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10 for 2010

Ten eco-pledges for the New Year 

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1. Occasionally I break the law and toss a particularly disgusting cat food can in the trash. I won't do it again, so, City of Durham, please don't fine me. That goes for oily peanut butter jars, too. I will conquer my aversion to touching slime.

2. I will compost more: I'm a vegetarian, so our household has an ample supply of kale stems, orange rinds, potato peels, onion ends, etc. I'll build a simple compost pile to keep food out of the landfill. And I promise to turn the slimy pile.

3. I will further reduce my use of bottled water. My fear of BPA has already dented my use of plastic, but I'm going to swear off the stuff altogether. Instead, I'll give my Brita filter a workout and, for traveling, store my water in a stainless steel bottle—my version of a camel's hump.

4. Speaking of water, I'll finally fix the leaky bathtub faucet, whose slow drip is wasting probably about 10 gallons a day.

5. I'll try to convince my husband not to set the dishwasher on "Heated Dry," which wastes energy. I cannot promise that he will do it.

6. Unless it's dangerous (for example, walking at night along roads without sidewalks), I won't drive anywhere within one mile of home. Recently I strolled a mile to the wine store and found $5 on the ground on the way back.

7. I will use that $5 to ride public transit more often (especially now that Durham has hybrid buses), even if it is not as convenient as driving.

8. I will unearth my reel mower and use it to mow the lawn, instead of the gas version that I hate because the fumes and noise give me a headache. I will refuse to care if my lawn is not as well groomed as my neighbors'.

9. I will finally haul the dozens of spent alkaline batteries, the broken TV and the burned-out compact fluorescent light bulbs to the hazardous-waste facility.

10. I have socks from the Clinton administration. I still wear pants I bought at a thrift store in 1988—and they were 20 years old then. But I do have a weakness for new Levi's. I'll try to develop a weakness for used Levi's.

  • 10 for 2010

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