Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Big Green Apple

In late April, reader Amy and I took a bite out of the Big Apple and kicked off a Saturday in the City by spending about an hour at the first ever Green Expo in New York City. Overall, I felt like the conference was not speaking to the right audience – there were eco-friendly cars and things for the home, but most of the attendees appeared to be from New York City. When you are living in apartments and large complexes, it is really hard to convince your management that you need to install new floors and power your one bedroom with wind energy.

However, I was enlightened by a few things.

Plastic Bags are SO 2006: According to Green Guide – a publication handed out at the Expo – 100 billion plastic bags are used in the U.S. each year, consuming 12 million barrels of oil. Most of these bags then turn into waste. I saw this first hand when I was in Pittsburgh earlier this month. So many bags are on the sides’ of roads from people littering.

I truly believe that more people, especially those who live in urban areas, are really going to make an effort to say no to plastic. Cute shopping totes are here to stay (the ones above are from Envirosax - http://www.envirosax.com/ I have a super cute black and white one that a vendor sent me as a present!)

Double Dose: Green Guide devotes a section of its magazine for ways that you can use a product twice. For instance, if you eat yogurt (it should be Rachel’s!), out of those little plastic cups, save the cups to for art activities. They make great water cups for painting or holding loose crayons. Another cute idea is to use empty Kleenex boxes as plastic bag dispensers. I know that is somewhat hypocritical to what I say above, but let’s face it, there are times you are going to stop at CVS for some goods and only be carrying a clutch. The least you can do it reuse the bag. This concept totally reminds me of a Grey’s Anatomy episode where Meredith’s sister steals all the items from the hospital and multi-purposes them in her apartment.

Paper Towels Aren’t Evil: In most of the women’s pubs, paper towels are getting a bad rap for being truly wasteful, but I find that using a sponge over and over is gross. Whole Foods sells a line of paper towels called 365. These towels are made from 80 percent post-consumer-waste content. There is also another brand called 7th Generation (left). This is a great, earth-friendly way to still use products that you can’t live without.

As we spent the day city-hoppin’, Amy and I contemplated if this Green trend is here to stay. While I am not totally convinced, I think that it is not going to be a fad for just one year, but I think it’s going to sustain through this decade.

(Sources: Green Guide, Green Expo, envirosax.com, wholefoods.com)

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