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Green Geek Column (2016 — present)


April 9, 2021

Wondering what to do with all that plastic cutlery you get when ordering takeout? We'll tell you. And we have some follow-up answers to last month's questions on household batteries.

March 12, 2021

Wondering how to dispose of those used household batteries? Where to get documents shredded? Or the effect on the environment of the outdoor heaters many businesses are using?

February 12, 2021

Wondering if there's a home for those old rags of yours? Or what to do with your Amazon Prime shipping envelopes?

January 8, 2021

Wondering if plastic or cardboard provides the more environmentally friendly drink container? Or ways you can cut down on your overall use of plastic?


December 11, 2020

Wondering how to have a more eco-friendly holiday this year? Looking for New Year's resolutions that will help the planet? And what is the story on the city's glass recycling program?

November 13, 2020

Wondering if vinegar is still a good cleaning agent? Or how and where you can recycle hard drives and computers?

October 9, 2020

Wondering if you're helping the environment, even just a smidge, by re-using those Ziploc bags? Or if your AA and AAA batteries are recyclable?

September 11, 2020

Wondering if washing your car by hand wastes less water than hitting the carwash? Or if that new dining room table you want to purchase was made in a way that harms the environment?

August 14, 2020

Need some options for safely cleaning paint brushes and rollers? Worried about those "pandemic pounds" you may have put on and looking for healthy alternatives to sugar? Or are you curious about how to cut down on all those paper towels you're using?

July 10, 2020

Looking for ways to keep yourself and the environment safe as you exercise outdoors? Want to know how to crank up the air conditioning without polluting the planet? Or are you curious about which plants might be healthful for you and your family as you spend more time indoors?

March 13, 2020

Are there any soaps you should stay away from during this coronavirus outbreak? How exactly does one recycle an ancient computer? And what are the environmental implications of using Amazon Prime?

February 14, 2020

Looking for some ways to show the planet some love this Valentine’s Day? Wondering if conventional mattresses are toxic? Or do you need some alternatives to tossing those old books? -

January 10, 2020

Wondering how bad car idling really is for the environment? The risks of mercury contamination from eating fish? Or the impact of the devastating wildfires in Australia? -



December 6, 2019

Wondering what the downside is to "fast fashion?" Or how to live a greener lifestyle in 2020? -

November 8, 2019

Wondering what the benefits are to drinking organic wine? How to stay green when fostering puppies? Or if you can package those holiday treats you want to give away in an environmentally friendly way? -

October 11, 2019

Wondering if your hair dye affects the environment? If you can be more sustainable in your Halloween celebration? Or if your chocolate addiction has unintended environmental consequences? -

September 13, 2019

Looking for a better way to pass along your worn sheets and clothing? The best way to dispose of those PVC yoga mats? Or do you need some tips on how to cut down on your plastic usage at home and in the office? -

August 9, 2019

Looking to buy something sparkly for someone special, but you don't want to contribute to the diamond industry? Wondering if yoga mats really are bad for the environment? And are you curious about whether those sweet-smelling candles could actually be harming your health? -

July 12, 2019

Looking for ways to reduce your food-related carbon footprint? Wondering how careful you have to be on separating your recyclables? And can those pesky plastic grocery bags be recycled? -

June 14, 2019

Pima County FYI has a monthly column featuring questions and answers on all things green. Our own Green Geek gets assistance on answering your questions from the sustainability experts in Pima County's Office of Sustainability and Conservation. -

May 10, 2019

Wondering if there's an environmentally friendly way to fight mosquitoes? If the sun contributes to global warming? Or how to lower your A/C usage? -

April 12, 2019

Wondering what your best strategy is to conserve gas? If climate change can affect your mental health? Or whether you should be washing dishes in the dishwasher or by hand? -

February 8, 2019

Wondering how best to celebrate Valentine's Day without harming the planet? The real story about "farmed fish?" Or the best way to make winter cycling more feasible and comfortable? -

January 11, 2019

Wondering how to winterize your vehicle? Lessen your carbon footprint when using your fireplace? Or make your home more energy-efficient in the winter months? -



