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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Fifty Shades of Green (Cont’d): More Ways, Big & Small, to Go Green

[Published 26, 2015, in the Jeffco editions of the Denver Post's YourHub section and in four Jefferson County weekly newspapers]

A couple weeks ago, I listed 17 ways to “go green.”  If you missed that column, you can read it below or at  As the title suggests, I owe my readers another 33 ways.  In the first installment I focused on home improvements, and, while there are more of those, we can’t overlook the benefit of daily lifestyle changes.  So here we go:

18) Reuse shopping bags.  Some cities have gone so far as to ban single-use shopping bags, or at least plastic bags. Since most of us drive to the supermarket, it’s so easy to keep canvas or cloth shopping bags in the trunk or back seat and take them into the store. If you choose not to do that, at least save your plastic shopping bags for recycling at the store.
19) Reuse trash bags. This one isn’t as obvious. We’re all used to tying these bags and putting them in our trash cans, but the trash companies actually prefer that we put loose trash in our trash cans. I’ve started dumping my trash bags into my trash cans, rinsing out the bag and reusing it several times.

20) Don’t be a puffer. Experts say that the best way to warm up a gasoline engine is to drive moderately.  Beside being illegal, it is not good for your engine to warm it up by idling.  Put on a jacket and go!
21) Break the single-use water bottle habit. We use a Brita pitcher to fill our water glasses. When going out, we use refillable water bottles. It’s great how the Golden Community Center and other places have installed water fountains that are designed for refilling water bottles. Rita and I are hooked on it!
22) Recycle those toner & ink cartridges. All the office supply stores pay $2 per cartridge to bring them back to the store. Now, that’s what I call a no-brainer!
23) Buy American, buy local! Transporting products from afar is a significant component of their carbon footprint. That’s why suggestion #12 was that you buy produce at farmer’s markets.  This suggestion applies even more to hard goods, such as countertops. Corian, quartz and concrete countertops are manufactured in the United States, including here in Denver.  Granite and other stones are shipped from distant countries.
24) Compost your food and organic waste, such as grass clippings.  The resulting compost is great for use in your garden or flower beds.
25) Try induction cooking. It saves lots of electricity, gas or propane, and is safer for children who can’t burn themselves on the heating elements. You can buy portable single-burner units or multi-burner cooktops. Google it to learn how it works.
26) Use reusable plastic food storage containers instead of single-use plastic bags.           
(To be continued)

Send me your own “green” ideas at  I welcome your help in writing the next 24!

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