Wal-Mart Throwing Away Ripe Produce

Ripe produce being thrown away

Wasted food irks me, a lot.  Not just because I enjoy eating and am equally tight about spending money, but because it’s just downright wasteful on so many levels.  From time to grow, fuel to harvest and transport to market, merchandising and selling at the store, when food is thrown out it costs a lot of people in a supply chain a lot of money.  A recent late night trip opened my eyes to what I’ve only heard about and seen on TV. Continue reading »

SoBe Lifewater with Coconut Water Mango Mandarin has neither Mango nor Mandarin

SoBe LifeWater with coconut water but no mango or mandrainYesterday I drove about an hour to do a photo recon mission for a possible upcoming shoot.  It was in the low to mid 80’s and I didn’t think to take a bottle of water with me, all my focus was on packing camera gear.  After the drive, a half mile walk to the location, two hours walking around and exploring, then re-tracing the half mile walk, all while being out in the sun, I was rather parched.  First order of business when returning to my car was to stop at the nearest gas station and get some water.

About 3 miles down the road I pulled into a gas station and upon entering, I thought to myself I should probably get coconut water to better hydrate, and I like the taste.  I was elated to see they carried the larger bottles of VitaCoco, but they didn’t have the flavor I wanted, and plain would have been fine if I wasn’t drawn to what was right next to them on the shelf.  SoBe Lifewater with coconut and mango mandarin.  A mango fan I am, I opened the door to grab a bottle and noticed a small Buy one get one Free on all Lifewater.  Perfect, two 20oz bottles it is.

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The Cupcake Invasion is Here

For the last few years the Bacon Invasion has been slowly taking over the Internet, well the entire world for that matter.  It’s now at the point where wrapping bacon around bacon that has bacon stuffed inside is kind of a joke, and it’s been done already, twice before.  The trend as of recent is designer cupcakes, being fueled by the TV shows on Food Network and the cupcake trucks running around New York City. The cupcake invasion is now on a whole new level.

Cupcake Flavored ToothpasteCupcake Flavored Toothpaste.  Yes, start your morning off with cupcakes.  If it’s too sweet for you, there is the old standby of Bacon Flavored Toothpaste too.

Best Pumpkin Carvings of 2011

Four years ago I published the Best pumpkin carvings of 2007, it’s hard to believe that was four  years ago already! I figured it was about time for an update, so I scoured through some files and archives and found some really great photos!  First and foremost on the list is an amazing pumpkin featuring a portrait of Steve Jobs, may he rest in piece.

Steve Jobs [PA080528]

Continue reading »

Bacon Invasion

For whatever reason our culture has taken a liking to bacon, which is fine by me.  So much so that a Bacon Today has a cult-like following and provides the latest bacon updates to readers on a daily basis.  Sites like Etsy have thousands of search results for Bacon and eBay shows more then 10,000 results, including many for coupons for lovers of bacon to buy at discounts!

Here’s 19 weird, quirky and amazing bacon related products to enhance and improve your life.

Bacon Wallet

Continue reading »

How to Make Your Dog Vomit

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This article is not as sadistic as the title implies.  Knowing how to make your dog vomit could save his or her life.

Dogs are natural scavengers.  Unfortunately this may mean that will scavenge for food in your kitchen or garbage which could lead to deadly consequences.  There are many foods which are safe for humans that are highly toxic to dogs.  If your dog eats these items, it will be imperative that you are able to induce vomiting in a timely manner in order to avoid poisoning or harm.

Foods to avoid (below is a partial list of foods that are poisonous or harmful if ingested by your dog):

  • Grapes / Raisins (contain a toxin that can lead to kidney failure)
  • Onions (a large amount consumed at one time or over several days can lead to anemia as well as gastrointestinal problems)
  • Corn Cobs (can cause intestinal blockage)
  • Fruit Pits (can cause intestinal blockage)
  • Uncooked bread dough (the years can continue to rise in the dog’s intestine causing blockage or rupture)
  • Xylitol (in many gums and candies and can cause liver damage with extended or large quantity ingestion)
  • Macadamia Nuts (can cause locomotion difficulties)
  • Avocado (contain Persin which can cause vomiting, diarrhea or heart congestion)
  • Salmon / Trout (can contain parasites that are harmful to dogs)
  • Chicken Bones (can cause intestinal blockage)
  • Prescription and over-the-counter medicines (most medicines are harmful to your dog)
  • Chocolate (contains Theobromine which can cause seizures, irregular hearbeats, and difficulty breathing)
  • Coffee / Caffeine (similar in chemical make-up to Theobromine, can cause seizures, irregular heartbeats, difficulty breathing)

If your dogs ingests one of these items, you should induce vomiting.  Time is of the essence, so it is important that you induce vomiting immediately after consumption of the dangerous item.

