March 21, 2011 in Features

Do Your Part: Reusable containers great for on the go

Terri Bennett McClatchy

You’ve heard all the excuses: “I’m too busy to go green,” or “It’s too hard to be eco-friendly all the time.”

Trust me, I’m a working mom of two and I know it can be challenging to go green when you’re constantly on the go. However, you can do your part with just a little planning, and the payoff is certainly worth it.

One place where we usually opt for convenience over sustainability is with our food. Think about all the food-related products we casually discard every day: juice boxes, plastic baggies, water bottles, disposable utensils and so much more.

A smarter choice is to invest in reusable containers and utensils. I minimize my investment by purchasing food products packaged in reusable containers that I wash and repurpose.

For example, a yogurt cup with a plastic lid is great for snacks and lunches. And reusable beverage containers come in all shapes and sizes, including ones shaped like a juice box that won’t spill.

Then there’s the actual food to consider. There’s no reason why anyone has to give up on local and organic foods just because they’re too busy to seek them out.

Consider joining what’s called a CSA. Community Supported Agriculture programs allow you to join a local farm and receive a sampling of each season’s bounty. (For more information about local CSAs, see

At home, there are other ways to make it easy on you while going green.

If you install a programmable thermostat, you’ll reduce your heating and cooling needs during those regular times of day when you’re not home.

And rather than trashing reusable items you no longer want, keep a box in the garage or closet where you can toss them. Once the box fills up, drop it off at Goodwill, where they will refurbish, resell or recycle everything from old clothing to cell phones.

This keeps these items out of the landfill, and 80 cents or more of every dollar generated goes into job training programs and employment opportunities where you live.

Once you hit the road, remember to keep those reusable bags handy, too.

These days, you can find eco-friendly (and fabulously fashionable) reusable bag organizers to keep in your car. They hold all different sizes of bags compactly so you’ll always have just the right one when you make that unplanned shopping trip.

Want another way to lessen the time you spend in the car? There are many websites and even phone apps that make it easy to set up carpool plans with other parents or colleagues. They organize the carpool schedule for you and even send out reminders when it’s your turn to drive. You’ll find a few listed at columns.

Going green doesn’t need to be a chore. In fact, when you do your part, you can actually save time and money. Now, who wouldn’t want that?

Terri Bennett is a veteran TV meteorologist, syndicated columnist and host of, where you can find everyday green living ideas that are better for you and the planet. Send questions to

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