How Earth Friendly Are You?

The protection of Earth’s vitality, diversity,
and beauty is a sacred trust.”
Earth Charter


Each of the ten statements below is a general statement related to our lifestyle. Try to describe your current choices.
Answers range from:
 1  5  10
Never Sometimes Always

Read the 10 statements below. In the adjacent box, write the number corresponding to your answer. E.g. ‚ 1= Never. When you finish, add the numbers to get a score.

Questions Answers
I take my own cloth bag or used plastic or paper bags when going to the grocery store. 1. _____________
I eat in places that use washable dinnerware rather than disposables. 2. _____________
I purchase products that allow me to use refillable, returnable containers. 3. _____________
I purchase pre-owned clothing, furniture, and household items from a consignment or thrift store. 4. _____________
I find ways, both at work and home, to recycle computers, cell phones, and other electronic and toxic waste. 5. _____________
I choose aluminum or glass over plastic wherever there is a choice. 6. _____________
I use chlorine-free paper with at least 50% “post-consumer waste” content. 7. _____________
I use the library rather than purchase newspapers, magazines, books, and AV material. 8. _____________
When I move or do a major household cleanup, I make every effort to recycle items to prevent them from going into the dumpster. 9. _____________
I make every effort to avoid buying over-packaged products and let companies know that I will not buy over-packaged products. 10. _____________
Score of 20 -69? See tips.
Score of 70+? See resources for ongoing learning.

Tips for Living More Lightly

  1. Consider the question-paper or plastic?  Producing plastic uses less energy and water and generates less air pollution and solid waste than paper. Plastic bags take up less space in the land fill but most of them end up in trees, fences, gutters, sewers, and waterways.  The best alternative is to carry and re-use your own durable cloth bag.
  2. Consider the fact that the average use-life span of plastic dinnerware is about three minutes and a geological life of over a century.  Eating in restaurants that use washable dishware is even more environmentally friendly than eating at home.
  3. Do all you can do to keep containers from the landfill.  The three Rs of waste reduction are reduce, reuse (refurbish and repair), and recycle.
  4. First ask, “Do I really need this?” Second, where can I purchase this second hand?  Third, buy quality goods that last.
  5. Use your zip code on the Earth 911 website.  Learn local opportunities for keeping all kinds of things out of the land fill.
  6. Choose aluminum or glass over plastic.  Most of the plastic you recycle does not actually get recycled, whereas recycling aluminum saves 90% of the energy cost of production and reduces 95% of the air pollution and 97% of the water pollution.  Recycling glass saves 50% of the raw materials, 50% of the water, and 33% of the energy and it reduces air pollution by 20%.  Using refillable bottles saves four times the energy of using new bottles and 100% on materials.
  7. Post consumer recycling not only saves trees but reduces the energy used in paper making by 50% and air pollution by 74% and water pollution by 35%.
  8. Reduce your junk mail.  Paper has three major environmental impacts: destruction of forests, dioxin production in chlorine bleaching, and disposal in landfills (approximately 40% of landfill waste). For every 150 pounds of paper you reduce, reuse, or recycle you save a tree.
  9. Plan ahead for major projects.  Home projects and cleanups generate huge amounts of waste.  Think what can be sold, donated, and recycled before taking it to the landfill
  10. Packaging accounts for about 60% of the paper in landfills and about 25% of the total landfill space.  Americans produce more than twice the landfill waste as other first world countries such as Germany and Japan.


EarthScore: Your Personal Environmental Audit & Guide ISBN 0-9629069-6-4 (Source for tips 2, 6, 7, 8, and 10)

The Consumers Guide to Effective Environmental Choices, The Union of Concerned Scientists, ISBN:0-609-80281-X

Recycle your cell phone