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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Being Green

How easy is it being green? Let us tell you a few things we have done in Alaska to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Our intent was not to be more eco-conscious, but our choices have been made as a way to cut many expenses.

First, we traveled without a car. The reasons were due more to time constraints (the long drive and the wait for passports) than to cost. When we arrived at the airport, we hired a taxi, because we had no idea where our inn was located, and none of the complimentary transports went there. We have used the taxi only two other times since then: our first day of work, again because we had no idea where we were going, and to get to work on the weekend when the community ride did not operate. The other days we have worked we used the community ride in the morning, and walked back to the inn in the evening. We also used the community ride twice to do grocery shopping. For everything else we have walked. Even if one could not do so much walking, the community ride operates during the week from morning to evening. Taxis are always available and quick to respond since the city has so few roads. Bikes can be rented, most of the roads have designated bike lanes, and there are bike racks almost everywhere.

Second, we traveled without any tablewear or cookwear. The inn has a microwave oven and a mini fridge. Since the cost of dining is so expensive, we would have to eat most meals at the inn. We bought fruits and vegetables, but we would need to prepare some meals as well. Our first meal was a microwaveable dinner which came in a plastic tray. Washed and reused, these trays have been used to warm, cook, and serve everything else. The inn provided two pastic cups, from which we have drank, and bottles of water which we have refilled. We also added larger cups from a lunch at the local fast food restaurant. Though we purchased a small box of plastic utensils, we also have acquired those from the lunch. A package of napkins serves all purposes of wrapping and wiping. The meat and fruit we needed were packaged in containers and bags that we emptied and reused to store foods in and carry them to work.

Third, we traveled with several canvas bags. These serve as our tote bags to carry groceries, but also on our walks to bring along water, sandwiches, camera and binoculars, and anything else we might want to have with us.

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