Community Clean-Up in Heidelberg 2014

5Fridays

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Photo 23.03.14 10 04 19What comes to your mind, when you hear the term “spring cleaning”? Cleaning your house or apartment more thoroughly than usual, e.g. also behind the cupboard? At least that’s what came to my mind when I first heard about Spring Cleaning a.k.a. “Community Clean-Up” in Heidelberg.

What it turned out to be was that you meet moderately early (10am is early on a weekend, isn’t it?) with a bunch of locals at an announced location, get a warning vest, gloves, a plastic bag and a gripper. And then you set off and collect garbage. We did this twice during this year’s clean-up (it almost seems to be a tradition here for at least a couple of years): first up in the locals woods around Köningstuhl and the second time in the new district next to our own.

Photo 29.03.14 11 17 07When we were out there picking up cigarette butts (smokers really aren’t tidy people, are they? Seriously, there were so many of those “bastards”, as my wife called them … we’re talking about the cigarette butts 😉 ), glass bottles and trash from the local fast food restaurant, people asked us if we were workers from the town council or – half joking? – if we were doing community service. True, it looked very much like the tasks you would have to do as a punishment. And we were very much tempted to say something like “Yeah, I got caught throwing a cigeratte butt on the street … it was either this or paying a big fine …”. We didn’t but well, next year maybe … Anyway, just to avoid any misunderstanding: we were volunteers!

It is definitely a good exercise – it opens your eyes to the trash flying around on the streets. And that way, one is more aware of the garbage on the streets. Looking on the ground for about two hours and scanning it for candy wrappers and the ever present cigarette butts does that to you.

All in all, it was definitely a lot of fun and I’m sure we’ll be taking part again next year!

Photos from slideshow taken from Heidelberg city website.
Source: Frühjahrsputz 2014 in Heidelberg

Do you have something similar in the area where you live?
Have a look in your area, help keeping the streets clean and join the fun!

New Year’s ECO Resolutions

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Image: dreamstime

Manage your waste
Separate your garbage at home. Reuse what you can, send those that can be recycled to recycling plants, and collect organic waste for compost. By managing your waste properly, you will be able to send only those meant for landfills.

Make do with things you already have
Buy less crap. Next time you go out shopping, resist the temptation of purchasing trinkets, thingamabobs and what sits you only find cute but really don’t have any use for at all. Instead, make do of things you already have.

Go for organic food
When doing grocery, go for produce from local farmers. Local produce reduces the need for transporting food. It’s healthy for you and the environment.

Get a reusable bag
A reusable bag when going shopping not only is it convenient (carrying all your grocery in a single bag), it also lessens plastic bags that end up in the trash every minute.

Switch to energy-saving appliances
You can start by switching to energy-saving appliances. Check the energy label – more stars means more energy efficient.

Line dry your washed clothes
Instead of using the dryer, line dry newly washed clothes and sheets. It saves electricity and forces you to exercise altogether.

Choose safer cleaning products
When purchasing cleaning materials, choose those with ingredients that have less impact on the environment and human health. You can also choose those with recyclable packaging to reduce garbage.

Green up your work space
Commit  to turning off electronics in your office every night.  Have your whole department do this for maxium impact.

Green your ride
Evaluate how you currently get to work each day and make a pledge to reduce your impact.  If you can ride the bus, bike, walk, or car pool, make this pledge.

Never buy bottled water again
Trade your bottled water habit for an at-home filtering pitcher; pair it with a reusable bottle

Brew your own Fair Trade coffee
Carrying your own coffee in an insulated travel mug helps you reduce waste from cardboard cups and carrying sleeves.

Cut back on paper towels
Invest in a few cotton cloths and some fabric napkins; then drop them in the wash when you run a load of laundry. Using the cloth alternatives is just as easy as using the paper versions.

Become a weekend vegetarian
Cutting meat out of your diet just two days a week can decrease your carbon footprint by about 1/3 of a ton — and coming up with meat-free meals for Saturday and Sunday isn’t as hard as it sounds. Try pancakes and fruit for breakfast; fresh salads or roasted vegetable sandwiches for lunch; and veggie pizza, bean soups, and creamy risottos for dinner. And since doubling a recipe rarely adds any time to your prep work, you can make extras to eat throughout the week (and trim your carbon footprint even more).

Replace your lightbulbs
Replacing your lightbulbs with compact fluorescent lights may be the ultimate change for the eco-slacker.

Sources:
GreenBlog
Naspa
Mother Nature Network

More Ideas:
Times Union
Green Moxie
Healthy Voyager
Eco Women