WRSE Offers Solutions to Some Green Dilemmas

Want to do the “green thing” but can’t always figure out how? Read on.

Green dilemma:

You want to stop using plastic bags; you know they sit in our landfills for zillions of years and use petroleum to produce, thereby increasing our dependence on foreign oil. But: you have a dog. How do you clean up after your pup without using plastic bags and contributing to the problem?

Green solution:

Now you can order 100 percent biodegradable “poop bags”—with free delivery! An annual-order supply costs about $5 a month for the smaller size and about $7 a month if you have a large dog (and need the larger bags). Order these bags and assuage your conscience; you will never have to toss another plastic bag into the trash because you are doing the right thing by cleaning up after your dog. Go to poopbags.com; it’s easy, and it’s the green thing to do! In addition, Roche Bros. sells boxes of 50 large biodegradable bags that are similar but made by a different company for $5.99 a box, and biodegradable bags of yet another brand are also available at the Continental, 35 bags for $4.99.

Green dilemma:

You know that the best way to save energy (and money) is to unplug all your electronics when they aren’t being used because they continue to pull electricity even when they are turned off, especially your computer and your television (which often have multiple “peripherals” such as video-game consoles and scanners/printers attached that also use energy 24 hours a day if left plugged in). But: what a pain! At the very least you have to get down on your hands and knees each time to reach the plug; at the best, you have to remember to flip the switch on the power strip everything is plugged into. And then the problem is that everything on the strip is turned off, and maybe you need just your desk lamp, which is also hooked into the strip. Isn’t there an easier way?

Green solution:

Yes, now there is. You can purchase a so-called “smart strip,” which ingeniously automatically turns off all your peripherals when you turn off your computer or television but allows you to have certain “hot” attachments (like your lamp, which doesn’t use electricity even when it is turned off) that can still be turned on when the other items are switched off. You don’t have to remember to do anything! When you turn off your TV or computer, the smart strip makes sure they are really off and also turns off any VCR, printer, etc. that is connected to them. Your work is done. You can purchase smart strips an increasing number of places, but amazon.com offers them in several sizes and for the lowest prices we’ve seen.

Green dilemma:

You know that it is bad for the environment to buy bottled waters, but it is so convenient: the bottles don’t leak, so they are easy to throw into any bag or the back of the car, and they are great if you have kids who are always running off to another sports event or you just want something easy to carry along on your daily walk. You just grab the bottles and go!

Green solution:

You can still buy the bottled waters, just buy significantly fewer of them and reuse each bottle a half a dozen times or so (just until the water stops tasting clean after it’s refilled). They are easy to refill with tap water, and you can write the initial of the person who is using each bottle with a magic marker on the plastic top or the side of the bottle for identification if you have multiple users or children. It is better to drink tap water anyway, and you still get the convenience of the tightly sealed bottles—only now they are reusable! This works great for a handful of reuses, and then you can feel good about recycling the bottle and going on to a fresh one.

Green dilemma:

We now have those fantastic HUGE single-stream recycling bins in West Roxbury, and it is so much easier not to have to separate items and not to have everything spilling out of those old small recycling containers. But at least you could keep the old containers in the basement or on the back deck and easily throw in items to be recycled. Now you have to keep the larger container outside, in the driveway or some other place that makes it easy to wheel it to the curb. So it is more work to fill it up in a lot of ways; every time you have a can or piece of mail or a newspaper to recycle you can’t be running out to the driveway.

Green solution:

Keep recycling containers on each floor of your house and one in the kitchen in convenient places. For example, you can keep a small plastic trash can next to your desk that is designated for recyclable materials the way you keep trash cans and waste baskets in most rooms. Keep a small (shoebox size) box or container near where you usually open the mail so you can easily toss magazines and junk mail right into it each day. Then, the same way you empty the trash cans and waste baskets that are around your home regularly into the outside trash bins, you can empty your various recycling bins into the large recycling container supplied by the city. It is just a matter of getting into the routine.

WRSE will continue adding new dilemmas/solutions to this page as we come upon them. Please share your green dilemmas and solutions with us!

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