What are some of the things you do to lead a more sustainable lifestyle?

Many years ago, Kate and I developed a Stewardship Model for Tom’s of Maine in order to codify all of the natural, sustainable practices we were already following—such as only using natural ingredients and never testing on animals. The Stewardship Model sets out very specific standards for natural, sustainable, and responsible practices, and guides all of us every day in our decision making.

Kate and I also feel that a commitment to sustainability should be incorporated into all areas of the company—not just the product formulations. Let me share just two examples: our packaging designer, Jack, purchases only post-consumer-waste recycled and recyclable materials and soy-based inks; and my Director of Product Supply, Mark, had some great ideas about using renewable energy sources, so in 26, we began purchasing wind energy credits to offset 1% of our factory’s electricity needs.

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  • I recycle, grow many of my own vegetables (without pesticides and herbicides), maintain my home so that it is as energy efficient as possible, purchased a new high efficiency washer and dryer pair (uses less gas to dry because washer spins clothes better), keep my tires on my car properly inflated (increases gas mileage), flush my hot water heater regularly (improves efficiency and increases lifespan of heater), use a thermos instead of bottled water (wastes the plastic), buy recycled materials when possible, reuse bags from grocery store, buy soy ink printed materials whenever possible, buy soy ink checks, buy recycled checks, cook from scratch often (less packaging), get regular oil changes/air filter changes (improves mileage), pickup after my dog, don’t smoke tobacco, installed new energy saving windows in our home, and last, but not least…

    I write my State Legislators, Member of Congress, Senators, Mayor, Governor, and even the President to ask that they support legislation that will encourage the expansion of alternative energy sources like solar, wind, and geothermal. I also advocate for the use of gray-water systems and other “green” alternatives. Check out these websites:http://www.10fom.org/

    http://www.mngreenremodeling.com/

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  • I really don’t know where to begin! I feel i cannot do much more, i am doing everything g i can and now find my self ‘preaching’ to others! Reusable nappies, sanatary towells, wipes. Many people say it should be a religion! I get very upset when i see that people are not doing all they can, out of ‘laziness’. This is a recent change though, i was once the laziest person ever when it comes to caring for the environment. I have an allotment, i recycle EVERYTHING, if it can’t be recycled, i will keep it until i can reuse it, and believe me- where there is a will…… the only thing now…. i wish i had a larger (old) farm house with animals, in the sticks where i would work on using solar panels and wind turbines, to eventually live off the lot of the land! I love it! I also, do everything i possibly can myself. If the clothes get torn or worn, i reuse them in some way, patchwork, a smaller item of clothing, anything i can inspire. i even empty my hoover into the composter! i bring items home from work, am a member of the local freecycle community(google it.) I also reuse items in my art….sorry… i a appear to be preaching again!!!

  • Toms of Maine are awesome products – the only paste my kids used growing up.

    We have an electrical contracting corp and we’ve decided to promote solar energy. Recycling materials.

    Personally we are looking into chickens and we do not buy anything with partially hydrogenated oils or high fructose corn syrup.

    We would love to do something to create affordable housing. Buying the house is the first step but being able to sustain living with a mortgage is quite a different thing. I’m also a Realtor. Taking baby steps toward our goals but with a little faith I’m sure we will get there!

  • I recycle everything including plastic bags. I use cloth bags for shopping, after picking the habit up while living in Holland. I park as far as possible from where I am going, for my body to continue to function correctly. I use the steps instead of elevators when possible, and return trolleys to the store when people leave them out in the parking lot. I read labels, and do not buy when a company is simply selling poor food rather than working on making it more healthy. I have replaced every light bulb with the newer kinds, and use only one bulb in 4 bulb appliances. I have purchased a new air conditioner that runs on a 2 cycle method, saving energy. We turn off lights in rooms that are empty. We now have new windows for energy conservation. Our electric/gas bill went from $450 to $47. in two months by just being more conscious of appliance purchases (that needed to be done anyway) and doing the above actions.

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  • Thanks, Tom! I’ve been a big fan of your products for a while. I’ve written a novel where one of the themes of the fiction concerns the impact we consumers have on the environment and indigenous peoples. It’s called “Where Did This Come From?” by Larry Nocella, available through the publisher or Amazon.

    Anyway, it’s companies like yours that inspired me to offset the printing of the book in the same way you purchase wind credits. It’s not a perfect solution, but a stepping stone. What we can do is keep pressing for solutions that do not involve this sort of redemptive action. I’d like to be able to purchase books on recycled paper in the first place, not print on fresh paper, then pay to offset the environmental impact.

    I’m very proud of the offsetting, though. I could be just another pro-environmental author printing on paper. I tried to do something about it. We need to keep pushing for the solutions up front and not be afraid of losing a few cents here and there: the environment is worth more than money.

    Source(s): http://www.larrynocella.com/

  • The most important thing a person can do is to reduce their consumption. The simpler your life is the more sustainable it is.

    A lot of people think that just recycling is enough. It’s not even close. Only metals recycling really makes sense at the moment. The fact that most utilities and private companies use seperate truck routes to handle recycling basically negates most of the value of it in the first place. It would be far better to just use garbage trucks and then sort out recyclables at the landfill. Paper would be better off being composted on site.

    American life in general is oversized, over gadgeted, over packaged, and too disposable to be sustainable.

    If you really want to live a more sustainable way of life consider the following radical changes.