Ways to induce vomiting in your dog (you should do this outside or in a tub for easier clean-up):

Hydrogen Peroxide: this inexpensive solution is available at most pharmacies and grocery stores.  A bottle can cost between 50 cents and a dollar.  To induce vomiting, pour 2-3 Tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide into your dog’s mouth, coaxing him or her to swallow it.  After about 5 minutes, your dog will begin to vomit and will continue to vomit until his or her stomach is empty.  Depending on the size of your dog, this can take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes.

Salt: 1 Tablespoon of salt can also make your dog vomit.  This is a little messier than hydrogen peroxide as it is sometimes more difficult to force your dog to swallow a tablespoon of dry salt.  You can try mixing it with 2 Tablespoons of water in order to pour it more easily into your dog’s mouth. Vomiting will occur within about 5 minutes and will last 5 to 15 minutes.

Syrup of Ipecac: This was previously a common household item for people with small children, but new guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics are no longer recommending every household keep a stock of Ipecac.  Regardless, this remedy works for dogs.  Syrup of Ipecac can be purchased from most drug stores and is slightly more expensive than Hydrogen Peroxide (about $3 for a bottle).  Follow the directions on the bottle for dosages.  Pour the syrup into your dog’s mouth to induce vomiting.  Wait several minutes for it to take effect.  Your dog will vomit the contents of his or her stomach in a span of 5 to 15 minutes.

Of course, NEVER induce vomiting if your dog has ingested a caustic substance, seek immediate medical help from your veterinarian.

If your dog is showing signs of poisoning such as lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, blood in stool or vomit, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeats, difficulty urinating, lack of thirst or hunger, etc. seek IMMEDIATE medical treatment from your veterinarian.

Keep a stock of Hydrogen Peroxide, Salt, and/or Syrup of Ipecac on hand for emergencies should they arise and always contact your veterinarian with any health questions.

You can also check out this video here.

The Cheapskate’s Manifesto: 11 Ways to Save by Cooking at Home

This is a long overdue follow-up to Mike Panic’s Cheapskate’s Manifesto.  This time, Mike and I focus on saving you money by cooking at home.  Mike already showed you how to get the most from coupon clipping at the grocery store, and hopefully you’ve been able to apply some of his ideas when it comes to buying food.  But what about stretching the food dollars you already spent?

In this article we feature a few tips and tricks that save money by cooking at home with what we already have.   Whether cooking for one, or a family, you will see that there are several ways to get more from what you already have in your pantry.

Larger Quantities, Less Often

Buying food in bulk will save you money, but allowing it to go bad before you use it will cost you even more.  Not everyone is a big fan of leftovers, but for me, it’s a reality.  I’m a single man living alone, so it’s difficult to cook one meal for dinner daily, since I eat lunch at work and rarely eat dinner.  The food I do cook for dinner will often provide me two to three lunches since most recipes will easily serve four.

Grains and Legumes

Take a look outside what might be your normal comfort zone of supersized meals with 64oz Big Gulp soda’s and look at the wealth of foods currently and seasonally available to you.  Most of the US assumes that with dinner they will get a 6-8oz portion of protein, usually in the form of meat, poultry or seafood, while a vast majority of the world makes do by sharing that same 6-8oz portion of protein with their entire family by using grains, legumes, and starches.

grains-and-legumes

Rice and beans will fill you up, provide you with much needed energy, and they store very well.  The same goes for dried pasta.  I’m partial to Basmati rice and buy it in a 10lb burlap bag. The last bag I purchased was right around $18.  Compare that with boxed instant rice or gourmet rices that sell for $6 in a one or two pound box and you’ve got one really good deal.  Store it in an airtight container and it will last you a very long time.  Long grain rice takes a bit longer to cook than instant rice, but it tastes better and is more nutritious.  Buy beans in bulk the same way.

Use A Crock Pot

A good crock pot will cost you around $30, will last for years, and takes minimal effort to cook with.  Search Google for crock pot recipes, sometimes called slow cookers, of which you will find thousands.

