When New Years' Day 2006 rolled around, I made a simple resolution that I've actually managed to keep: to use fewer disposable cups. Although I'm not a coffee person I do have a daily diet soda habit, and it was starting to dawn on me that if I stacked all the cups I'd get at fast food restaurants (another sad fact of life, given my schedule) over a year, I might just be able to build a tower to the moon. Not cool.
So, I started the easy way--I just began re-using my cups. Soon, it became a habit, and since pretty much every fast food joint around here puts their large soft drinks in the same size 32 or 44 ounce cup these days, lids are almost always interchangeable. While it wasn't the reason I started this, I've discovered that many places will give a discounted price for refills; 7-11 stores, for example, will refill any size drink (up to 44oz) for $.99. So it saves me money, too.
That was the humble beginning of what's now becoming a personal challenge to reduce my resource consumption and, more recently, my carbon footprint. It could be that I've failed to pay attention, but the discussion of environmental issues really seems to have picked up in the last year or two, and it seems like everywhere you look there's a new tip for painless, everyday conservation. So I'm paying attention to little things: walking to errands whenever possible, replacing light bulbs with compact fluorescents, taking shorter (or, um... sharing) showers, and taking my name off junk mail lists. I'm also investigating bigger things like a new fridge (yay for rebates!), and we're on the waiting list for a Smart ForTwo which will replace an efficient-but-aging Toyota. For now, however, I'm just happy making progress in the the little things I do daily.
But before I get off the subject, I have to show off my latest enviro-weirdo accessory. Another resolution I made (this one for 2007) was to drink more water and less crap, which is something I especially have to pay attention to while playing. The predictable side effect to that resolution was an increase in our use of bottled water, since the tap water in my city still tastes kind of weird. That will eventually be solved by filtering at home, but in the meantime I've been buying water in bulk and re-filling my own bottles. My favorite, pictured here, came from Sport Chalet and has survived being dropped a number of times with no ill effect. I think it cost around seven bucks.
Now, go forth and be green!