Superstition & my blue box

Superstition: irrational belief; a widely held but unjustified idea of the effects or nature of a thing. (Oxford Canadian Dictionary)

I’m not sure when the last time a coincidence like this has happened—our 13th issue of the year has fallen on Friday the 13th. Remarkable enough, especially for those who are superstitious. And although I don’t directly count myself as a superstitious person, there is one quality that I exhibit to a degree of superstition—and that is my role within our environment, so I was surprised to see the Journal’s Green Supplement appearing in this issue. Personally, I’m a bit superstitious about my blue box. If I don’t recycle everything that is possible, I feel horrible about it. I fear that if I don’t recycle, I’ll be wading through garbage in the streets by the time I’m 35. Although I’m questioned sometimes with, “Do you actually think that one can is going to make a difference?” The thing is, I don’t know if my actions are going to make a difference, but I do know that by not recycling, the situation isn’t getting any better. So I don’t mind spending half an hour every Tuesday night flattening pizza boxes.

I think people sometimes feel that preventative environmental measures, like recycling, are too alienating. What I mean is that after I toss a can into a blue box, I can’t imagine how much it’s going to improve our environment. And I believe a lot of people feel like I do--unsure of how their contributions are helping. So, on this day of leaning ladders and unlucky numbers, I wanted to share seven ideas that I think could be incorporated into your lifestyle without too much effort or damage to your wallet, and that would visibly change your immediate environment:

1. Compact fluorescent bulbs: These lighting gems use an astounding 75 per cent less energy and last about eight times longer than a standard incandescent bulb. Although they cost a bit more, you’ll save money on only changing it once every few years.

2. Dimmer switches: Something you might want to bug your landlord about, dimmer switches give you the ability to control the level of brightness in your bedroom, in turn controlling the amount of energy you use. And it will up your romantic quotient—because everyone looks great in soft lighting.

3. A&P blue bags: This past summer, A&P introduced grocery bags that can be used repeatedly. Made of sturdy fibers and costing about a buck, these bags can support about fifty pounds.

4. Buying locally: By buying local produce and other goods, you essentially save on transport and refrigeration costs that would have been involved with food travel, which is why I think the indoor student farmers market, opening on Monday in the JDUC, is such a great idea.

5. Plastic your windows: Not the most glamorous of options, and somewhat like living in a plastic bubble, covering your windows in plastic cuts down on drafts and saves you money on your utility bills.

6. Use a travel mug: By bringing your own mug, you save another ending up in the trash. And most coffee shops like the incentive and will offer you a discount on your morning brew.

7. Composting: Composting is probably the most proactive idea on this list, which is why I left it to lucky number seven. Vermicomposts provide a student-friendly option for composting. They use worms to breakdown organic waste and you can store it in your kitchen. This is especially useful when you consider that, on average, 40 percent of household garbage is food waste.

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