Barriers to Being Green: Time

Earth911’s Quick Vote poll asked readers to complete this statement: “The one thing holding me back from being more green is…”

In the hustle and bustle of the day, staying green often loses its priority on our daily to-do lists. In fact, 13 percent of the 1,070 poll responders indicated that “time” was the one thing holding them back from becoming more green.

But being green doesn’t have to mean adding eco-tasks to an already full schedule. It’s possible to maintain a green lifestyle just by tweaking usual day-to-day activities, like grabbing a cup of coffee, shopping for groceries and doing household chores. In other words, don’t do more – do less.

Don't add another thing to your list - Keep going green simple!

Don't add another thing to your list - Keep going green simple!

Save your time – Reduce your waste

Reducing the amount of waste in your life is perhaps the most simple, time-saving green activity. Just making a few little tweaks in your usual daily errands and duties makes a big difference.

8 Ways to Reduce Waste While Saving Time

  • Use reusable containers for bagged lunches and leftovers. Nix paper towels, paper plates and plastic cups
  • Pay bills online to save paper
  • E-mail invitations and other correspondence instead of using snail mail
  • Before you leave home, bring along a reusable cup to the coffee shop. Some shops will even give you a discount
  • Request only the amount of napkins, plastic utensils and condiments you need when ordering food to go
  • Avoid wasteful product packaging by buying in bulk, or when possible, choosing items in packaged in recycled materials
  • When buying just a couple of things at a store, go without a bag after you pay for your items
  • Switch to longer lasting CFL light bulbs

Getting Organized

Its one thing to say things are quick, but how much time do you really have? 30 seconds? 20 minutes? This time-saving chart allows you to choose your perfect green tip for your allotted time commitment. Figure out how much time you have to spend, pick your location and choose your tasks!


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  1. I love how you broke this down by means of time, Becky! Brilliant! As a Campus Recycling Coordinator, I’m always getting questions about how we can motivate people to do the right thing. I always say to make it convenient for those on the fence and you know what? Time is a major factor in whether a task is convenient or not. I would love to share your excellent article with my campus via email if you’ll allow?

  2. I like the chart alot!

    I never thought to take a reusable cup to the coffee shop, I’ll have to try that. We’ve started doing that at church, and it’s funny how many people have seen us and started bringing theirs too. We’re going to have to start storing them soon!

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