Keeping Kosher with Friends While Striving to be Green

| 10/30/2008 1:11:17 PM

partyblogI sometimes cross the line when it comes to eco-manners. When I play host to or attend get-togethers with my other college-aged friends, I have eco-friendliness on the mind for most of the time. I never know, though, when I’ve crossed the green line into being rude about attempting to keep the social gathering eco-friendly.

I am attending Halloween parties tonight and Friday night, and Saturday my roommate and I are having friends over to tailgate for KU’s football game. I’m contemplating whether I can restrain my green nature to remain kosher in my friends’ homes. Interning at an environmentally conscious magazine has made me take a second look at how green my lifestyle really is, but should I be looking at my friends in the same green light?

I sometimes chastise my friends when I see un-environmentally friendly business going on: leaving doors or windows open with the air or heat is on; leaving unused lights and electronics on; using paper plates or plastic cups; drinking bottled drinks at bars when tap is readily available.

I usually end up passively taking care of the problem by taking the initiative by, for example, shutting off the lights or closing doors and windows. When I do this at my own home, I see no problem adopting the mantra: “My home, my rules.” I sound like I’m in my mid-30s with a family of four, but I know my little contributions are helping the environment and saving money on bills, too.

What I don’t know, though, is whether my green habits should be contained within my own home. Is it rude to advise others on their choice of dishes, close windows and doors that are not mine and shut off lights that clearly don’t need to be on?

One of my friends did surprise me the other weekend, though. I saw several empty 2-liter bottles on his counter and jokingly remarked that I hoped he was going to recycle those. He said yes, actually, he actually tries to recycle all of his plastic. It caught me off guard. I never followed up to confirm that he actually recycled the bottles, but I was surprised at the revelation.