of years to decompose and some recycling centers don’t take them.  Solo has a new product line of products that are made using recycled, recyclable or compostable materials called Bare® by Solo.  Set an example and go for those!  
  • Always use recycled paper and don’t forget to recycle used paper, bottles and those ubiquitous beer cans!

You are never too young or too old to start making a difference by living greener!

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

 

What Mass Save Can Do For You!

For my Massachusetts readers, I imagine many of you are familiar with Mass Save and their energy efficiency initiatives like the free energy audit program for your home or office.  For those of you who aren’t, Mass Save is a program you want to get to know! Mass Save is an initiative sponsored by Massachusetts’ gas and electric utilities and energy efficiency service providers to provide a wide range of services, incentives, trainings, and information promoting energy efficiency that help residents and businesses manage energy use.  In addition to the free energy audit of your home or office, they provide incentives, rebates, and information on products such as LED and CFL lightbulbs, room air cleaners, light fixtures, and advanced power strips.

One of their newer programs focuses on refrigerator recycling.  To encourage responsible recycling, they are offering a $50.00 rebate when you schedule a pick up of your second refrigerator or freezer. All you do is call or go on-line and make sure you meet the following requirements:

  •       Unit must be between 10 and 30 cubic feet using inside measurements.
  •       A second fridge and/or freezer – not your primary fridge or freezer.
  •       Clean, empty and in working order at the time of pick-up.
  •       Accessible with a clear path for removal by recycling contractor.

Like the EcoATM I wrote about a few weeks ago which pays you for recycling old cell phones, this incentive program is a smart way to keep appliances out of the landfill.  Sometimes a little financial perk gives us just the push we need to do the right thing.

Mass Save’s innovative programs are specific to Massachusetts, but most utility companies offer something similar. After all, they have the same objectives of saving energy, saving money and recycling.  To find programs in your area, check out these websites.

ENERGY STAR: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=recycle.pr_refrigerator_rec

ENERGY STAR – Rebate Finder: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=rebate.rebate_locator

DSIRE: http://www.dsireusa.org/

Interested in Saving Money, Saving Energy and Winning an Advanced Power Strip?  

Read on…….

Now that it’s back to school and more energy will be consumed with computers, printers, and other electronics in use, it’s a good idea to consider using an energy-saving power strip.  I will send out a brand new advanced power strip to two readers who send me their most creative energy efficiency tips.  What’s yours?