Tuesday, March 15, 2011

SLOW is the (green) way to go...

OK. It's been a while since I got real and shared a green confession. But here goes.

My biggest hurdle to sticking with my e-conscious way of living is the speed at which I go through life.

And I'm not just talking about the fact that it pains me to go 55-60 miles per hour on the highway even though I KNOW that is going to reap the best rewards in terms of gas mileage. I set the cruise to 59 and SLOW down until I realize I'm five minutes late to my time management meeting (only slightly kidding)!

Why is it so hard to slow down?! It's why I have scratches on almost every single one of my fingers and my ankles (I nearly ran over my entire foot today rolling a shelving cart in the library!). I hit the ground running. I've always been this way. And I'm not alone. We are moving SO fast these days.

I remember my parents sitting me down when I was in elementary school, explaining to me that I need to SLOW DOWN and listen to ALL the directions. My teachers were saying I get up and run away mid-sentence. "Like right now!" I remember my exasperated parents saying mid-lecture. I was getting up to go back outside to play.

I get things done by rushing. It's the reason I'm able to be a library assistant, then a mom, then Betty. Case in point I wait until the last minute to think about what is for dinner and end up buying a farm-raised fish --on the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch list, yes -- but it's been flown halfway across the globe, for Earth's sake!

I cut corners, I pause through stop signs, I forget to sign the homework, and I let unmended clothes pile up. I'm not proud of it, but would I really be here as Bettty if I didn't?

All rationalizing aside, tonight I'm slowing down.

Once again it comes from the prompting of my favorite eco-inspirations in the world: one of my adorable sons.

"Mom, you said you would sew that weeks ago!"

"Yup. Pinky promise - I'm doing it tonight."

So I dig out the needle and thread and here I sit, sewing the cuff of my son's favorite jacket (a hand me down from his older friend Stephen) and planning the next few meals deliberately, slowly, consciously so I can actually slip into hugging the tree instead of slamming into it head first. Aaaahhhh. That's better.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Charge it! With Betty's help...

Charging ahead

Whether you have one in your watch, cell phone, wall clock or TV remote, a collection of batteries of all shapes and sizes is at work in your home.
This month Betty provides the 411 on battery use and disposal.

The average American throws away eight household batteries per year, which some say is fine for landfills, but considering all batteries contain heavy metals, the truth is they should be recycled. The acid can be reused and the rest is melted down to scrap metal or converted to a new battery, making them 100 percent recyclable.

Which kind?

Rule of thumb for alkaline batteries (AA, AAA, D, etc.): In low-tech items (remote controls and smoke detectors), single use are a better choice because they drain slowly and last longer. For high-tech items, definitely use rechargeables.

Prolonging battery life

. Do not return a fully charged battery to the charger.
. Let discharged battery cool to room temp before recharging.
. Recharge batteries when almost fully discharged.
. Don't leave them charging for prolonged periods.
. Refrigerating batteries extends their shelf life (but let batteries
reach room temperature before using).


For household rechargeables and NiCad (nickel cadmium), try Batteries Plus, Staples and Best Buy, since McIntire no longer accepts them. Most cell phone retailers take phone batteries (made of lithium ion) for recycling. Lead acid-filled car batteries can be recycled at Auto Zone or other auto retailers. Button cell batteries (found in wall clocks and wristwatches) contain silver oxide and therefore are designated hazardous waste and legally cannot be trashed, so wait for the next household hazardous waste day. For more battery information and locations call 1-877-2-RECYCLE (www.call2recycle.org).