Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Computer Use

Welcome to Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)!

Wondering how to live greener? You've come to the right place. Each week we challenge ourselves to try a new task ... or "amp up" something we're already doing. We raise our awareness, learn from each other and develop Eco-friendly skills which will improve our lives and protect our planet. Doing so together gives us power ... the power to Change The World!

If this is your first visit, please click HERE for information and a complete list of all the challenges we've taken on so far.

This post contains great information and I encourage you to read through it at your leisure ... however, if you are short on time, you might find the following quick links helpful:

How did you do on last week's challenge? Achieving "Green Grasshopper" status seemed easy enough ... when we remembered to bring reusable bags to the market. Rising to the "Green Warrior" level proved tougher ... people wondered how to deal with trash bins. And "Green Ninja" ... well ... it remains an elusive goal for most (myself included). Plastic shows up everywhere, from small strips used to attach tags on clothing to "windows" on otherwise acceptable food packaging to major components in TVs, computers and even cars. So this challenge was, in part, about awareness ... which is always the first step to making a change.

The Honor Society are those people who help us spread the "green" word by writing an article about our challenges and/or leaving pertinent comments.

EcoGrrl's excellent comment pointed out the difficulties in eliminating plastic: "Fortunately they banned plastic bags at grocers in Portland last year - I just wish they'd ban them in regular retailers! Readers might not realize that deli/meat paper and all frozen food packaging are lined with plastic, then there's all the lids, even on many of the glass bottles. Yesterday the mailman left plastic bags in every single person's mailbox to collect canned foods - oy! As for me, I've never bought garbage can liners/bags - I only create about 1 1/2 bags a month of garbage so there's usually a paper bag (or like above, a plastic bag) around. I honestly don't think #3 is possible in today's society and impossible for this because we are all on computers which have plastic components, keys, etc. :) The main thing is to keep continually reducing your consumption, both of plastics and packaging. Since Asia is no longer accepting our non-curbside rigid plastic, we all have to focus hugely on decreasing this initial consumption even more!"

Ann says that she made a purchase from Target in Australia and that they use biodegradable bags. She plans to share more on the subject in a future post. You can find our CTWW banner in Our world, outdoor wed, save the world: Ibises, a nice article about a beautiful bird.

Lisa wrote The Danger of Plastic where she speaks about how she dealt with forgetting to bring her reusable bags to the store. Yay for helping hands! That post also includes great information on how to reuse the bags which sneak into a home ... hair treatment? Oh yeah! Lisa also wrote Happiness is________Leaving those Shoes at the Door ... check it out!

Argentum Vulgaris created a new level ... The Green Worm (oh no). In Change the World Wednesday – 15th May read about why markets double bag groceries and why he can't avoid them.

A Grasshopper aiming for Green Warrior status, Lady JC says "Avoiding plastic altogether is a biggie, considering grocery stores and even the more natural markets are still not fully setup to offer products in bulk. Years ago there was a little organic shop in my neighborhood that had big pumps of personal care products and you would just bring in your current containers and refill them. I'd love to see more of that. Even stores that have food bulk bins like my coop are finding difficulties offering easy alternatives to plastic bags for 'refills'. Ideally it would be nice for shops to have designated containers that are already weighed and deducted on their scales so then you wouldn't pay for the weight of the container when you refill. Does anyone have a shop like that in their area? Would love to hear ideas on that. As for my grasshopperishness, I always carry my own fabric totes and I've been using handy washable mesh bags when I purchase veggies and fruits. For food storage at home I only use glass containers and jars." CelloMom replied with this COMMENT and my thoughts can be found HERE. Any other thoughts or ideas?

What do you freeze food in ... zippered bags? Jen offers a post entitled Stop Freezing Your Food in Plastic which debunks some common myths and offers great tips. Did you know you can put glass containers in the freezer?

Alicia accepted the challenge. I found her comment interesting because it hints at the idea that making products at home, like liquid cleaners, eliminates the need for commercial packaging. Check it out: "Great challenge! I use reusable bags for groceries that I made from recycled materials. They work great and fold up for easy storage. We use our personal care products that we make and that are packaged in recycled plastic jars. It is very easy to make thin produce bags out of lightweight cotton muslin fabric. They fold easily and can be tucked inside your reusable bags. We don't buy processed food so that eliminates the plastic that usually comes along with them. We recycle almost all of our garbage and compost all of the " wet food garbage". I am embarrassed to say though that we still use trash bags on occasion but am happy to say that since we do so much recycling we don't have to use many of them. I have got to find a good alternative to them though. Really good challenge since there is so much that is packaged in plastic! I just did a post on making your own enzyme cleaner and by the way it works amazingly well!! It is a great way to use your scrap citrus peels and have an awesome chemical toxin free cleaner that has so many uses. You can even use it as a fruit and veggie wash."

Nicole joined us and says "I'm still hovering at grasshopper level with this challenge. I love my reusable grocery bags and have finally quit using plastic produce bags too...realized there is no reason whatsoever to put my veggies and fruits in a bag just to ride around the grocery store. I know they make reusable produce bags, but keeping them clean and bacteria free would be a hassle. Call me lazy! :) What are some alternatives to plastic trash can liners? If we used paper to line our garbage can, it would be a mess because people would put wet/liquids in it." Anyone have ideas for trash bin liners? Click HERE for my suggestions.

Let's imagine for a moment that we've mastered the bag issue. But then, guests enter our home and bring with them ... yep ... plastic bags! In Change the world Wednesday, plastic bags Lois discusses this problem and how she reuses the left-behind plastic.

