Three Easy to Avoid Environmental Sins

FabMo's mission spells it out: we want to be good stewards of the earth.

FabMo promotes and encourages good stewardship of the earth by diverting discontinued designed fabrics, tiles, wallpapers and other similar materials from landfills, making them available to all interested persons and inspiring creative reuse.

Good stewardship of the earth goes beyond reusing discontinued materials and extends to generally generating less waste that ends up in the landfill and utilizing resources responsibly.

This doesn't have to be difficult and time consuming and in many cases is just a matter of habit.

Here are three easy ways to live up to FabMo's mission every day:

Turning off the water while brushing teeth

Clean water is a resource that is way too precious to flush it down the drain for no good reason. Turning off the faucet while you brush saves a LOT of water. Here is my back of the envelop calculation:

Let's assume - optimistically, maybe - that everybody in the US brushes their teeth twice a day for 2 minutes. That makes 4 minutes at a rate of approx. 2 gallons per minute so 8 gallons per day. With roughly 325 Mio people in the US (I already reduced the number somewhat to account for the toothless little ones) that amounts to 2.6 billion gallons of water - per day or almost a trillion gallons per year.

No idea how much that is? I didn't either, so I looked it up and the answer is shocking: 20% more water than Mono Lake holds.

But even if you look at it less broadly: just for you that means you can save 2920 gallons of water a year - water that you don't use at all, that simply is wasted while you brush. To avoid wasting it, all you have to do is push that lever down or turn that faucet off.

Totally worth it.

Eating less meat

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I know, that's a hard one, especially with family members like my son, who just loves his meats, likes his pasta and abhors anything green. A vegetarian or vegan diet isn't for everybody but a less meat is doable. Here is why this is important: numbers vary by source but the gist is clear, it takes an enormous amount of water to produce the meat we eat. PETA says 2,500 gallons per pound of beef, a lower number I saw was 1,800,  576 gallons for pork but only 108 for corn.

Let's be conservative here: 3 pounds per meat per person per week, pork and beef in equal amounts. That uses 3564 gallos of water, per week and round about 185,300 gallons per year. At 2 gallons per minute flow rate this is enough to shower 64 days non-stop.

Not using single-use beverage containers - ever

Nope! Never!

Nope! Never!

There is really no excuse for single use coffee cups anymore. Beautiful, sturdy and reusable ones are available everywhere, most likely including your favorite coffee shop. If not, just tell a friend or family member that you need one, they'll be delighted to have a gift idea for you. If my experience is any indication, word will spread and you'll end up with some spares.

The single-use ones, even the ones that are allegedly biodegradable or compostable are often not, or at least 100% so they end up contaminating the compostable matter. One of the main issues is that these cups are generally made from complex mixtures of paper and plastic which makes them pretty much unrecyclable - they end up in the landfill, in the ocean, or as CO2 in the atmosphere.

A reusable mug is really a no-brainer esp. when you don't rinse it out using several gallons of hot running water but simply wash it with the other dishes.

Three easy and pain-free ways to be a better steward of the earth.

Tina Baumgartner