Kermit sure had it right - it DEFINITELY is not easy being "green", especially in a career that requires marketing (translation: lots and lots of paper), driving (translation: showings, fuel consumption), electronic tools (translation: computers, cell phones, PDA's). So as an admittedly un-green realtor, what can I do, both personally and professionally, to color me green? I posted this article a couple of years ago, and in reading through, it realize not much has changed! In honor of "Earth Day", I am recycling this blog!
I'll be honest - I am not "green". Heck, I'm not even in the color spectrum of green, or olive, or pea soup. But I admit it - it is time. So this is a great chance to do a little research and see what simple steps I can take, without turning everyday life upside down.
Step 1: take a look around the house. See all the mail piled up on the table? Get off the mailing list of every credit card company out there! I don't know about you, but the amount of paper that enters my house on a daily basis is substantial. Here is a link you can visit to get off the mailing lists: https://www.dmachoice.org/dma/member/regist.action
Take a minute to read through the page - there is a lot of useful information there that you can implement. And don't forget folks - we are guilty of contributing to that mass of paper. I know I am....so a take a careful look and review your mailing list. I can't tell y ou how many other agents send me Just Listed flyers - or a free CMA coupon. Newsflash: I can do my own market analysis, thank you anyway!
Step 2: think about composting. I used to get annoyed when my husband would set up a little bucket on the kitchen counter and start tossing things in. He had the right idea - but the bad thing was, he just didn't research it. He figured a few days, take it out to the bin he built outside - well, think about it - ugh, it would start to smell! Obviously, it comes down to not being lazy. A smaller container, one that is taken to a bin daily would make more sense. Composting is an important step - but for reasons different than I originally thought. Here's what I found out at this link: http://www.resourceconservation.mb.ca/cap/why.html . It states that over 35% of household waste is compostable! That number is extraordinary! I always thought one should compost to enrich the soil for a garden, and that was the main redeeming value of it. The truth of the matter is, one of the biggest benefits is that composting saves in the cost of transporting of our waste materials to the dump!
Step 3: How many cell phones have you gone through in the last few years? Think about it - I know I have at least 3 buried in a drawer, and am not sure what to do with them. Here's a statistic that the EPA came up with in 2005: over 700 million cell phones went out of use that year, which adds up to about well over 65 tons of garbage alone. And that was then - I didn't find a more current stat, but am sure it is well over that number. (visit this link for more information: http://www.eco-cell.org/cellwaste.asp#scope ) So what to do? A quick visit to Google provides various methods to put those cell phones to good use. One example is at http://www.charitablerecycling.com/CR/home.asp . I guess that is one step I can do immediately!
4: Plan well for showings. Thank goodness for Google Maps, Mapquest, and our navigation systems! A logistical, well-planned route is key - not just for your sanity, but if you are one of the many real estate agents driving an SUV, gas mileage as a tax-write off needs to take a back-seat to being green. I traded mine in for a Matrix, and wish I had taken it one step further for a Prius! But 33 miles to the gallon - I can at least feel good about that.
There are so many other things we can do, and we need to do. Stewardship of this planet we call home is in our hands. I, for one, have been lazy, and that is no excuse. So - a few bins in my garage taking up space- so what? A few phone calls to the right companies, and my paper waste will diminish as well as my electronic waste. Just a few steps along the path to "green", but important steps that will add up if most of us do the same. Good luck, and maybe we can get Kermit to change his tune and sing that it's EASY to be green.
Liz Foley, Town Square Realty Group, 207-324-2860, Sanford ME