Even more great green ideas from CL readers


"Natural birth: No drugs, no excessive amounts of attendants, and no more than 12 hours of recovery makes for reduced environmental impact and a healthy baby." -JR


"Only purchase a new jacket/purse/pair of jeans when your favorite is no longer functional. If it’s fit or style that you’ve outgrown, freecyle, or donate one out of your closet. If you must consume allow your consumerism to benefit others." -Lisa Montelione


"Eat less (or no) meat to lighten your carbon footprint." -Giuliani Lopez


HOME:


"Get creative (and industrious). Like the pair of pants but hate the stain on the knee? Turn them into shorts to extend their life! Getting ready to throw out that lamp because the switch broke? Look up lamp repairs online, DIY, and save! Before you throw in the towel on items that you just don't think are good anymore, try to consider alternate possibilities." -TS


"We needed a new entertainment center which would be stable and baby proof. We found a 5 piece set from Craigslist for $100 but it was definitely stuck in the 1980s/90s style, so we took off the smoked glass doors, sanded down it down (especially the edges), stained a it to a dark walnut color, and finished the job with some tung oil. Now we have a beautiful centerpiece in the living room that's safe for a crawling baby to be around!" -JR


"We began the gardening in our yard by adopting plants from my mom when she moved. We also started collecting seeds from the plants as they sprouted. Additionally, the Mexican petunia in the yard makes for easy sprouting – just trim and stick in the ground!" -JR


"We give our dogs the cooled water after steaming vegetables. It adds to their nutrition and not the drain! Then when the dog water is too dirty for the dogs, instead of pouring down the drain to refresh their bowl, we dump into the nearest plant container." -JR


"Line a new drainage/plant bed with newspaper. It slowly composts and in the meantime makes for a great weed barrier" -Jake Respondek


"Make the framing for the outside herb garden from reclaimed (untreated) lumber." -JR


"We purchased our home in the Meadowlawn district of St Pete. To our amazement, under all of the carpeting and laminate flooring were beautiful terrazzo floors. We had it refinished for a fraction of the cost for hard wood or tile and they are wonderfully cool in the hot Florida summers." -JR


"When cloth diapers are worn or too stained for diapering anymore, use them as rags or, since they are cotton, they can be tossed into the house compost pile." -JR


"In order to use as much of the existing drain system as possible, and to make turning on and off the filling of our rain barrel easier, my husband found a flex drain which fits right into the existing one and we and reconnect it when we want the gutters to reflow back to the ground. (Plus, it's cheaper than than all of the other mechanisms that are out on the market.)" -JR


"We fuel our chimnea with the yard trimmings" -JR


"Start a compost pile from leftover scrap foods which can be the used to fertilize your garden soil. Our pile has produced tomatoes and papaya plants which we have grown to bear fruit." -JR


"Replace lights with compact fluorescent bulbs to save money and energy. If every American home replaced just one light with an Energy Star CFL, we could save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year, about $700 million in annual energy costs, and prevent 9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year, equivalent to the emissions of about 800,000 cars." -Kristen Merlino


"About 40 percent of unwanted heat comes in through windows. Keeping windows, drapes, and shades closed during the day helps keep unwanted heat out of your home." -KM


"The first thing we did when we moved into our house in St. Pete was rip up the sod, put down weed cloth, poke holes for native plants, grasses, palms, groundcover, etc. and then mulched. We eliminated need for the irrigation system that existed, not needing a mower with its loud noise polluting, carbon dioxide spewing motor and we created a quiet habitat that drew birds from around the neighborhood, squirrels, lizards, etc., so we always had a nature show from inside our living room and a lower water bill. Plus, we had zero maintenance and, a few times a year, we'd just pull the few stray weeds that popped up along the sidewalk edges." -Kim Del Rance


"We had a 10,000 gallon swimming pool with the low-chlorine system. By keeping it clean and balanced after rains and during droughts we only had to add a few inches of water a few times in over 3 years, so our water bill was lower than some of our neighbors'." -KDR


"Unplug appliances you're not using.-GL


"Buy only energy efficient appliances." -GL


CITY/COUNTY/STATE:


