This story is part of Earth911’s “Green Eight” series in which we showcase eight ways to green your life in various areas.
Life doesn’t stop and neither do we. There’s always work, school, traveling, errands, sports practices etc. that keep us on the go. You might think there’s little time to be green, but that’s not the case. There are plenty of ways to fit eco-conscious acts into our busy schedules. Here are some tips for being green while on the go.
1. Get it on Your Phone
Earth911’s new mobile app, iRecycle®, makes it easy to find recycling locations anywhere in the U.S. Find places to drop-off your old cell phone (or water bottle or motor oil or… well, you get the idea), get directions and find out what else they accept. Here’s a quick summary of its features:
- Access to over 100,000 recycling and disposal locations for over 200 materials
- Get directions to the nearest site from your current location
- Auto-complete saves time typing so you can spend more on finding a location convenient to you
- Check your search history to replay old search results
- Find additional information for each location like hours of operation, other materials accepted (hey, maybe you can recycle all those plastic bags from under your kitchen sink), their Web site, etc.
- Call locations directly from search results
2. Create a Mobile Recycling Center
With all the time that is spent in the car commuting to/from work, shuttling kids around, or dashing from one thing to another, the car has become a surrogate dining room for many of us. With the hustle and bustle of daily life, it is highly unlikely that you have time to prepare snacks and store them in reusable containers for your drive.
So this usually leaves two options: the drive thru or a quick stop somewhere to snag something portable. And when you’re done, where does all that packaging go?
Save recyclables from the trash by turning car organizers like High Road’s Deluxe Trash Stand into a mobile recycling station. At a minimum, toss in your plastic water or soda bottles, paper bags and cardboard boxes minus the oil and grease.
Don’t worry about this system making a mess of your car. It has a leak-proof interior with a weighted bottom and grip strips to keep it from sliding around the floor. When you get home, transfer these items to your recycling bin(s).
3. Don’t Leave Your Mug or Cup at Home
Before you head out to get a cup of joe in the morning, grab your commuter mug or cup and use that instead of Styrofoam or paper cups from coffee shops or convenience stores. During fiscal year 2008, U.S. and Canadian Starbucks customers saved roughly one million pounds of paper by bringing in their own beverage containers.
In addition, Starbucks and other coffee shops give a 10-cent discount (U.S. and Canada only) every time you use your own. Peets Coffee does the same, and if you reuse one of its coffee bags they give you 25 cents off the purchase price.
If fountain drinks from convenience stores are more your style, don’t pick up a new plastic cup every time. Extend the life of the cup by bringing it back for countless refills. When you refill the cup, you receive a discount too. Bonus points: When you’ve exhausted the life of the cup, don’t toss it in the trash. Chances are the plastic is recyclable.
4. Pack a Little Green in Your Beach Tote
Water. Sun. Sand. How much more natural can the beach get? Remember to include these items in your tote:
- Recycled nylon swimsuits: Eco Panda created one and two-piece suits in various prints from recycled nylon and Xtra Life lycra. The company states, “…each piece of swimwear will retain its shape and fit longer than other suits that are used in chlorinated waters. This results in the average suit lasting twice as long as swimwear made with other chlorine resistant spandex and ten times longer than swimwear made with regular spandex, which means that less swimwear will be disposed of. Recycled nylon uses 27 percent less natural petroleum resources and emits 28 percent less greenhouse gases.”
- Solar Charger: Don’t miss out on phone calls or capturing memories just because your battery died. Keep your phone, iPod and digital camera charged via the sun with the 021 Super Solar Charger by Solar Style. It doesn’t even have to be sunny to charge. The panels collect any available light.
5. Get an Eco-Friendly Car Wash at Work
Washing the car can be an unpleasant and time consuming task. Luckily, there’s an increasing number of car wash services that will come to your home or business and wash your car for you. Eccosave is one such company, and the products used for this waterless car wash are 100 percent biodegradable and non-toxic. By not using water, approximately 75-100 gallons of water are saved per wash. So be a “multi-tasker” and have the car cleaned in an eco-responsible way while you’re getting other things done.
6. Green Up Your First Aid Kit
A first-aid kit is one of those things you rarely use but keep in your trunk or glove box for those just-in-case moments. There’s no reason why it too can’t be greened up a bit. All Terrain carries an array of eco-friendly first-aid products such as latex-free bandages with water-based adhesives and biodegradable anti-bacterial wipes made from wood pulp
Let Mother Nature lend a helping hand with a few of her own natural remedies:
- Lavender essential oil: a few drops can relieve inflammation or pain from burns and other wounds
- Witch Hazel: stops bleeding of minor cut
- Tea Tree oil: antiseptic
- Arnica: treats sore muscles, bruising, sprains, inflammation from insect bites, etc.
7. Book a Green Hotel during Vacation
If you’re planning a vacation that doesn’t involve camping or staying with friends or relatives, then check into a green hotel. San Francisco’s Orchard Garden Hotel is California’s first LEED certified hotel. In addition to green construction features such as daylit spaces, recycled materials and low emitting products, the hotel has set up an additional green feature relating to the entry key card for guest rooms.
Placing the key card in a box near the door turns on all lighting and mechanical systems. Removing the key turns off all systems except for one outlet that may be useful for charging a laptop, cell phone or other device while you are out. There’s even recycling bins within the room for on-the-go recycling.
8. Keep Clean and Green while Camping
The advent of warm weather brings people outdoors, and for those who want to “rough it” in nature, there are plenty of opportunities to be green without sacrificing some of the hygienic comforts of daily living.
Keep hands clean with biodegradable wipes from Simply Neutral, which are biodegradable and 100 percent natural with no bleaching agents or chemicals.
With this contraption you won’t need to bathe in streams or lakes anymore. Take a warm shower under a tree with the Solar Pocket Shower by Sea to Summit. Just fill up the 2.6 gallon pouch with water, let the sun heat it and enjoy a seven-minute shower in the wild. When you’re done, it folds up into a 3” x 6” pouch that weighs just over 4 ounces.
Don’t let being on the go be an excuse for not reducing, reusing, or recycling. No matter what you’re doing or where you’re going there’s always a way to be green.