    1. Live in a much smaller house! The average american family constructs, maintains, heats, cools, and ultimately consumes more than 5sq ft of living space per person. That is basically ridiculous when you consider that most of that space holds not the people, nor essential equipment but rather all the unnecessary consumer goods that the marketing driven media machine has convinced americans that they need. To add insult to injury most people enslave themselves to a lifetime of debt in order to purchase these ridiculous dwellings and possessions in the first place. A smaller dwelling teaches efficiency to those who live there. A dwelling that is too large just encourages over consumption.

    2. Don’t buy new cars, and if you must buy one then make sure it gets at least 35 mpg. The car makers keep producing innefficient behemoths because Americans keep buying them. Be realistic about what you need to transport you (hint bicycles work great). Leave your ego on the sidewalk….

    3. Reduce your water consumption. More than anything else access to fresh water will be the primary environmental concern of the next 50 years. Consider rainwater catchment schemes, graywater recycling for landscape irrigation, and water saving fixtures for your home.

    4. Where possible choose wisely when it comes to groceries and household goods. Try to buy things that are produced locally whenever possible. Use laundry powder which is packaged in degradable cardboard boxes instead of heavier plastic packaged liquid. Eat lower on the food chain. Meat is ridiculously innefficient to produce compared to vegetables.

    I could go on and on but the bottom line is to simplify, reduction is by far the most important of the three Rs.

    Source(s): Uncommon Sense and my degree in Ecology.

  • The biggest one is my green cleaning business. I use all eco-friendly products and essential oils. Our paper is printed on 33% post consumer recycled paper, and most stuff I need to buy for the business is local. The car I drive is not a huge gas guzzling machine. and most of the places I go are near by.

    At home I use natural detergent, shampoo and soap, and sweep the floor. The rags and towels I use for cleaning and drying dishes are dried on a wooden rack. When I wash clothes once a week, I use cold water as much as possible. These are all healthy, energy saving techniques.

    Also….

    •I recycle my plastic grocery bags – luckily the supermarket has a special grocery bag recycling area

    •I take a shower every other day and a bath once or twice a month

    •I stopped washing my gas saving car – only the windows

    •I recycle as much as I can

    •I re-use aluminum coffee cans for storage or planting pots

    •I re-use water bottles as much as possible

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    •I don’t have my heater cranked way up, I use blankets

    •I don’t travel much outside of the area making less pollution

    •I don’t buy new, materialistic items unless it will be inherited or of highly functional value

    •95% of my furniture and decorations are antique or natural or artistically handmade

    •I own 2 laptop computers which are energy saving

    •I use natural locally grown items when decorating for holidays and I own a fake christmas tree which we re-use every year

    •99% of my lightbulbs are energy saving

    •I don’t eat processed foods or fast foods that have wasted much energy to make people unhealthy

    •I don’t have any children – that’s a huge garbage generator. If I do, I will use cloth diapers and natural toys

    •I live in a small apartment

    •I create a lot of my own entertainment at home with my boyfriend, dog and cat – we have fun!

    Work for the earth, laugh and love.

  • Personally, I wish I could do more than I am right now. I’m going to college and raising two kids in the process… not an easy task. My dream lifestyle is not where I can be, yet. However, my college career will end in December and, armed with an environmental science and public administration degree, I hope to make some real changes.

  • 2. Don’t buy new cars, and if you must buy one then make sure it gets at least 35 mpg. The car makers keep producing innefficient behemoths because Americans keep buying them. Be realistic about what you need to transport you (hint bicycles work great). Leave your ego on the sidewalk….

    3. Reduce your water consumption. More than anything else access to fresh water will be the primary environmental concern of the next 50 years. Consider rainwater catchment schemes, graywater recycling for landscape irrigation, and water saving fixtures for your home.

    4. Where possible choose wisely when it comes to groceries and household goods. Try to buy things that are produced locally whenever possible. Use laundry powder which is packaged in degradable cardboard boxes instead of heavier plastic packaged liquid. Eat lower on the food chain. Meat is ridiculously innefficient to produce compared to vegetables.

  • 1. Recycle everything possible and not just by putting things in recycling bins, reuse things. Plastic bags are a great example. If you get a plastic bag from the store take it back to use the next time, until it’s no longer useable and then put it in the recycling bin.

    2. Public Transportation

    3. Walking/Biking, cities too small to have public transport are probably small enough that you can walk/bike almost everywhere

    4. If you are a family with two cars cut back to one. Do you really need both? Probably not.

    5. Smaller homes. Bigger seems to be better in the US, do you have four children and need a five bedroom house? Probably not. Can your kids probably share a room? I’m thinking yes.

    6. Entertainment, TVs and Computers use energy everytime you use them. Books are reusable, they only require energy to make them. Read. Get your kids to read, it’s better for them anyway. And quieter for you. Limit that TV/Computer time.

    Some of the people who’ve posted were commenting/complaining that pro-environment products are more expensive, but I think all of my recomendations will actually save you money. How much are you spending on cable? The library is free. Walking/Public Transport is cheaper than having a car or two cars for that matter. A smaller house will cost less and have lower utilites. Will your kids fight if they have to share a room? maybe, but shouldn’t you be teaching them to share anyway? Food for thought. Save money, help the environment and be a better parent.

    Source(s): Common Sense.32

  • We recycle…paper products, aluminum cans, plastics that can be recycled…we try to avoid buying anything that can’t be recycled in some way. Instead of throwing things away, we tend to donate to Goodwill when we can and we conserve heat, electricity, and water. We try to buy organic and fair trade products.

    Somewhere down the road, when I am able to purchase my first house, I will be attempting to make it eco-friendly by installing solar panels and by using geothermal energy to heat and cool my home. And I have researched using an in home garden to grow my own vegetables. And would like to eventually purchase a motorcycle and at some point a hybrid vehicle.

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