"Retrofit some existing suburban sprawl to create places worth caring about. Unneeded, inferior or excessive sprawl should be re-greened back into green space, citrus groves, agriculture, etc. (Pasco County, I’m thinking of you.) With all of Florida’s sprawl, this strategy could spawn a new Florida green industry." -Grant Rimbey


"Use reclaimed water for all regional irrigation; minimize the water taken from rivers, springs and the aquifer. In Hillsborough, reclaimed water is currently available to only a select few in South Tampa, many of whom aren’t even hooked up, and hookup should be mandatory. Meanwhile, Tampa dumps 50 to 60 million gallons of treated water a day into Hillsborough Bay which is wreaking havoc on the bay ecology. There’s a better use for this water, but it will take vision and political will. Once we start using the reclaimed water for irrigation, maybe then we can start considering using it for drinking water." -GR


"Plant more trees. This should be a priority for all regional communities, encouraging them to become a “Tree City USA.” The City of Temple Terrace’s partnership with Will Moriaty of the Tampa Bay Reforestation and Environmental Effort (TREE) has been working toward this goal. The planting of native Florida trees beautifies, provides habitat and resources for native fauna, offsets carbon footprint and creates a carbon sink, cools the micro-climate and preserves the historic landscape of Old Florida." -GR


"Realize the importance of our regional and local history and historic architecture, and market it as a collective, regional asset. There are currently many separate, local histories, but not much ties them all together and markets them as a whole." -GR


"Realize that growing smart and sustainably means that “not building” is often as important as “building.” While the wildly popular Hillsborough County Environmental Land Acquisition and Protection Program (ELAPP) has done a pretty good job of protecting sensitive natural areas, not much thought has apparently been given to preserving agricultural lands. Organizations in other regions that do this are the Oregon Sustainable Agriculture Land Trust (OSALT) and the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT). This is a wiser approach to long-term management of agricultural lands than our typical Hillsborough County model: farmers selling their land to fund their retirements, the former farmland being converted into inexpensive unplanned sprawl. Reasons to create an agricultural land trust would include preservation of green and open space, food security, and protection of traditional agricultural sustainable ways of life. Perhaps even our Hillsborough County Commission could get behind such a common-sense idea?" -GR


"Emphasize good planning and architecture — just like we did 80 years ago. The 1920s in the United States are considered the golden age of town planning. Florida was fortunate to have many of its cities and communities planned during this period. These “good bones” create an incredible sense of place and have inherent green and sustainable attributes that make them excellent planning models for the future of our region." -GR


"Put recycling bins throughout downtown areas such as Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and Tampa." -Joshua Hawkins


"Non-flush toilets would save water costs and conserve water. We could place these in public parks, offices, etc." -JH


"Create more green awareness campaigns in cities." -JH


"Rain collection incentives: We can get a rain barrel, but why do most of the new buildings still have no rain collection. We could save the money we are spending in drainage improvements to fund rainwater collection and transport." -Charles Haynie


TRANSPORTATION:


"Educate the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), traffic engineers, city planners and architects on the creation of sustainable communities. A single-minded increase in car and truck traffic flow must not come at the expense of human quality of life, livable communities and green space." -GR


"Make Central Florida multi-modal, providing multiple options for getting around, not just fossil-fueled behemoths. This direction has the added benefit of getting Florida drivers from behind the wheel, which is probably not a bad thing. The City of Temple Terrace recently became one of the first cities in the Southeast to enact a Citywide Multi-modal Transportation District. Will the region follow?" -GR


"Make the Tampa Bay area more walkable and bikable." -Linda Taylor


"Stop idling cars: in drive-thrus, while waiting for someone, while packing things in your vehicle." -LT


"Walk, bike or carpool, save fossil fuel" -Lisa Montelione


"Stop driving: Walk or bike more instead." -GL


RECYCLE/REDUCE/REUSE/UPCYCLE:


"Reduce using plastic bottled water - there are more options for purifying what comes out of the faucet." -LT


"Everyone brings their own bag whenever they shop - not just to the grocery store." -LT


"When taking home food from food establishments, stop using Styrofoam containers." -LT



