Sunday, January 21, 2007

A pretty bargain

I got this shirt for $7 at Target, thanks to the bibliophile bringing it to my attention. I wore it today and got compliments from a customer at work and from the waiter at dinner, who said, "That's a nice tree!" I couldn't agree more.

Oh, yeah...

I realized today that I never got around to summarizing the last installment of the Slate Green Challenge. I've realized it about five times between when I took the quiz and today, and I've forgotten it all over again each time. With no further ado, here it is:

Week Eight:  Paper Tiger

Congratulations--you have taken the Week Eight Action Quiz. Your score is 617, which means you've promised to take the annual equivalent of 0.06 cars off the road.

>>Switching to 100 percent recycled paper for your home office can save about 75 pounds of CO2 per person per year.

>>Reducing your garbage by 25 percent saves about 500 pounds of CO2 per person per year.

>>Replacing your home fax machine with an Energy Star-rated one saves about 82 pounds of CO2 per person per year.

>>The manufacturing of paper, one of the six most energy-intensive American industries, accounts for about 35 million tons of CO2 each year.

>>Using virgin wood to make paper helps deforest the planet, a major factor in global CO2 counts.

>>The average American office worker throws out about 150 pounds of office paper per year.

Here are a bunch of ideas, recycling and otherwise, for trimming carbon pounds at work and at home:

>>Save paper--and CO2 emissions--by being selective about what you print out, making double-sided copies and using scrap paper to take notes or print drafts.

>>Use high recycled-content paper.

>>If an office building with 7,000 workers recycled all of its paper waste for a year, it could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 630 tons. Recycling used aluminum to make cans takes 95 percent less energy than making new aluminum from scratch. If your workplace doesn't recycle paper or cans, could you persuade it to start, or take your cans and scrap paper to the recycling bin at home?

>>Look for office products and packaging made from recycled materials and that are biodegradable or can be composted. (Find green office products that meet these and other criteria here.)

>>Unwanted junk mail wastes loads of precious paper. Click here and here to opt out.

>>Invest in energy-saving fax machines, copiers, scanners, and printers, which use about half as much electricity as standard equipment and also default to a low-power sleep mode. Lobby your employer to do the same.

>>Turn off your screen saver and let your computer sleep, or turn off the monitor completely. Moving-image screen savers consume as much electricity as a computer in active use. A blank screen saver is only slightly better.

>>When it's time to go home, shut your computer down. Don't believe the myth that it's more efficient to leave it on than to reboot the next day. Bonus: You'll extend the life of your machine.

>>From dead batteries to cell phones to copiers, recycle equipment whenever possible. Click here to find electronics and other recycling centers in your area.

>>Ask your workplace to stock break areas with real plates, silverware, and cups instead of paper and plastic. Or bring your own.

>>Many household cleaners are made from petrochemicals, and most come packaged in plastic. Making your own household cleaners from natural ingredients is easy (and they work, we promise). By reusing spray bottles, you'll save plastic, and, hence, more CO2 emissions.

>>If you have a place to do it, composting household waste is pretty simple, helps reduce your landfill contribution, and leaves you with nutrient-rich soil.

>>Yard waste (grass clippings and leaves) accounts for 12 percent of the junk that goes into landfills. Next time you mow the lawn, leave the clippings where they fall. They decompose quickly and return nutrients to the soil, which reduces the need for fertilizers and reduces landfill waste, which in turn reduces CO2 emissions. (Click here for more mowing tips.) You can also mulch leaves and then use them to bed down your garden for winter.

>>Use organic fertilizers, which are made from natural materials, instead of fossil-fuel-intensive synthetics for house plants, gardens, and lawns.

>>Forgo using a leaf blower this fall (and get a good workout from raking by hand)."

I pledged to use 100 percent recycled paper for home use (which we already do), to avoid printing out a document or e-mail whenever possible, and to attempt to reduce my garbage output by 25 percent by recycling more. I'm not sure if this is possible, since we already recycle everything we can, on down to the tiniest scraps of paper.

Also, I pledged to buy an Energy Star-rated computer if we need to replace our PC within the next year. Hopefully that won't happen, but I think our current computer is Energy Star-rated, anyway. If not, it's at least stickered as meeting "MPR II Low Emission Standards.

Then I took the wrap-up quiz:

"Congratulations--you have completed the Slate Green Challenge! Your score is 4157, which means you've promised to take the annual equivalent of 0.42 cars off the road.

You have reduced 36.43 percent of the carbon emissions you reported at the start of the challenge. And you've actually reduced 492 percent of the emissions you pledged to cut over the last eight weeks."

And guess what! "Fellow Treehugger, congratulations! You were one of the first 500 challengers to complete the Slate Green Challenge with Treehugger. Because of your hard work and diligence, you will receive a free organic cotton t-shirt from our sponsors at I'm Organic."

Yay! I won! I haven't received my shirt yet, but I figure it'll get here eventually. For the official postmortem from Slate, go here.

Well, damn.

The Colts pulled it off. I'm glad that the first football game I bothered to watch in years turned out to be a good one. Down to the wire, even. Now I have to contain my glee and not crow too much about my home-state team winning, because R (a Pats fan) just trudged down. Heh.


  1. Oddly, I watched a few minutes of this game myself. I wandered into the living room, and it was on. I asked if it was Super Bowl already, and was told no. I said I'd never seen football on in our house except for Super Bowl. My dad and brother both ignored me like watching football was something they did every Sunday. I think my brother is becoming at least a minor Colts fan. Actually, he better be, considering how much he paid for a ticket to one of their games back at New Year's, or whenever that was. Anyway, I sat down and watched until dinner. I was there for the Patriots' first touchdown; glad to see the Colts won anyway.

  2. Anonymous9:04 AM

    LOVE the shirt. Very you. Very cute.

    We were very excited to watch this game (or in my case wander by asking "what's going on now?" every few minutes) Evidently Josh has decided if Seattle can't make it this year we can root for our "other" home know...since when hell freezes over we get to move to Indiana. :)

  3. Evilducky7710:57 AM

    I wore blue on Sunday and everyone asked if it was because of the Colts. I was like "why do the baby horses care what color I have on???"