a boots-on-the-ground view of the change that's a-foot

Preserve the Planet – Take the (Easy) steps

by Tao Oliveto, Carrboro, NC

Ok, this one is a no-brainer. Really. If we can’t at least do this, the rest of our efforts are doomed. I mean it. It’s one thing to struggle through the harder changes – like no A/C in August or giving up your car. But we can and should all do the easy stuff – don’t we owe that much to the planet and ourselves?

For instance, we all brush our teeth – every last one of us. Heck, some of us (including me – surprise!) brush our pet’s teeth. So, it stands to reason that if we all recycled our toothbrushes, it would make a difference, right? (Not too mention all those non-recyclable tubes of toothpaste – more on that later!)

Well, for now you can at least recycle your toothbrush and it’s really, really easy. Recycline makes the Preserve Toothbrush – a great product that is both environmentally and functionally friendly (I’ve used them for years and can say that first- hand). Recycline has it covered – they create these toothbrushes (and razors) from recycled polypropylene and the packaging they come in is also made from recycled material. Then they take them back and recycle them again – bristles and all, turning this reinforced material into plastic lumber.

Recycline makes this process very Easy by providing you with a pre-paid envelope which you can simply drop in the mailbox. Each envelope will hold several old brushes and their containers, so I store mine under the sink and then just drop them in the mail when full after several months. This company has been in the Green from the get-go and they are currently a semi-finalist in “Boost Your Business” contest. To add your vote, go here.

This makes me think about other easy changes we could all make – I’m talking REALLY Easy changes – no sacrifice necessary. Hey, I know things are more serious than that – we also need the big stuff to happen – like alternative energy and fuels, large-scale water conservation, more organic farming, and regulations for big business. But the little things matter – karma-wise and otherwise. It is the smaller things that we do daily that can stoke the fire of change within ourselves and others and provide growing awareness of how we live and why – creating a new/old perspective.

I’ll start a list of Easy changes below. I’ve done all of them – damn easily. Please add to my list and I will promise to try anything I haven’t yet done.

Change one (or many) lightbulbs to CFL’s

Turn the lights off

Use rags instead of paper towels

Give up using napkins (bring your own reusables)

Give up plastic bags (bring your own reusables)

Turn down the heat and the A/C

Wash clothes less often and use cold water

Hang dry

No lawn, less lawn and/or push mow

Buy less (or nothing) new

Buy sustainable stuff

Buy organic

Buy fair trade


Give up bottled water

Bring your own drinking bottles and coffee mugs

Use only biodegradable cleaning and body products

Use bar soap instead of bottled soap

Navy showers

Join your local co-op

Fill your car tires with nitrogen

Don’t wash your car

Grow herbs and/or vegetables


Drive less


Watch less (or no) TV

Read magazines and pay bills online

Walk or bicycle to any destination under 1 – 2 miles

Adopt a pet from a shelter

Reuse, recycle, rebuild, restore, restyle, rethink

Buy recycled office supplies

Don’t idle your car – ever

Support local businesses

Wash dishes by hand (with the faucet OFF)

Share tools

Give consumables as gifts and don’t use gift wrap

Fly less

Eat Less Meat

Eat Local Foods

Consolidate and/or share your car trips

Host a “Stuff Swap” with friends

Tell a friend

Tags: , , , ,

7 Responses to “Preserve the Planet – Take the (Easy) steps”

  1. phyllis diehl Says:

    ok, i do not do all on the list. but, to my surprise, i have done a lot this year. and still working on some more. thanks for teaching me, thanks for reminding me…thanks for being you!!!! p.s. new year goal, to do all.

  2. The Tao of Change » Blog Archive » DIY Toothpaste - no tube required Says:

    […] Contact « Preserve the Planet – Take the (Easy) steps […]

  3. Mary Says:

    Couple of others to add, plan errands in a ‘circle’ to avoid back tracking, host clothing, book and stuff swaps for children and adults.

  4. Sami Grover Says:

    Awesome list Tracey – I’d add Eat Less Meat too. That can make a huge impact – beef has got to be one of the most resource intensive foods around. Steak still tastes good, but I try to eat it less often, eat less of it when I do, and to buy local, grass fed, organic etc to boot.

  5. tao Says:

    Thanks everyone! Namaste to your efforts and ideas. To my Easy Steps list, I will add:

    Eat Less Meat (I was vegetarian for years and now eat only local meat occasionally)
    Consolidate Car Trips (been there, do this!)
    Host a “Stuff Swap” (I have not done this yet, but will now and keep you posted!)

  6. The Tao of Change » Blog Archive » Sacrifice is the New Black Says:

    […] the present and future? In actuality, it’s really only extreme convenience that we need to sacrifice and somehow, this kind of convenience always, but always, has a […]

  7. The Tao of Change » Blog Archive » Bathroom Greening 101 Says:

    […] Preserve toothbrushes and razors are made from recycled materials and you can send them back to the company (postage paid) to be recycled again. There are plenty of chemical-free toothpastes out there, but if you are tired of throwing out non-recyclable tubes, you can make your own. […]

Leave a Reply

THE TAO OF CHANGE [the way of a better world]

brought to you by The Change, a strategy and design agency with an agenda to change the world