"Well we all know to reuse gift bags, but what about the crumpled up tissue paper? I take the paper and cut and tie into gift bows. The paper I used was wedding wrap, which was saved from my wedding, and turned it inside out for a child’s birthday." -JR


"Turn scrap printer paper into a scribble pad: cut the 8.5x11 sheets into four (cutting once across and once down). Then, store on top of your desk for scrap notes and reminders before recycling. I use a desk memento as a paper weight for functionality and decoration." -JR


"My son is now the fourth generation of using his great-grandfather’s rocking/smoking Chair. We just used some material to give it a fresh new look and to match his sea life bedroom motif." -JR


"When we purchased our home, the back yard displayed a broken in half cement pillar. With some Gorilla Glue, it is now standing up-right and holds a bath for the birds. My husband made the “bowl” out of some quick-dry cement on hand, laying it in the ground with leaves to give it a unique look and to not waste a mold on one use." -JR


"We had bamboo we collected from the city drop-off combined with some koa wood (fallen branches of course) and made into our wedding rings." -JR


"Our son’s infant and 1st year car seats are hand me downs from friends. Trusted sources so you know they have not been in an accident, personal instruction on use, and no cost!" -JR


"Baby food jars make nice containers for items like screws/bolts or categorizing seeds." -JR


"Everyone goes through baby things quickly. I heard from a friend that an employee was in need. Three of use got the baby items we didn't use anymore and set the to-be mom up! It's a great way to do personal charity." -JR


"If you forget your reusable bags at home, ask for brown paper bags at the grocery store. Then they can easily be propped open next to the trash can for collection of recycled paper goods. Just roll up the top and they are ready for the bin or drop-off site with no mess!" -JR


"My mother-in-law made me a purse out of my husband’s great grandmother’s flour sack material. Does dual duty when you need to run to the store for an item or two as I do not need to even remember my cloth bag – it is on my shoulder!" -JR


"Purchase refillable products, consume less packaging (packaging = the bane of human consumerism). It only gets trashed or at best recycled." -LM


"Take out food junkies, you know who you are! And you, the one who always orders too much at restaurants: those to-go boxes can be recycled by depositing them in the foam bin at your local supermarket." -LM


"Join a Freecycle network – there are groups for your specific location, once a member you can post items you no longer use of post a “wanted” for something you need. Easy on the wallet and the planet." -LM


"Ban all styrofoam! With so many packaging and storage options, like corn plastics and bagasse, more responsible purchasing options would make our environment cleaner." -Mariana Loboguernero


"Bike racks! Let some local designers come up with some unique bike rack designs and you can even get companies to pay to put their names on them. Check out the David Byrne bike racks if you want some ideas." -CH


"Community recycling centers: Let's set up a drop off for paint, wood, and useful materials and then use labor from the unemployed to recycle them into viable products." -CH

We received so many great green ideas for this year's Green Issue that we couldn't fit them all in the issue, choosing 40 in honor of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day next week.

But as promised, here are the rest of the helpful and enlightening tips for greening your life and surroundings, courtesy of our Green Community readers.

"Invest some energy into your groceries! Instead of buying pre-washed/packaged/etc. fruits, vegetables and snacks, we buy the bigger (and cheaper) alternatives (i.e.: a full head of broccoli as opposed to washed and cut pieces). Then, when we get home, we wash, cut and prepare our own smaller portions into reusable containers. It saves us money and helps the environment!" -Tiffany Sanders

"Know when a convenience is excessive. Some convenience items are life-savers to me, but others are just too much (no one needs to use disposable plates with every meal just to keep from having to wash dishes!). Be aware of habits you might have that extend beyond convenience into the realm of absurdity." -TS

"For our baby shower, one of the games was an environmental Q&A. But also, our guests knowing us, two gifts came in baskets – not wrapping paper. One is now our son’s Easter basket and the other a toy bin. We also asked for used/consigned clothes and books since they grow out of them so fast!" -Jessica Respondek

"Consignment shops are excellent places to find toys, walkers, etc. for your kids at reasonable prices – especially since they usually outgrow them in less than a year." -JR

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