It’s super simple to use less resources.
Many times when I visit the men’s room in my office building, I hear men get two or three paper towels from the automatic dispenser.
It’s very easy to dry your hands with just one towel. Use every corner of the towel and dry each part of your hands more than once.
And think of that savings multiplied by once or twice a day times however many days you work a year… that is a lot of paper.
The saving is more than just paper. There’s the total cost of consumption to consider.
And you will be saving your property management company money that they will not have to spend on more paper towels.
I came across a brand called (ironically) Brandless. Their Facebook ad was effective enough that I clicked through.
The Brandless product that caught my attention the most? Toilet paper made from bamboo fiber!
Bamboo grows at a rate of up to 36 inches (91 centimeters) in 24 hours (source).
Think about it – a regular tree takes way longer to grow. If we converted all our forests dedicated to producing toilet paper into bamboo forests, we’d use up a lot fewer resources. Think: reforestation in a much shorter time period.
The amazing thing is that the price of this Brandless product is just $3 for 6 rolls. True, there may be just 12 sheets per roll, but it’s worth a try.
I haven’t signed on the dotted line yet – but I’m seriously considering giving this one a go.
Footnote: I took this photo of toilet paper at my local Whole Foods. Surprisingly, they do not sell bamboo toilet paper.
I spilled tea on my trackpad. Then it started acting weird.
Dilemma: call my 2011 computer a loss and get a new one or have the old one fixed?
Fixing the old computer won the day.
$200 later, and it works just as good as new.
I love my old MacBook Pro. Years ago, I upgraded the memory and hard drive, and it still works fine. It’s fast enough for just about everything, and it even has a built-in CD-DVD drive, which comes in handy every once in a while. (I even used that earlier today!)
Kudos to Mac Outlet for the fine job.
Denver gets most of its electric power from burning coal.
If Denver used less coal, our air would be cleaner.
Car dealerships use a lot of electric power every night after closing. They brightly light their parking lots and the inside of their showrooms.
I suppose they want to attract the buying public to their shiny new and gently-used vehicles.
But how many times do you see people stopping to look at those cars at night after closing? Never.
The idea is that drivers passing by will remember, “Oh, I passed by that group of shiny Acuras last night. Today, I need to see what they look like in the daylight!”
So here’s the idea: if a study was done on the difference between minimal viable lighting for showrooms and car lots at night, and their current ultra-bright usage, the dealerships could be charged WAY more for any use above the minimum viable amount. Let’s say it might cost a dealership $100,000 more a month to burn all those lights instead of the current cost of maybe $3,000 more.
Each dealership would be charged individually and have its own base vs. ultra-bright rate.
This would be more efficient than a tax. The expenses to get this system going would be a one-time occurrence. A team of contractors could do the study. The power companies would get software created to do the extra fee charging. Those costs would easily be paid for out of the first few month’s savings.
If car dealerships decreased their zillion-kilowatt light shows, we might be able to see the stars again.
Denver already does this for water since we live in a dry high-desert environment.
Sometimes we all need a little push to do the right thing.
Here’s a fresh look at our use of resources, using mustard packets as an example…
When someone picks up too many mustard packets to go with their sandwich, they are causing a whole chain of excess waste:
- It takes labor, fuel, fertilizer, water and wear on farm equipment to grow mustard plants.
- Labor costs, fuel, wear on trucks and roads, wear on trains and tracks, or wear on planes and airports all go into transporting the ingredients for mustard from their sources to the factory.
- There are labor costs, factory space, machines, electricity, water, plastic and much more that go into producing mustard packets.
- Labor costs, fuel and wear on trucks and roads all go into transporting mustard packets from the factory to the distributing warehouse.
- More labor costs, fuel and wear on trucks and roads all go into transporting mustard packets from the distributing warehouse to the restaurant.
- Fuel and wear on vehicles and roads go into transporting mustard packets from the restaurant to your home or office.
You are right in thinking that all of this has to happen whether someone uses one mustard packet or four. But if everyone grabbed just one mustard packet instead of four – or one paper towel instead of four – the whole system would slow down and there would be fewer trucks on the road, less pollution and so on.
Join me in pausing to think about ways we can use just what we need.
During my bicycle ride to work, I pass by a large cemetery with vast green expanses of lawn spread out among scattered memorial benches. (They have a rule against vertical tombstones.)
And they use their own well water to keep the grass a healthy and tranquil green.
But isn’t that water drawn from the same aquifer that surrounding neighborhoods use?
Apparently, when you use your own well water, you can water at the peak of sunshine exposure, when evaporation is at its highest. And you can water however many days a week you like.
Even worse, one neighborhood I ride through irrigates grass along the edges of their roads seven days a week.
The rest of us in suburbia are limited by Denver water authorities to three days a week and no watering between 10 am and 6 pm.
I’m not jealous of this extravagant use of water. But I find it interesting that these rules apply to only one set of users.
Life is always like that – one set of rules for one group and another set for another group – unlimited access to resources for one group and very limited access for another group.
You and I need to just accept this and ride on.
I love taking photos with my iPhone. It’s easy, fast and fun to grab quick pix that will remind me of enjoyable days or quirky stuff I see in this wild world.
But there is a downside – server farms. When people take six photos of something they only really need one of – and store them on the cloud – that’s six times more square footage of server farm needed. And six times more electricity needed to keep them there forever. And six times more hard drives that need to be bought by Amazon, Google or Apple.
So you – please delete those poor quality photos.
Just so that you know I am practicing what I preach, the above photo of a server farm is not hosted on my website. It’s hosted on another website. The article has interesting info that I never knew. (Thanks, Tek-Think. I did click on one of your Google ads as a way of saying that I appreciate the use of your photo.)
And for the really geeky tech people out there, I do know that those crappy photos are probably backed up forever, even if someone deletes them. But if they aren’t uploaded to the cloud before they’re deleted, we’re making some progress.
Also, geeky people, I know that it’s probably not a direct increase of six for 5 additional photos – but you get the idea.