One of my more favorite uses is for lentil soup, which has only a handful of ingredients tastes great, and costs only a few dollars to make.  This recipe makes enough to feed eight people, and is freezer-friendly.  I also use my crock pot to make macaroni & cheese, BBQ pulled pork and countless other great eats other than soups.

Eat Seasonal Foods

Local farmers’ markets as well as the grocery stores are packed full of fresh locally-grown foods.  When foods are in season, especially locally grown, it often tends to be the least expensive and best time to buy.  Towards the end of summer my local farmers’ market has incredible deals on yellow flesh peaches.  Last summer I got about 12 pounds of peaches for $6, which is much more than I could eat in a weeks time.  When they were ripe I cleaned them, sliced them up, and placed them in small zip-lock bags and stacked them in my freezer.  They now get used right out of the freezer as part of my smoothie recipe, or I can thaw them out and make a cobbler, pies, or peach turnovers.  Bananas also freeze well.  When they get to be a bit too ripe, freeze them for banana nut breads, banana pancakes, or even smoothies.  This way you will have fresh fruits and vegetables all year long.

Freeze Leftovers

I’ve mentioned freezing a few times.  It’s not a bad word.  Properly sealed food will keep for 2-6 months in your freezer.  Like most people, I get sick of eating the same thing day after day, and I’ll use the previously mentioned lentil soup as an example.

A full crock pot of lentil soup will easily last me for lunch and dinner for nearly 4 days. At the end of those 4 days I’d never want to see another lentil again.  Making less than that in my crock pot isn’t an effecient use of energy, and not eating it all within a few days wastes food, thus throwing money away.  I will often use recycled chinese take out soup containers to put single servings of lentil soup in and freeze about half of the batch.  This allows me to pull a bowl of soup out of the freezer a month from the day I made it and still enjoy it without having to make a whole new batch.  Once you do this with a few items you’ve cooked in bulk, you can easily rotate through your own frozen food selection.  Be aware that certain foods freeze better than others.  Not all fish tastes good frozen and reheated, and the same goes for rice.

Freeze extra breads until you have enough to make homemade croutons for soups or salads.  Make your own seasoned breadcrumbs from extra breads or bagels.  They are much better than in the store and will save you at least a dollar or two.

When making pancakes, I use my electric griddle and make a large batch so I have plenty to freeze for later.  This way, I can just pull out a stack of pancakes and quickly heat them up for breakfast.

Use Substitutes

There are many foods that are fantastic substitutes for their more expensive counterparts, and they are sometimes healthier as well.  A perfect example of this is margarine for butter.  Margarine contains half the calories of butter, and is roughly one third the price.

Make Stocks

My freezer is always “stocked” with stocks.  I will buy five or six whole chickens when they are around 69 cents a pound, and process them at home.  I break down the chickens and make several separate packages of breasts, thighs and drumsticks, and wings.   All of the bones go into my large stockpot with a couple of carrots, an onion, celery, and it all gets covered with water and cooked on low, just enough so I can see a bubble once in a while, and then strained into a delicious chicken stock.  I separate the stock into smaller containers and freeze them for future recipes.  This is not only less expensive than store bought chicken broth or boullion cubes, but there is almost no sodium or preservatives, and I know it’s made of entirely fresh components.  (For you vegans out there, you can make some fantastic vegetable stocks the same way).

Small amounts of vegetables can be frozen for “soup starters”, such as carrots, onions, celery, corn, and even tomatoes.  It’s easier to dice the vegetables first so they can just be thrown right into the pot to cook

For a great tasting rice or pasta, use a vegetable or chicken stock instead of water to cook it in.  You will be amazed at the flavor!

Turn Off the Heat!

It’s a misconception that pasta needs to boil until the second it’s removed from the stove.  This is simply not true.  When I add pasta to boiling water, I stir it until it comes to a boil.  After one full minute of stirring and boiling, I turn off the heat, and don’t even cover it.  Boiling water is roughly 212 degrees.  Maybe one degree different if you live on Mount Everest.

pasta-boiling

In the time it takes for the water to come down to the ambient temperature, it will already be cooked.  This will not only will you save energy, but you will reduce the risk of having the pasta stick to the bottom of the pot.