December 14, 2018

Wondering if an artificial Christmas tree or a real tree is more eco-friendly? The best way to recycle those holiday wine bottles? Or how to protect your plants from the freezing temperatures? -

November 9, 2018

Wondering what the term “climate adaptation” means? Or how you can reduce waste as we head into the holiday season? -

October 12, 2018

Wondering how long it takes for glass to decompose? The difference between CFL and LED light bulbs? Or how to avoid being duped by "greenwashing?" -

September 14, 2018

Wondering how to recycle shredded paper? Whether small appliances use energy even when they're turned off? Or if you need to put your computer to sleep when you're not using it? -               

August 10, 2018

Wondering how to dispose of old perfume or makeup? Or the difference between running your fan and A/C versus just the A/C? -    

July 13, 2018

Wondering if you should be sucking on those plastic straws? Or if it pays to turn off the A/C when you leave the house? -

June 8, 2018

Wondering how to reduce your monthly household trash production? What upcycling is? And if that sunscreen you're wearing is harmful to the environment? -   

May 11, 2018

Wondering what Energy Star efficient means? How many species are considered endangered? And what McDonald's is doing to be eco-friendly? -

April 13, 2018

Wondering if eating meat and dairy is hurting the environment? How you can reduce your environmental impact in the office? Or the best way to dispose of cat litter waste? -

March 9, 2018

Wondering if it’s better to dry your hands with paper towels or an electric hand-dryer? If it’s more environmentally-friendly to read from electronic devices or printed materials. Or the best way to dispose of pet waste? -

February 9, 2018

Wondering if you need to take the lids off when you recycle those plastic bottles? How to cut back on your driving? Or if aluminum is “greener” than plastic? -

January 12, 2018

Wondering what carbon sequestration is? If compact fluorescent lightbulbs are really better for the environment? Or if an SUV or a sedan is the wiser vehicle choice? -



December 8, 2017

Wondering what it means to be a LEED-certified building? If organic cotton is really greener? Or why you should be unplugging that cellphone charger? -

November 10, 2017

Wondering where to recycle those high-efficiency spiral light bulbs? Or the role of carbon dioxide equivalent in global warming? -

October 13, 2017

Wondering if the community of Ajo offers recycling? If sunscreen can damage coral reefs? Or if that Greek yogurt you're eating is good for the waistline, but not the environment? -

September 8, 2017

Wondering if line drying your clothes is greener than throwing them in the dryer? The value of coral reefs? Or the best options for recycling that old TV or printer? -

August 11, 2017

Wondering if bike commuters can take advantage of the occasional free ride home? How to stay green while traveling? Or what the real dirt is on composting? -

July 14, 2017

Wondering if you can throw away your batteries? What the story is behind organic cotton? Or if bottled water is safer than tap water? -

June 9, 2017

Wondering if your fireplace is harming the environment? What to do with an old ironing board? Whether paper is better than plastic at the grocery store? -

May 12, 2017

Wondering if a programmable thermostat will reduce your heating and cooling consumption? Or what the single biggest energy hog is in your house? -   

April 14, 2017

Wondering if bicycling and walking are greener than driving? If it's better to buy plastic or canned drinks? Or the cheapest place to recycle electronics? -

March 10, 2017

Wondering how eco-friendly online shopping is? Where you can recycle those clunky old three-ring binders? Or recommendations for some low-maintenance plants for the office? -

February 10, 2017

Wondering how to compost? What the impact of wind turbines is on birds? If premium gasoline is better for the environment than regular gas? -

January 13, 2017

Wondering what water harvesting is and how you do it? Or which home appliances are sucking up the most electricity? -


December 9, 2016

Wondering how to winterize your home? Or how to recycle your high-efficiency light bulbs? -

November 11, 2016

Wondering how long your air conditioner will last? Or where to recycle your electronics? -               

October 14, 2016

Wondering how to save money on your utility bills? Be sure about what can go in the recycling bin? What to do with expired medications? -

September 9, 2016

Wondering how to save money on your utility bills? Be sure about what can go in the recycling bin? Reduce your carbon footprint? -