8.8.08 Ways to Go Green



    Two themes have dominated marketing for 2008: green and the summer olympics.

    Buffeted by the high price of oil, the green theme has permeated consumer, business and government marketing. Green has been spotted in more places than the Virgin Mary on burnt pieces of toast.

    CaptureSimilarly, I think many poor souls have toiled away in finding how the numbers “08.08.08” can fit into their marketing strategy. The latest was an email from Shapell Homes claiming “Eight Specially Priced Homes, One Unforgettable Day. One lucky cash-drawing winner.” A bit of a stretch, but there was effort behind it.

    If you can’t beat them, join them. So here are the 8 ways we have gone green, 8 ways we want to go green and 8 pet peeves of non-greeness. Drum roll please…


    1. Reusable Grocery Bags – Clint and I figure we will save at least 208 bags this year by using our Trader Joe’s reuseable bags (see “Making the Switch to Reusable Grocery Bags“).

    2. CFL bulbs – All non-dimmed incandescent lightbulbs have been changed out for compact fluorescent light bulbs. If you are in the process of choosing light fixtures – pick designs where the light bulb is concealed. Today’s CFLs can produce “warm” light but still look ugly.

    3. Solar energy – Solar panels are a way to harness renewable energy, plus they have saved us real hard dollars (see “Going Green: Solar Energy“).

    4. Suburban organic vegetable garden – Clint and I are now enjoying tomatoes from our vegetable garden. A home garden not only ensure you have vine-rippened vegetables, but it also eliminates the energy to bring food from farms to stores to home. We use coffee grinds and egg shells for fertilizer (see: “Venturing into Vegetable Gardening“).

    5. Baking in batches – The oven uses a lot of energy to heat up, so when we do have it turned on, I bake a bunch of things for the week such as pizza, cookies, muffins.

    6. Path of least resistance – In our kitchen, we have a roll out trash recepticle that holds 2 bins. The recycle bin is placed before the trash bin so that one always thinks about recycling before throwing something in the garbage. Try to make it easier to be green around the house than not – people like convenience.

    7. Greener cleaners – We’ve replaced kitchen cleaning supplies with Citra-solv cleaners and degreasers. I just get the concentrated stuff and dilute it. Not only is it natural and biodegradable, it also has a fabulous citrus smell.

    8. Reuse – Clint and I try to reuse what we can and buy high-quality items that we can see ourselves using forever. Classics such as Le Creuset cookware, Peugeot mills and Wusthof knives never go out of style. They may cost a bit more on initial purchase, but with proper care, they can last generations.


    1. Hybrid car  Clint made me say this one. My Honda Civic gets excellent mileage so I think it is debatable whether to get a new car, which costs energy to produce, in order to save a marginal amount of gas.

    2. Get rid of single-serve coffee  Clint and I disagree on this one as well. I think single-serve anything has excessive packaging. Clint thinks it is good because you make only what you consume. I think a nice answer is to get the reuseable pods you fill with coffee.

    3. Buy more organic foods – Trader Joe’s does an excellent job of providing great organic choices at very reasonable prices. Clint and I already buy many of our fruits, vegetables and yogurt organic. Is there room for more? Where do we source our meats?

    4. Get Sun/UV protection film on windows – This is an innovative solution I’ve heard from the facilities people at Adobe and is getting installed at the Adobe buildings in downtown San Jose. The film is produced by 3M and will reduce heat gain from windows – especially important if you have west-facing windows.

    5. Rain barrel – Collecting rain water for irrigation is a no-brainer. I just need to find one that looks stylish too.

    6. Buy more products from socially responsible companies – This requires work to research companies. Maybe there is a list somewhere.

    7. Find more energy efficient ways to heat the home in the winter.

    8. Plant more trees.


    1. People who wash their cars on their driveway – Reputable car washes actually use less water, recycle the water and treat the water before it goes into our rivers.

    2. Large Hummers and SUVs – with only one person.

    3. Stores that blast the AC – while the front door is left open.

    4. Excessive product packaging – like the crazy-hard-cut-yourself-to-open plastic blister packaging.

    5. Littering anywhere – especially on hiking trails and wildlife areas.

    6. Large servings at restaurants – wasteful and contributes to the obesity issue in our nation.

    7. Junk mail – especially the type that talks about green products or being green. Send me an email instead or at least put it on recycled paper (see “Junk Mail, Be Gone“).

    8. People who choose “Paper” when asked “Paper or Plastic” – and think they are being environmentally friendly. (Clint and I were guilty of this at one time of our lives)

    P.S. Wasn’t the Olympic opening ceremony incredible?

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