My change today is to make sure that if I buy new clothes (which I’m not doing much these days – I’m mostly buying second hand) I wash them before wearing them because they may have a wrinkle resistant formaldehyde finish (according to Ecoholic). Yikes.
Someone asked me how they could make their holidays a bit more environmentally friendly today. If you google it there are lots of lists out there. Here’s what I came up with:
- no wrapping paper unless it’s reused (a friend has taken to keeping the funnies from her newspapers and wrapping all gifts in that) or is reusable (like gift bags)
- keep the paper mailings to a minimum
- buy used (I’m a big craigslist user)
- buy online (the trucks that ship your gifts are shipping a lot of other stuff at the same time so it’s more environmentally friendly than everyone driving their individual cars to the mall)
- buy local (for the feast, too)
- don’t use disposable dishware at parties
- make sure your live tree (fake trees consume energy and petroleum-based materials in their manufacture, but there is the argument that buying one will save you a trip to the tree lot every year in your car) is recycled or composted (not landfilled)
- if you put up lights, consider LEDs
- avoid buying excessively packaged gifts
- compost all those food scraps
- recycle whatever you can
As for me, my big change this year will be e-cards. Every year we mail a family photo to friends and family, this year it’ll only go out to those few who don’t have email (yes, there are still a few holdouts out there). Everyone else will get an e-card.
I’m trying to figure out how to keep my trips to the Loblaws (my nearest reasonably priced organic produce vendor) to a minimum. I’d like to be eating more organic fruits and veggies – not so much for myself, but for my sons (and for the lighter footprint on the land). So a hockey teammate of mine recommended an organic food delivery service. I decided to have a look and do some comparison shopping, and found several such services here in Toronto:
For the land: Sustainable farming methods that don’t damage the soil and retain the land’s biodiversity.
For the planet: Apparently it uses less energy per unit of yield.
For your body: No chemical pesticides means you don’t ingest them with your food.
The David Suzuki Foundation has an article on it here. Environmental Working Group has a list of the highest pesticide load to the lowest for those who don’t want to bother (or can’t afford to) with getting all organic fruits and veggies – they suggest just the top 12, or the "dirty dozen".