The fun is over (sort of) and unfortunately, so is your resolve to recycle, reuse and replenish the earth. Styrofoam and plastic line the streets of this beautiful city and your livingroom is spilling over with one too many pizza boxes. Time to get it together.
New Orleans has numerous programs to get you back on the recycling bandwagon, but start with helping out your neighbors. Tulane currently has a contest going among other colleges and universities nationwide as part of Recyclemania 2011. Why not drop off the three big garbage sacks of old Budweiser cans and help them become the country’s most eco-friendly university?
Tulane has listed some great information to help New Orleaneans who aren’t so familiar with their options. Click here to read about Phoenix Recycling, which charges $15/month to recycle those pizza boxes. Serves Orleans Parish with residential curbside service for as well as a commercial recycling service. East Bank Jefferson Parish, most of West Bank Jefferson Parish, parts of St Tammany Parish and coming up, St Charles Parish, are or will soon be served.
Other ways you can get back in the ‘green,’ though are perhaps less obvious. Here’s a list:
- Turn off the computer and pick up a book or visit a friend. Yes, this may seem counterintuitive (this Examiner is writing to you on one), but with all the focus on reading everything online, we often forget we’re consuming energy. Besides, the more we use our computers the sooner they wear out and then we have to find a way to recycle them responsibly.
- Eat the whole carrot. Really. Use the peel for a soup broth. Just make sure everything’s clean, of course. Use this as a metaphor for other food items you are apt to toss out too quickly. Use two-day-old bread to feed the birds/ducks in your neighborhood. You’ll get some good exercise in the process.
- Use only a dime’s worth of shampoo. By “dime” I mean that amount. We overuse everything in America — from toilet paper to gasoline. Our obsession with uber-consumption must stop. If you’ve never visited France, you’re missing out on this lesson alone: portion size is small and guess what, so are waists. Think petite.
- Rethink the way you heat your home. Geothermal is the way to go. It’s hot in the winter and cold in the summer and you haven’t made even a hint of a dent in your carbon footprint. For more information on how geothermal energy works, click here.
- Bike or walk to work. Or better yet, work from home. There is still too much congestion from too many cars burning fossil fuels in and around New Orleans. This contradicts the spirit of this magical, forward-looking city. You have it in you to refuse to pay $4.00 a gallon for gas — not only because it’s outrageously expensive, but because you care deeply for the environment. Save the money and put it in your piggy bank. Maybe next year, you just might be able to afford that Prius.
- Plant a garden. If you don’t have room on your property or you can’t do it because you’re in an apartment, join a community garden/co-op. Not only will you live a greener life, you’ll feel better, look better and save money on doctor’s bills. Click here to read about Blair Grocery, and the help these kids in the Lower 9th got from some enterprising and not-afraid-to-muddy-their hands firefighters.
Have more green tips? Ideas you’d me to explore in this column? Write to me at [email protected]