It’s happened again: An oil spill, this time near Port Arthur, Texas. According to the U.S. Coastguard, 462,000 gallons of oil spilled into the water when a tanker collided with a towing barge on Saturday. According to an AP article on msnbc.com, crews scrambled to protect two “sensitive wildlife areas” — a lake that is prime breeding ground, and a wildlife management area.
If this latest oil spill has you thinking we need to look for alternatives to oil, get ready to make some changes to do your part to reduce America’s addiction to oil. Whether you go for a big change or keep it simple, every little thing you do sends a message.
20 Ways to Reduce Your Oil Consumption
- Switch to a push mower that is powered by none other than you.
- Plant gardens to reduce the amount of lawn that needs cutting.
- Park the car; walk, bike, and take public transit whenever possible.
- Avoid buying plastic toys and goods when an alternative is available.
- Don’t use plastic bags; stick to cloth reusable bags that can be washed frequently.
- Putting on a new roof this spring? Avoid tar in favor of a tile product (metal or clay).
- Switch to soy-based printing inks (most are petroleum-based).
- Avoid life vests, umbrellas, luggage, and other products made from nylon, a petroleum-based material. Instead, look for alternatives, such as luggage made from recycled plastic (better to reuse what we’ve already processed).
- Ditch nylon and polyester clothing; buy natural fibers instead.
- Wax the floors with beeswax instead of a petroleum-based commercial wax.
- Beware of perfumes made with petrochemicals; look for all-natural scents made with essential oils.
- Next time you have a headache, try a couple of big glasses of water before popping an Aspirin (yep, it too is made with oil products); most headaches are caused by dehydration.
- Craft with natural fibers such as cotton, wool or alpaca rather than polyester yarn.
- Purchase all-natural lip tints or lipstick; typical lipstick and lipgloss are made with oil products.
- Remodeling the bathroom? Glass in your shower and you won’t need a plastic shower curtain.
- Buy beeswax crayons; those Crayolas (and other brands) are made from oil.
- Wear eyeglasses; soft contact lenses are made with petroleum products. (Plastic eyeglass lenses and frame are made with oil, but you’ll wear them a lot longer than most contacts, and you can donate them to charity when you upgrade.)
- Stick with a wood deck. Plastic wood (like all plastics) is made from oil.
- Embrace your natural hair color, or choose an all-natural hair color alternative such as henna.
- Make boo-boos better with natural plant antiseptics, such as St. John’s Wort, lavender, tea tree oil, or eucalyptus; many commercial brands contain oil products.
Check out the 10 most surprising places to find petroleum.
By Cara Smusiak, Planet Green