Do It Green! Minnesota's Go Green Tips
Throughout April, the Timberwolves’ FastBreak Foundation focused on raising awareness for environmental causes and highlighting eco-friendly efforts in the community through Think Green Month.
Do It Green! Minnesota is a Minneapolis-based organization that was honored at the April 5 home game against the Pistons. The organization was founded by executive director/programs director Ami Voeltz 13 years ago as Voeltz envisioned helping others understand eco-friendly exercises as she herself hoped to begin a greener lifestyle. According to doitgreen.org, it has developed into a core team of more than 100 volunteers who strive to educate Minnesotans about green and sustainable living while promoting building a healthy, local community through three objectives:
- The printed guidebook Do It Green! Magazine and their website, www.doitgreen.org (Their guidebooks are sold at select retail locations, donated to schools, libraries and non-profits and available free for low-income households)
- A public resource center open seven days a week
- Do It Green! Directory of green businesses in Minnesota
Voeltz said she’s lived in rural communities as well as densely populated areas, and when she moved back to Minnesota 13 years ago she wanted to try and make an impact.
“I realize how much waste can happen in a more urban area,” she said. “I came back to Minnesota very motivated in trying to change my environmental footprint, and when I was doing that I realized it was difficult to find those types of resources.”
Do It Green! Minnesota has a collection of tips on how to create a more eco-friendly environment. Here are a few ways that we can reduce our waste and help conserve our resources.
The problem: The average Minnesotan produces 6 lbs of waste each day, which equals 2,000 lbs per year.
What you can do:
- 75 percent of our trash is recyclable. Paying attention to the type of packaging your food comes in can help. Glass and aluminum are both recyclable all the time, while plastics are a little more tricky. Plastics can be tricky, but there is a scale used to help guide you in what can or can’t be recycle. “There is probably more that is recyclable than you think,” Voeltz said.
- 15 percent of our garbage is food waste and is compostable. Thinking about what you buy at the grocery store can not only create a healthier meal but can also reduce your waste. Fruits and vegetables can be disposed of in compost bins.
The average American uses 350 gallons of water each day, which equals 128,000 gallons per year
What you can do:
- Turn faucet off when brushing your teeth saves 5-10 gallons per day.
- Install a faucet aerator on your bathroom and kitchen sink as well as water-saving shower heads.
- Install a toilet tummy in your toilet tanks saves 5-10 gallons per day. Voeltz said it can be as simple as a soda bottle filled with water. Its presence allows less water to fill the tank.
The average Minnesotan has 30-40 electronics plugged in all the time, and they are always using electricity
What you can do:
- Plug your entertainment center into power strips, and then turn them off when you are not using them. The power strips not only stop the flow of electricity, but it also helps save you money on your energy bill.
- You can save $30/year alone just by putting your computer on sleep mode when you’re not using it. “A lot of people think when the computer goes black, it’s in sleep mode,” Voeltz said. “But you have to tell it to sleep.”
- Replacing your light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL’s) uses 75 percent less electricity and lasts 7-10 times longer than an incandescent bulb.
Voeltz likes to challenge people to walk or bike to places that are less than three miles away. That’s a good baseline test to see if you enjoy getting the exercise while you commute as well as decreasing your carbon footprint. When it comes to your work commute, Do It Green! Minnesota’s website has ideas on how to find a more eco-friendly approach.