Looking for a list of environmental action items, ideas and suggestions you can take to improve your daily life and the overall health of Mother Earth? If the stages of taking care of our environment were like the stages of a butterfly, consider where you are – and strive to soar!

Caterpillar

You’re a beginner, and you know you consume more than your share of carbon, but you want to get started.

Recycling

• Wash out those tin and glass contains and recycle.

• Go to your local waste disposal service and find out what can be recycled in your weekly garbage.

Save Paper & Plastic

• Buy products made from recycled goods. Help make recycling a full circle.

• Access your bills on-line or sign up to have them emailed to you. Less paper is less to shred.

• Bring a cloth bag into the grocery store and if you forget, be sure to return the plastic bags to the grocery store for recycling.

Chrysalis

You’ve mastered the basics and are looking to walk soft and strive for zero carbon imprints.

Food Scrap Recycling

Food scraps and food soiled paper are the largest single item in our waste stream. By participating in the food scrap recycling programs, or by composting on your own, your food scraps becomes a valuable resource to help keep the earth green.

• Many counties provide trash bins for items that will be used specifically for composting. Also, see if your local county subsidizes home composting. For example, Alameda County has a subsidized program where residents can purchase a discounted composting unit.

Litter

Trash washes through drains into our bay and ocean. Help keep litter out of the water. As you walk across that parking lot, pick up a piece of trash as it blows across your path, or commit to spending Earth Day collecting trash at a community sponsored event.

Save Paper

Ancient and other endangered forests are being destroyed to make toilet paper, facial tissues, paper towels and other disposable paper products. But you can help halt this destruction by pressuring the tissue products industry to change its practices and by making smart shopping decisions.

• Check out The Natural Resources Defense Council’s list of tissue paper products to buy—and a few to avoid.

• Opt Out – One way to both help the earth and protect yourself from Identity theft is to Opt Out of being prescreened (i.e., credit/mortgage companies run a soft check on your credit and then send you credit offers. If you opt out, this will reduce the number of unsolicited offers that get sent to you.). You can opt out by calling 1-888-5-OPTOUT or by visiting www.optoutprescreen.com. See the FTC website for more background on Opting Out.

Avoiding Styrofoam

Once it’s here, it doesn’t just go away. You can help reduce landfill by avoiding styrofoam where possible and by repurposing it when you can’t.

• Recycle It – Yes, yes, it’s evil, but sometimes you get stuck with it in a package, or heck, you went to the drive through at K.F.C. and now you want to dispose of it responsibly. Most county garbage websites have links to where you can go to recycle your stryofoam. For example, here’s the Alameda County page on local places to recycle styrofoam #6.

Butterfly

You’re moving into not only zero carbon footprint, but giving back.

Litter

Imagine the bay and ocean. Now imagine helping to keep litter out of the water. Consider working 30 minutes a week cleaning up litter that will otherwise be washed into storm drains and into the bay and ocean.

Avoiding Styrofoam

Styrofoam, like a diamond, is forever.

• Keep one or two small food containers in your car and use them as “doggy bags” when you eat out. By doing this you’ll avoid wasting the Styrofoam box provided by many restaurants.

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