Consider This ...  

Green Tip of the Day:  Calculate your footprint!!  Be aware of your personal impact!!
Below you’ll find links to two different websites.  The first one calculates your ecological footprint, the second your carbon footprint.  You may have taken a carbon footprint quiz before, but an ecological footprint may be a new concept to you.   It’s quite interesting…telling you how much productive land and water you need to support what you use and what you discard.

Green Tip of the Day:  RTC employees take advantage of our Commute Trip Reduction Program!

RTC joined forces with King County Metro to reduce the number of vehicles on our roadways during the morning commute hours (between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.).
  RTC offers Commuter Bonus Plus Vouchers and a Home Free Guarantee to all employees who participate in the CTRP.
  All full-time employees whose shift starts or ends between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. are eligible to participate.
  JUST COMPLETE 12 NON-SINGLE-RIDER COMMUTES PER MONTH, complete a certification sheet (sent out monthly by Nancy Whitney) and turn it in to HRD.
  The vouchers ($30/month) can be used toward payment to purchase goods or services at AAA Washington, Brown Bear Car Wash, Union 76 gas stations, Flexcar, REI and YMCA.
  There are many options for receiving these vouchers: carpool to work, ride the bus, ride your bike, travel by train, or any other commute option that doesn’t involve just one person driving alone.
  Carpoolers who commute from the same household will only receive one set of vouchers each month.
Heck of a deal, right?  Employees save $$ on gas because they are driving less and are then eligible for vouchers worth  $30!!!

Green Tip of the Day: Recycle!

Yes, most of you probably recycle – at least we hope you do.  But even recyclers may occasionally question its true benefits.  So, is recycling worth doing on environmental grounds?  Yes, it is.  Here’s why:

Recycling conserves natural resources.  It also lessens the amount of waste that is buried (landfills take up valuable space and emit methane, a potent greenhouse gas).  The biggest benefit is the savings in energy that results when you recycle a product rather than make it from scratch.

An example: extracting metal from ore is extremely energy-intensive.  Recycling aluminum can reduce energy consumption by as much as 95%.  Savings for other materials are lower but still substantial:

70% for plastics

  60% for steel
  40% for paper
  30% for glass
Other facts for you:

In 1980, America recycled only 9.6% of its waste.  Today that rate stands at 32%.

  Some European countries, such as Austria and the Netherlands, recycle 60% or more of their trash.
  San Francisco boasts a recycling rate of 69% - one of the highest in America.
Source: “The Truth About Recycling.” The Economist. 9 June 2007: 22-26.

Green Tip of the Day: Choose the right bag!

Paper or plastic?  Let’s compare…

Paper Plastic

1 ton of bags = 17 trees

1 ton of bags = 11 barrels of crude oil

14 million trees were cut down in 1999 to supply the U.S. with paper bags There are an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion new plastic bags used every year – manufactured using 12 million barrels of crude oil
20% get recycled 1% get recycled
Ingredients: wood, petroleum and coal Ingredients: natural gas and petroleum
Could biodegrade in as little as a month, but – due to poor landfill design – actually decompose at about the same rate as plastic Decompose in 5 to 1,000 years
Each bag leads to 5.75 pounds of air pollution Each bag results in 1.2 pounds of air pollution; almost 80% less than paper
Generates five times as much solid waste as plastic 40% less energy to manufacture and 91% less energy to recycle than paper

So what’s the answer? Neither. Bring your own bag.  Stores like Fred Meyer, QFC and Walmart are now selling reusable bags for $1 each.  It may take you a little while to get in the habit of remembering to take your bags with you to the store, but once you do, you’ll feel great about the huge amount of waste you’re no longer generating.

Source: De Rothschild, David. Global Warming Survival Handbook. Live Earth, 2007.

Green Tip of the Day: Drive less!

We Americans are terribly addicted to our carbon dioxide emitting cars!  We think nothing of driving to a store a few blocks up the road, and we romanticize long Sunday drives and cross-country road trips.  Without completely overhauling our current mind-set, what are some basic things we can do to cut back on driving?  

Support local business – shop at local stores and eat at nearby restaurants

  Do two things at once – postpone errands until you can take care of two or three at the same time.  And, if possible, park only once and walk to your other errands.  
  Work from home when possible
  Live closer to your job – this can be tough sometimes, especially in areas where the cost of living is high.  But you’ll be happier with less of a commute (more time for the things you really enjoy) and the earth will be happier with you.
  Carpool – when you can!
  If you must drive, and you have two cars….always take the one that gets better fuel efficiency
Source: Langholz, Jeffrey, and Kelly Turner. You Can Prevent Global Warming (and save money!): 51 easy ways. Kansas City, Mo.: Andrews McMeel Pub., 2003.

Green Tip of the Day: Say no to Styrofoam!

It takes 3.2 grams of fossil fuel to make a single Styrofoam coffee cup, and the U.S. makes some three million tons of Styrofoam each year.
  25 billion Styrofoam cups are thrown away by Americans each year.
  Styrofoam will stay around for nine generations, enough time for your great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandkids to be born.
So what can you do?

Ask restaurants to purchase take-out containers made from a different material, one that’s biodegradable.  Wouldn’t you be willing to pay $.20 extra for your dinner to cover the cost of switching to an environmentally-friendly container?

  Praise environmentally-friendly practices when you see them.  Thank you to RTC's Culinary Dean Doug Medbury for purchasing non-Styrofoam to-go containers for the school!!! 
  Use shredded paper for your packaging rather than Styrofoam peanuts.
  Keep a ceramic mug at your desk and use that for your daily coffee, hot chocolate, tea, etc.
  Boycott goods packaged in Styrofoam. 
Source: De Rothschild, David. Global Warming Survival Handbook. Live Earth, 2007.

Green Tip of the Day: Trash-free lunch

If you carry your lunch to work, there’s no need to produce even an ounce of paper or plastic trash.  Go for reusable bags or a lunch bag, pack the individual goodies in sealable containers, and take the whole works home with you at day’s end.

Source: Living Green: 365 Ways to Make a Difference – Page A Day 2008 Calendar. New York: Workman Publishing, [2007].