Top Ten

Overhead Light Fixture with Many Bulbs

Today, I offer you….a more DIY sort of Top Ten list for eco-friendlier living.

I know. I should’ve warned you to sit down or brace yourself. Because I’ve pontificated long and often about my disdain for “Top Ten to Save Earth” sorts of lists, you may well be concerned about my mental health. Then again, if you’ve read anything I’ve ever written…you’re already concerned. Let’s move on.

In the past, I’ve trashed those lists that are full of head-scratching “go buy something to fix something” suggestions—as if those purchases have no environmental consequences whatsoever. Suggestions like “replace your incandescent bulbs with new LEDs”  fail to consider all the trash generated by all of us tossing our old bulbs. Nor do they account for what goes into SOURCING all that aluminum gallium arsenide, indium gallium nitride and who-knows-what-else-is-needed to make LED bulbs. Nope, the listmakers appear to assume that those light bulbs just magically appear on the shelf! Do Santa’s elves that make them?**

So you would rightly be astonished to see me cite a Top 10 list here. Then again, you might be also surprised to learn that sloths can hold their breath up to 40 minutes. I sure was. It’s a surprising world out there. “If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it,” said….who?

But I digress. Again. The results of my recent survey (thank you to all who replied) indicated that ya’ll are interested in more specific advice in ways to reduce and reuse….because recycling may or not be actually happening. I hear you. Just because there are no easy, perfect solutions doesn’t mean we should all just curl up into a ball and rock. Well, I have days like that but I aim to experience fewer of them. So I’ve accepted your challenge and will dig deeper into ideas for living in a more eco-friendly way.

I recently discovered “Ten Easy Zero Waste Hacks” by @TreadingMyOwnPath on Instagram which caught my attention because it offers more DIY solutions than “go buy something.” Some of these are basics (and one I wrote a whole chapter about—you get extra credit if you know which one), but I’ve always wondered whether bottle caps get sorted out for recycling. I’m going to try her suggestion for compiling them. But making my own vanilla extract? Not sure a bottle of brandy would last for “years” in this household.

Tell me. Is there anything on this list that you’re going to try?

**Hint: Shockingly….NO. Gallium and aluminum, for example, are obtained from bauxite ore which is often obtained by strip mining and then requires smelting. I know nothing about smelting but just the name tells me…it’s not an eco-friendly endeavor.

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