I don't think anyone likes to hear the phrase "do as I say, not as I do." But when you find yourself in the advice-giving business, as I now seem to be, it can be hard to have all of your own habits aligned with the practices you know are best for the planet. Take composting, for example. Although I live in an apartment with no yard, I knew that San Francisco offered a green-cart program for just such folks; that is, a bin to collect food scraps and yard trimmings that gets picked up along with your recycling one. The only problem? My building didn't have a green bin, and as a renter, I was a little bit reluctant to rock the boat. So I was totally gratified when I finally broached the subject with my landlord and he enthusiastically took it up with the homeowners' association. Now I've got a little green bin under my sink for food scraps--though truthfully, I don't cook much, so it's mostly full of coffee grounds--and a big one out back to empty it into. It was that easy.
Another little victory I had recently was figuring out what to do with the many promotional CDs and DVDs (not the fun kind with music or movies on them, which can usually find a new home) that often now accompany press releases. Green Citizen, a computer recycler just down the street from my office, happily took them--and some old floppy disks I'd been carting around for years--with a promise to demanufacture these items into their recyclable components without sending them overseas to developing countries with few environmental or safety standards. Got your own heap of obsolete electronic items lying around? Find a responsible recycler in your area through the Computer TakeBack Campaign. And let me know what new environmental accomplishments you're reveling in lately.