By Jean Sheff
Everyone is talking the “green” talk, but how many people are actually changing their habits and living greener? Read through this list of simple, yet effective ways, you and your family can help make the world a bit greener and see how many of them you have adopted on regular basis. Then, select at least two more, and as they say–just
10. Eat Smart. You and your family eat every day, generally several times a day, so making green choices with regards to your food intake can really add up. The first big step is to reduce your use of packaged goods and increase your use of locally grown foods. One of the best ways you can do this is to frequent The Chappaqua Farmers’ Market. This grass roots community effort, led by Nancy Orem Lyman, Priscilla Sorensen and Will Wedge, helps reduce our carbon footprint by drastically reducing shipping, pesticides and helps support local farming and agriculture in our area. “We have between 19-24 vendors,” says Orem Lyman. You’ll find fresh vegetables, fruit, milk, eggs, meats, fish, artisanal cheeses, breads, baked goods, wine and nuts. “Our goal is to offer the community a wide variety of products at a good price point,” says Lyman. Other community events like the recent book swap are to be added. The Market is open year-round. Through April, find it at St. Mary’s Church next to Bell Middle School on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. In May, the Market moves to the Chappaqua Train Station.
9. Drink Smart. It’s wonderful that so many more people are drinking water instead of soda, but now it’s time to ditch those disposable, plastic water bottles. Many of these plastic bottles can be recycled, but generally, they wind up in the trash and in our landfills. Go greener by investing in reusable stainless steel bottles. You can find them in low-key solid colors or with fun designs right here in town. A quick informal survey at the time of this writing found them at Auntie Penny, Squires and EZ Sports.
8. Shop Local. Talking about our town, do you realize that shopping local is a great way to go green? Basically, less driving = less pollution. Reducing fuel consumption is a very positive way to help the environment. Some people live close enough to walk, which is even better.
7. Unplug. Yes, we are a plugged in society so unplugging may take some practice. Simply put, unplug anything you are not using. Two items that people usually forget to shut down or unplug are computers and chargers. So turn off the computers, printers and unplug the chargers from the wall. Right this minute there could be a computer and cell phone, iPod and camera charger eating up energy just waiting to be used. Don’t be lazy. It’s a habit that you can easily change.
6. Swap Light Bulbs. This one is easy. All you have to do is select compact florescent light bulbs (CFLs) instead of standard incandescent bulbs. Look for higher lumens for brighter light. Purchase some now. As your standard bulbs run out you will be prepared with your new greener choice.
5. Green Supplies
for Home and Office.Computers have gone a long way to help us save paper, but it’s not a perfect science. We still need paper, so do what you can by using recycled printing paper, recycled paper towels and recycled toilet tissue regularly. Have boxes for recycled paper in plain view in the home and office–right next to the printer or photocopier are good locations. And recycle empty ink jet cartridges as well.
4. Save Water. You’ve probably heard the “rule of three,” a person can live three weeks without food but only three days without water. The actual validity is somewhat debatable and trying this old saw is not recommended. The point is as human beings we need water, so we should be doing all we can to use it wisely. So fix leaky faucets, take shorter showers, install a faucet aerator in all faucets and buy drought tolerant plantings. Get the entire family involved. Teach your children not to let the faucet run while brushing their teeth.
3. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
You’ve heard this all before, right? Following any of the points above will qualify your participation in the “reduce” category.
Meet the “reuse” strategy by finding new uses for items. An old shirt can be used for pajamas or a fancy jam jar can morph into a perfectly nice pencil holder. You can also make use of the town’s Recycling Center located at 210 Hunts Lane (past World Cup Nursery and Gymnastics School), which is open Wednesday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Here you can drop off items at the “Take it or Leave it Shed,” open Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon in the spring, summer and fall. You can also participate in Recycle-A-Bicycle program. For questions contact the Center at 238-8091.
And do remember that we have three consignments/used items shops right here in town. You can help the environment by purchasing, consigning or donating items to the Opportunity Shop, Elegance II and the American Cancer Society’s Discovery Shop. Recycling is easier than ever with our town’s curbside pick-up.
Set up a recycling procedure with designated bins to make carrying through with the plan easier. For details see the DPW tab or the video explaining the new town recycle/garbage program at
www.mynewcastle.org. The plan goes into effect April 4, 2011.
2. Green Your House. Sylvain Cote, owner of Absolute Remodeling, specializes in building or renovating existing structures into energy efficient, environmentally responsible homes. As a National Association of Home Builders Certified Green Professional, he knows plenty of ways to make your living space greener.
For starters, he says one of the most important things you can do is properly insulate your home. “The best insulation to use is Spray Foam; it will make your home incredibly comfortable,” says Cote. But that’s not all. Cote has several Chappaqua customers who have updated their home with Spray Foam insulation and they report they are saving thousands of dollars a year. Cote, who practices what he preaches, lives in a green home he built from top to bottom. His latest green tip is to grill your meat in your fireplace the old-fashioned way. He places his outdoor grill grate on top of his fireplace grill to warm in the flames and begins cooking the meat once the fire is down to the embers. “Just make sure the meat is very lean,” says Cote. “The taste is phenomenal.” It’s one way to warm your home and stomach at the same time.
1. Green Your Lawn. Living outside the city means living with nature and perhaps a green lawn. You don’t have to forgo your lovely landscaping, but you can make selecting and caring for your landscape greener. Plant shade trees to cool your home; use organic fertilizers and make sure the equipment you or your lawn service uses are low-emission. Many local companies including John Jay Landscape Development and SavATree are able and willing to provide green lawn care. Just ask.
Jean Sheff, a Chappaqua-based writer and editor excuses her absolute love of paper products (newspapers, books and magazines) by at least recycling them.