Phuong Thao Ðoàn joined us ... so nice to see you, Jainie! She shares this: "I have been in level 1 for 3 years :). But it's not easy to find another way to carry some food. :P "

Tammy Curry included CTWW and one of your articles in this edition of Sustainable Education Initiative. Did you write the post?

Welcome to Miki Hope who says "For some strange unknown reason they have stopped using paper bags at grocery stores near me!! Guess I'll just have to buy 5 or 6 of the reusable ones!!"

Welcome to Phillip Stringer, owner of a brand new blog entitled College Go Green. His mission: "to share great ideas with eco-conscious college students looking to save money and save the planet". Brilliant! Phillip wrote Have a Plastic Bottle? Build a Green Project You Can Be Proud Of. Take a peek!

In 2011 Cat posted Fantastic without Plastic (bags) ... a terrific song with an important message.

CelloMom aspires to warrior level, but says "It's tough. I love Trader Joe's for its affordable "clean" foods, but they do love their plastic packaging.... I do find that getting less plastic in the house automatically reduces our overall garbage level. Beware of bioplastic: they are derived from plant oils, but are just as long-lived as petroleum plastics. And we found that "biodegradable" plastic doesn't always live up to its promise. My go-to resource for plastic-free living: by Beth Terry. Tips, resources, and inspiration!"

Welcome to Sara who says "Grasshopper level in Portland is easy when plastic bags are outlawed in grocery stores. Not using them for trash bins is tough though! Warrior level is my ambition!" By the way, check out Sara's blog which discusses flow meters ... interesting stuff!

Our Twitter friends joined the conversation and shared the following:

From @givetreegifts
- Yikes! We're not at level 3 which means zero plastics in the home. I would say we're level 2 & recycle
- Yes. Things like our air purifier, has a plastic casing and we wouldn't be without it.

From @counselorholley
- #1 - I always do. Reusable grocery bags in car! The rest I'll work on.

From @dusdifissette
- #CTWW 2 Go Putting cloth napkins & hankys in purse!
- Using a super cute reusable bag -it compacts in my purse. What's a good way 2 dispose of trash besides reusing plastic bags?

From @gwened02
- no Plastic at all that is a challenge. No bags is quite easy so I'll try for level 2!

From @rulesofgreen
- The Beauty of Picking up Plastic :: My Plastic-free Life… via @PlasticfreeBeth

The #CTWW Gang are those folks who tweet our challenges using the hashtag #CTWW. If you're a Twitter member, I recommend following them ... they share great things. Let's meet them:

@89linz @a_kiasi @allnaturalkatie
@ambervalleyinfo @anitaadamsnc @anktangle
@beatepdx @bestrawesome @biggreenpen
@blogomomma @bstoneblog @cereusart
@changes4charlie @clean_bytes @cleansediva
@clubcontent @cluelessbutdumb @commplacegr
@counselorholley @craigruark @crazedkitchen
@cupidzclozet @dominiquegoh @dusdifissette
@earthyurban @ecoexpert1 @events4bloggers
@ginavalley @givetreegifts @groovygreenlivi
@gwened02 @intricateknot1 @ithoughtiknewma
@jadekerrion @laalicia @lady_bren
@ladyjcmuses @lavishandlime @lorcadamon
@margaretteramse @marjoriemcatee @mcmillendc
@mehmkecharlotte @mom2tle @momgamerwriter
@mommyladyclub @mrsgreensworld @nolafusion
@oneadayart @phebeohyes @rckweddings
@realityarts @rulesofgreen @sewbeastly
@skipbang @sky_islands @squishablebaby
@startanewleaf @tammycurry @theworld4realz
@tiffanywashko @treehugga @treesgroup
@tristinandtyler @twicecreations @wencdj
@whopaysthepiper @whywelovegreen @zenfarmz

My Final Thoughts:

Do you ever feel as though plastic overwhelmed the world when we were looking the other way? It spread across the earth and seems to touch everything. While eliminating it appears impossible, at least for the present time, we can still make a difference by refusing it whenever we can. Consider this ... mass production of plastic began in the 1940s & 50s. That means that people lived without the stuff before then. That also means that we can live without it now. By using our power to choose, we can send a message that we don't want plastic or it's toxic properties polluting the earth. Say NO to plastic.

Thanks, everyone! If you wrote an article, I Stumbled, Tweeted, Facebooked and posted it on Google +. You can help spread the "green" word by using the share features located below this post.

This Week's Challenge:

I learned, today, that a popular photo-hosting site offers users one terabyte of storage space ... each. In another article, I read that Apple's new $1 billion dollar data center in North Carolina can't support it’s cloud division so they have their eye on 160-acres of Oregon land to build a facility. Amazon has data centers ... so does every web-hosting company. When we use our computers, we add to the already high energy drain generated by those facilities. Seems like a challenge to me! Here you go ...

Level 1 (The Green Novice) - This week, for at least one full day, disconnect from the Internet except as needed for work (this includes hand-held devices).

OR ...
Level 2 (The Advanced Greenie) - Disconnect from the Internet, except for work, for the entire week.

OR ...
Level 3 (The Green Expert) - Disconnect from the Internet for the entire week.

OR ...
Go Retro - Disconnect from the Internet and turn off computers and hand-held gadgets for the entire week.

Can you do this? I know that you can!

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Change The World Wednesday on Reduce Footprints

As always ...