Happy Earth Day!
We asked readers for their favorite ways to curb single-use plastics, recycle more, consume less and generally do their part to celebrate Earth Day every day.
Here are a few of their tips. If you want to share your best tips for going green, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we may use your ideas — with credit, of course — in an upcoming Saturday section:
Spread the inspiration
My family recycles everything — we take plastic, cardboard, glass, paper, etc. about once a week to our local recycling center. I am a teacher and I am happy to report that I have inspired our whole wing to recycle more plastic this year. We have a bin in my classroom. (One student’s family started sending their plastic bottles to school because it was more convenient.) We use an app in our neighborhood to communicate. Each time I visit our recycling center, I “check in” on social media and post to keep the awareness level consistent. Every little bit can make a huge difference.
Jesus T. Peña, Edinburg, Texas
For all the dog walkers:
Just take an extra bag every day you walk your dog and pick up trash and plastics on the path. I do my part of keeping my local parks and street a bit cleaner just by picking up every day. Just think if everyone did their part while out on a walk. The planet would be a much greener and healthier space for all of us!
Brigitte Aguilar, Laguna Niguel
Keeping it real
I reuse a Klean Kanteen water bottle, choose glass food containers instead of plastic, keep cloth bags in my car, and two that fold up into little balls in my bag so I can skip the grocery store bags and refuse to buy plastic wrapped produce.
April De Stefano, Santa Monica
Just save your money
For many years, we’ve done the following to curb purchasing (and save money): Buy secondhand when feasible from reputable thrift shops such as Council Thrift Shops. Donate reusable items instead of placing in trash. Check online for used items in good condition and sell yours if price warrants. Only buy new technology items such as phones, iPads, computers, etc. when [your old ones are] no longer useful for your needs — not just when the new model comes out. Ditto household items, ditto new automobiles. Shop at farmers markets and buy produce when in season and local when possible and plan meals around those items. Minimize meat in your diet, if possible. Finally: Be aware, committed but not fanatical.
--C. Jean Pearlstein, Valley Village
No lids needed
The following are very tiny changes, but I hope they make a difference. Years ago, I wondered why I was putting my fruits and veggies from the supermarket in those tear-off plastic bags from the market. When I got home, I would almost always toss the bags, which seemed so wasteful, especially since they were only used for 20 minutes or less. So I stopped using them (except small items that can roll away, like cherries and Brussels sprouts, etc.). I’m going to wash the produce regardless, so why bother? Also, when eating in at fast food restaurants, cup lids aren’t necessary. Same for straws.
--Deborah Shaka, Irvine
Bagging the bags
Instead of garbage bags, I use the big plastic bags that paper towels and toilet paper come in from Costco. They fit where a 13 gallon bag would. They don’t have the drawstring, but I (and everyone else, surely) have ties from bread, etc., to use to secure them once they’re full. I’m only sorry I only thought of it a few years ago (hate to think how many I threw away empty before that).
--Liz White, Los Angeles
Reuse, rinse, repeat
We wash out all plastic bags and avoid buying new ones.
Jessica Lamden, La Crescenta
Living with the K-Cup
My husband bought a K-Cup type of coffeemaker in spite of my objections to the waste it would create. So I now reuse the pods in the following ways: 1. I take the hot pod out and apply it over both eyelids. Be careful to let it cool down a bit, of course. (My ophthalmologist recommended hot compresses to help drain fluids around accumulation around the eyes). 2. I then empty the used coffee grounds into my green recycle bin or compost bin. 3. The plastic cup then gets recycled. Three uses, voila!
--Mary Lou Hamaker, San Clemente
A doggie do
As a pet owner, I’ve always been befuddled by the rolls of “poop” bags sold as if they are a necessity. We eat bread, we eat bagels, they come in plastic bags… on damp mornings our Los Angeles Times does too! When we empty one of the bags we just tuck it in a basket in the garage, then when we take our two Rottweilers for their daily walk, we make sure we have a couple of bags with us. We have never run out and the bags are little larger so it’s very easy to turn them inside out (glove-like) over your hand to make it very easy and clean to pick up large-dog size messes.
Jennifer Richards, Lomita
Bagging it up
My suggestions: 1. Instead of collecting recyclables in a one large liner bag and then putting that bag in the recycle bin, I empty the recyclables into the bin and reuse the liner bag. More items can be recycled this way, since large collection bags take up a lot of the recycling bin’s volume. I do that daily, using a plastic grocery tote bag — which can be rinsed — for collection. 2. Get familiar with recyclebycity.com so you know recycle procedures in your city or locale.
Victoria Shere, Marina del Rey