More Than One Use…And a Little Imagination

Making stocks from chickens is a perfect example of this, but there are dozens of ways to use “by-products” for future dishes.

I went shopping two days ago and bagels were on sale for one dollar.  Most people see toasted bagels with cream cheese when they look at a bagel.  What I see is very inexpensive baked bagel chips, perfect with onion or everything bagels.  I also see bagel pizzas, hearty soup and salad croutons, and breakfast sandwiches.  All of which I make at home for a fraction of the price.

Corn Tortillas are extremely cheap where I shop, so they are a staple in my pantry.  I can buy a stack as long as my arm for less than two dollars.  Cut into triangles and baked or fried, I can make about twenty dollars worth if bought in a bag, and still have enough left over for taquitos, Mexican pizzas, or tacos.

And while i’m on tortillas, throw them in with the chicken stock you just made, and the vegetables you pulled from the freezer, a little cumin, salt and pepper, and you will have an amazing chicken tortilla soup.

Save Some Dough

Making bread at home is easy, cheap and tastes better than store bought.  The smell of bread baking at home is second to none, and the flavor is nothing like store bought.  At home I make cinnamon raisin breads, sourdough, white breads, baguettes, flatbreads, Naan, and even pizza dough and hamburger and hot dog buns.  It takes a little practice to be proficient, but nothing can replace the satisfaction and flavor of any of these homemade bread products.

dough

Yeast is relatively inexpensive.  Rather than buy 1/4 ounce packages for a dollar at the grocery store, you can buy a one pound block of quick-acting yeast at a restaurant supply store for around seven dollars.  Much less than the $64 a pound of yeast will cost if you buy it in small packages.

I’m sure you have flour, salt, and sugar at home. These are all that are needed to start baking breads, and saving you a huge amount at the grocery store.  I use unbleached all purpose flour, but you may also want to  try some whole wheat flours for a more healthy option.  Add some rolled oats, flax seed, sunflower, sesame and poppy seeds, and you can have an Artesian bread that you would pay $6 for in the stores.

Any baked bread or prepared dough can be frozen, so feel free to make a little extra for pizzas, rolls, and even breads.  I cut them into softball size portions, wrap them tightly and pop them in the freezer for later.

Keep Well Stocked

As I look around my kitchen, I see homemade spice blends, several bags of assorted beans for soups, several kinds of rice, a wealth of baking supplies, and seven shapes of dried pastas.

Any of these items, paired with a protein, can easily be stretched to save you cash, while feeding a whole army.

For proteins I have boneless center-cut pork chops I cut from a boneless loin bought for $1.49 a pound, and several bags of chickens that were 69 cents a pound that I broke down and portioned when I got home.

I have a freezer full of dough, homemade pancakes and French Toast, breads for croutons and crumbs, and topping for cobblers and pies.  There are diced vegetables, frozen berries, and even frozen mashed potatoes.

So save those small amounts of food that you would have otherwise thrown away, and soon your pantry and freezer will be well-stocked with foods that can be combined to create delicious dishes with just a little imagination.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to making more from what you already have.  Hopefully you will find some of these tips useful, and they will help you stretch your shopping dollar as they have mine.

Summer Barbecue Grilling Tips

I love grilling season.  It’s cooking the way it’s meant to be done, with direct heat and flames kissing succulent meats, fish and poultry, as it was thousands of years ago…minus of course the metal grill and spatula.  The sounds of outdoor picnics and cooking over an open flame are music to my ears each summer.  The crackling skin of just-broken-down chickens, the flare-ups of hamburger juices as they drip onto the blazing coals, and even the clinking of ice cubes against the sides of a glass.

Grilling outdoors can be great fun.  In addition to grilling tips, I have listed a few safety tips that I deem important, as well as those of some prominent organizations.

So have tackle these tips, have a great barbecue season, and be safe.

Fire Safety

Keep in your general vicinity a bucket of sand and some baking soda for extinguishing small fires.  It’s also a good idea to keep your garden hose just a few steps away, especially if you are cooking on a wooden deck.  Always keep the cooking surface or grill at least several feet away from any objects or walls.

Food Safety

The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service has put together a series of safety tips for this summers grilling season that are certainly worth a quick read.  The list covers techniques on safe food transportation, thawing, and even a blurb on cancer studies regarding charred foods, although they make no claims either way.

