Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tip2: 3R The Plastic Shopping Bags

This is the most simplest thing you can do to help the environment.

When I was growing up in India, it was a common practice for everybody to use re-usable shopping bags - mostly made of cloth. It has now become common place everywhere for retailers to pack shopped goods in nice plastic shopping bags - the bags serve the purpose of advertising, establishing brand image and providing convenience to customers. Now everybody is used to "not using" re-usable shopping bags.

But remember the adage "OLD is GOLD"? Some old practices are rather golden. These days most retailers are promoting the use of re-usable shopping bags. Where I live, retailers are selling and trying to promote the use of re-usable shopping bags. The bags are cheap (about a dollar) and the one time investment will go a long way in helping reduce the amount of plastic filling the land-fills.

Other ways to reduce the use of plastic bags & re-use them:
1. If you are in the store and buying only one or two items - ask the cashier not to bag the item and hand carry it.
2. If you don't have your re-usable bag with you - ask for a paper bag if you absolutely need a bag.
3. I usually have a couple of extra plastic bags in my car. In case I forget my re-usable bag or my re-usable bag is full, I re-use the plastic bags in my car.
4. It is a common practice for many to re-use the plastic shopping bags as trash can liners.

Recycle used shopping bags:
Do not throw plastic shopping bags in the trash can. Most retailers now accept used plastic bags and recycle them. Check for your local options to recycle used plastic shopping bags.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hooked to "24"

I am a big fan of action and suspense thrillers - who isn't?

One of my friends mentioned the show 24 and I watched the season premiere on the 10th, and now I am hooked to the show. If you haven't watched 24 before, each season is one story unraveling in 24 hours. The season has 24 episodes and each episode shows what happens in one hour of a consecutive 24-hour time period. The main plot is the lead character Jack Bauer (played by Keifer Sutherland), a counter-terrorism agent, solving a high profile terrorism plot.

After watching some exciting movies, like The Bourne Series, I always craved for more at the end of the movie and wanted them to last longer. Finally this show is quenching my thirst with a 24-episode long story. It will be an agonizing wait between episodes though. But I can watch the six previous seasons. I just ordered the first season in the local library and it will help me with the wait between the current season's weekly episodes.

If you are a sucker for action and suspense thrillers, you wouldn't want to miss this show.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Tip1: Reduce Junk Mail

This tip applies only to US Residents.

US Residents are very familiar with the clutter in their mailbox from credit card companies, insurance agencies, retailers and other service providers with "pre-approved" offers of credit and what not. You can opt-out from receiving these unsolicited mails by filling in an electronic opt-out form at this website - You have choices to opt out for 5 years or permanently for life. The website also provides an option to opt-in in case you want to get those offers again.

This has a two-fold use:
1. You are reducing paper waste
2. You are minimizing the chances of identity theft. Think of all the pre-approved offers ending in the garbage/recycle can only for somebody else to find out your personal information on them.

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year Resolution?

Up until the point I was writing my previous post, I did not have a new year resolution. Every year I make a resolution to exterminate the "procrastination" bug without results and I still am the same old lazy self. So I quit making that same resolution every year. However, I came up with a different resolution this year - to promote the 3Rs "Reduce, Reuse and Recycle" - to pass the message around as much as I can. If I can make at least one person to take up the 3Rs I will consider myself successful.

Since I made this resolution public now, I hope I will make an effort to live up to it.

So, if my 3R postings make you think about 3Rs, please do drop a line in the comments section or write to me. If you have suggestions/criticisms, I am open for them as well.

You may write to me at mvsagar(at)

Reduce, Reuse & Recycle

Are you practicing the 3Rs - Reduce, Reuse & Recycle?

... if not, it is high time you start doing that. In recent times I have noticed an increased awareness among people. Many organizations are practicing and actively promoting the value of being environment friendly. In almost all advanced countries, the local municipalities (or other organizations) provide means to recycle. It is everybody's responsibility to make our Earth a better place to live for our children. Some don't even bother to make an effort to recycle - be it laziness or be it the thought that it wouldn't make a difference in their lifetime. True, it probably won't make a drastic difference in our lifetime, we will still live and die in a world where waste - toxic or otherwise wouldn't be "our" major concern in our busy life. But I guess it is our moral responsibility to help reduce the waste pile-up and make sure our children do not inherit a toxic living place. Give it a thought, do you want your children to go through the trouble of cleaning up the mess YOU made?

Growing up, I am sure most of you came across this story (or a similar one). Here it is to jog your memory, pardon my poor narrative skills. Once upon a time, a king finds a wise old man planting seeds for a fruit tree. The king asks the old man why he is planting it at his age when he will never be able to enjoy its fruits in his lifetime. The old man replies that he is planting it for others to enjoy the fruits, saying they were lucky to grow up in a world of trees and plants providing sustenance only because their ancestors planted them. The king appreciates the wise old man and gifts him a bag of gold coins to which the old man promptly replies that the yet-to-be-tree has already given him fruits.

Hopefully it is now not lost on you to be responsible and start practicing the 3Rs. Wise old men told stories like these to make us realize how we can make a difference. I hope this makes you think about recycling. To some who might say they can't recycle where they live, they still can practice the first 2Rs - Reduce and Reuse.

In my future posts, I will list a few things I do (and you could too) to practice 3Rs.