SAFE MINIMUM INTERNAL TEMPERATURES

Poultry, Whole, Ground 165 °F

Hamburger, Beef 160 °F

Beef, Veal, Lamb:

Medium Rare 145 °F

Medium 160 °F

All Pork 160 °F

Source: USDA.gov

Use Good Wood

I like to grill with a combination of coal and wood.  Simply follow the same rules you would if you were burning wood in your fireplace at home.  Do not use pressure treated woods, painted woods, or any manufactured woods that may have been chemically treated.

Stick to natural, dry hardwoods when possible.  I try to use maple, oak if possible, or hardwoods still being sold from local homes for fireplace burning.  Fortunately I live in an area where every few streets it seems have several stacks of wood for sale each winter, with some remaining through summer for camping season.  I can pick up a large bundle of seasoned hardwood for about three dollars.

Keep a Clean Cooking Area

Be sure to use separate dishes for raw and cooked foods.  As soon as the raw food is on the grill, bring the dishes to a cleaning area and douse with hot, soapy water.  Cross-contamination is a huge risk, especially when outdoors in the heat and sun.

Lubricate the Cooking Surface

First of all, “Grease” is something you use on your car.  Oil or fat is what’s used to lubricate cooking surfaces to prevent food from sticking.  If your grilling surface is free from debris and any cooked on foods from the last use, then a small towel with a little oil on it should suffice to rub the grates.  Try not to use paper towels when the grates are hot.  Just a quick rub right before placing the meats on the grill will be enough to keep even the leanest of meats from sticking as long as the grates are hot.

Season Later

It’s best to season your meats just minutes before they are finished.  Salt pulls moisture from foods early in the cooking process, so keep those juices in and salt when done.  Marinades and rubs should be tapped against a bowl to remove anything that might drip when placing on the grill to avoid flare-ups.  Be sure to mob, baste, or brush sauces later in the cooking process.  When used early, charring can occur, and your grates can get gummed up slowing cooking time and causing foods to stick.

Additional Information

If you’re looking for additional information on barbecuing from the professionals, here are some additional sources you may want to consider.

Paul Kirk: The Undisputed Barbecue Champion

Easily the best Barbecue book I have read, this collection of Paul Kirk’s 575 Championship Recipes book is full of tips and ideas for pulling off the most successful Barbecue ever.

TheSmokeRing.com

The Smoke Ring is a list of over 1,000 member barbecue sites with all you ever need to know about barbecue.  From recipes and products, to sauces, rubs, and professional barbecue instruction.

BBQ-Festivals.com

Another site of all-things-barbecue, BBQ-Festivals.com offers a calendar list of barbecue festivals around the United States.

National Barbecue Organization

http://www.nbbqa.org/

Top Five Romantic Picnic Foods

Spring has finally sprung, and picnicking season is upon us.  Picnics are a great way to get away from all the hustle and bustle and day-to-day distractions, or a way to get to know someone new, or to reconnect with friends and loved ones.

Here are some of my favorite romantic picnic foods.

Strawberries, Grapes, and Hand Fruits.

  • Strawberries are a delectable fruit that is synonymous with romance.  Whether chocolate covered, dipped in confectioners sugar, or just plain naked, the strawberry is probably the undisputed romance food.
  • Grapes, seedless red or white, are available almost any time, but for a real romantic treat try champagne grapes.  The fruit is much smaller, comes in tight little bunches, and has a great texture and mouth feel.
  • Apricots, mandarins, kiwi and plums are also small, sweet, and make for fantastic picnic romance fruits.

Cheese
Brie, Gouda, Imported Danish Bleu.  Your local grocery store most likely has an imported cheese section, stocked full of smooth Bries, pungent Bleus, smoky Goudas, and even cave-aged Edams.  Whether you like mild or sharp, cheeses hold great on a hike and are a fantastic accompaniment to any picnic.

Wine, Sparkling Water, and Champagne
Let your palate decide your selection and alcohol content.  I prefer a red and a white, or a blush and a pair of champagne splits.  A bottle of sparkling water is also a good idea.

Most quality picnic sets will come with a wine bottle opener and wine glasses, but I’ve not seen any that come with one of the best inventions ever for a romantic picnic.  Wine glass holders!  There is nothing worse than spilling your wine while on a picnic.

Chocolates
Assorted chocolate truffles, liqueur-infused confections, hand made candies.  Dark chocolates and truffles hold extremely well in higher temperatures.  Stick to higher cocoa chocolates, or dusted truffles to avoid melting or sticking together.

Peasant Breads, Crusty Baguettes, Croissants
The best accompaniment to a quality cheese is a crusty French baguette or wholesome artesian bread.  No knife needed.  Just break and enjoy.  Buttery, flaky croissants are a personal favorite that is best enjoyed with smooth cheeses such as Brie, with a slice of apple.

Picnicking is a great way for a couple or even a family to get away and connect, and it doesn’t have to be expensive.  There are backpack picnic sets available for around $30 that come complete with cutlery, a cheese board and knife, wine glasses and opener, and even a picnic blanket.  Being a hiker, the backpack sets are my preferred way to go.  There is nothing better than heading up a mountain, finding a great lookout point, and breaking out a bottle of wine, a rustic peasant bread or baguette and cheese, and some fresh fruits and berries. If you bring the kids along, bring a bottle of juice or sparkling water, a few apples and oranges, and don’t forget the camera.

10 Ways to be More Green

This Earth Day try some of these easy tips to be more eco-friendly in your daily life.

  • Eat More Vegetables! The Union of Concerned Scientists cites eating meat as the most eco-destructive activity in which humans take part.  The United Nations states that cattle-rearing generates more green-house gases than transportation.  If all Americans replaced just one meal per week with vegetarian food, the impact on the environment would be equivalent to taking more than a half-million cars off the road.
  • Eat Locally! As well as eating more vegetables, it’s important to eat locally.  An average dinner travels more than 1,500 miles from farm to your table. The environmental impact of this transportation is significant.  Check labels at the grocery store and opt for items that are grown close to where you live and choose items that are in season in your area.  Another option is to purchase fruits and vegetables from local farmers markets or co-ops.  Not sure where to go?  LocalHarvest.org has a list of local farmers markets across the US.

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  • Ditch those plastic bottles! Using re-usable water bottles filled with tap or filtered water eliminates thousands of bottles that would otherwise end up in a landfill.  Sigg makes a sturdy and user friendly reusable water bottle.
  • Ditch those paper cups! Most coffee shops now offer reusable options for your morning latte.  Buy a reusable travel mug and refill it when you get coffee.  According to statistics from Starbucks, if just 50 customers at each Starbucks location used a reusable mug, it would save over 150,000 paper cups per day which translates to over 1.7 million pounds of paper waste each year.  At the very least don’t take a sleeve or allow your Barista to double-cup your beverage!
  • Use reusable take-out containers.  If your favorite restaurant gives you your doggie bag in Styrofoam, consider bringing a reusable container with you and bringing home your leftovers in your own ware.
  • Reusable Lunch Containers.  Ditch that brown-bag and opt for a reusable lunch container. Try Lock & Lock containers they are BPA free and they give back to the community via treeplanting campaigns, senior citizen  events, clean water actions, etc.
  • Bring Your Own Bag to the Store.  The easiest approach is to buy a reusable bag at the grocery store, they usually sell for around 99 cents.  Get one!  If you would like something a little more fashionable, try Environsax reusable bags.  They fold up into small pouches that can be easily stored in your purse/bag for use at the grocery store/mall/skate shop/etc.  I always carry one with me in my purse and use it every time I make a purchase.
  • Use a cloth hand towel in your kitchen/bathroom.  Replace your use of paper towels with a cloth towel.  Worried about germs?  Buy 7 of them and put out a new one each day.  This will save you money and reduce the amount of paper waste headed to the landfill.
  • Carpool/Walk/Ride a Bike. Think about where you need to go and how you can get there in the most efficient manner.  Carpool to work, arrange your errands so that they are completed in one day or in a small number of places.  Take public transportation where you can.  If your destination is within a mile from your home, consider walking or riding a bike.  Unsure how to get to your destination via the bus/bike/walking?  Use Google Maps – they have options for driving, walking, and public transportation!
  • Recycle. This seems so obvious, but only about 32% of waste was recycled in 2006.  Cities are constantly expanding recycling programs.  For example, my city recently spread their program to include all plastic types except PET#6.  That means that I can recycle PET#1,2,3,4,5,7,8,&9 in my curb-side pick-up.  Check with your local recycling program to see what types of plastic you can recycle each week!

Replacing your current habits with only one of these can significantly improve your impact on the environment.  Try it out and I am sure you can find ways to decrease the amount of resources that you consume each day.