Did you know that heating and cooling contributes to 48 percent of energy usage in a typical U.S. household?
As we venture into the winter months, temperatures are dropping meaning more of us are turning up the heaters. Being green in the cold is just as important as in the summer months, and a few small changes in your daily habits can make a big impact on the environment. Do you know how to keep warm while being green? Test your knowledge!
True or False:
Using a programmable thermostat, like the Nest, will help reduce your energy usage and lower your bill.
Salt is the best option for deicing driveways and walkways in the winter.
As much as 25 percent of heat loss is the result of leaky windows.
Sealing leaks and cracks in the walls doesn’t make much of a difference.
True. Reducing the temperature by 10 - 15 percent for just eight hours a day will reduce your bill by about 10 percent. Set your thermostat to a lower temperature while you’re out of the house to help cut back.
False. Salt is harmful to vegetation and erodes surfaces like driveways. Avoid using chemicals that will pollute soil and water. Natural alternatives such as sand, clay cat litter, or ashes from your fireplace work just as well and prevent harmful chemicals from soaking into the ground.
True. Simply closing curtains and blinds and sealing your windows during the winter can help cut back on the heat loss from windows.
False. Any leak or crack in your home will let the warm air out and the cold leak in! Look for leaks around vents, plugs, switches, and doors.
Other habits you can practice include closing the doors to unused rooms, wearing extra layers around the house, and using towels or blankets to plug drafts from other rooms or windows. These small changes will make your winter much warmer and greener this year.
How do you stay green in the winter? Let us know by commenting below. DING! You are now free to be Green!
... View more
Every year, after feasting on turkey and dressing, millions of Americans line up outside retail stores as they wait for the doors to open for the most anticipated sale of the year. Many people take this opportunity to get great deals for their holiday shopping lists, while others simply enjoy taking part in the ritual. However you choose to participate, the day has evolved to be a part of the holiday experience for many. If you’re planning on joining in on the shopping this year, remember to be green while you shop. Not sure how to be green on Black Friday? We have you covered.
Purchase energy-efficient electronics. Many of the items purchased on Black Friday are big-ticket items like TVs and computers that will be used for years to come. Make sure you take the time to do your research before you shop so you know which items are the most energy-efficient. Once you bring your goods home, use power-saving modes to conserve energy. And don’t forget to recycle old products when you replace them!
Recycle your coupons and use digital versions when possible. Paper coupons are easy to lose or forget and only contribute to waste. Retailers often have coupons available online or through their apps, so you can easily access them while you’re shopping on your phone.
Don’t buy “deals.” Make a list before you go shopping so you know exactly what you’re looking for, and don’t fall into the trap of buying things you don’t need. It’s easy to see a great deal and be tempted to buy it, but often these unnecessary items end up unused and eventually in landfills.
Bring your own bag. We all have those reusable bags—now is the perfect time to use them! Put them in your car the day before you go shopping so you don’t forget to grab them as you head out. They’ll hold up better as you shop, and you’ll reduce your plastic footprint by avoiding using new shopping bags.
Go thrifting instead. Avoid the craze of the day altogether by shopping at thrift stores for secondhand items that you can use to create DIY gifts. Thrifting offers a much more sustainable alternative to purchasing mass-produced goods, many of which are produced at lower quality with the intention of selling them on “sale” for Black Friday.
However you choose to spend your Black Friday, make sure it’s green. The long-term effects of your purchase will last longer than the short-term impact of getting a great deal. Don’t get caught up in the frenzy and make smart, sustainable choices when shopping.
What are your green holiday traditions? Let us know by commenting below. DING! You are now free to be Green!
... View more
America Recycles Day was November 15, but at Southwest, we are celebrating today by promoting proper recycling practices. Southwest is proud of our Triple Bottom Line commitment to Performance, People, and Planet, and part of the commitment to the Planet is to minimize our impact on the environment. Recycling is one of many ways we honor our commitment to the Planet and Performance by saving the Company the cost of disposing of the materials that can be recycled.
One of the biggest barriers to recycling the materials we collect is contamination, which can be too much liquid in a recycling container, food scraps, or even trash mixed in with recyclable items. An incorrectly recycled item will contaminate an entire collection container of recyclable material and cause that entire container of materials to be landfilled instead—something we want to avoid! To help make recycling easier, we’ve put together a quick guide on the do’s and don’ts of recycling.
Items that CAN be recycled:
Empty aluminum cans
Empty plastic bottles, with the cap screwed on; loose caps cannot be recycled
Paper and cardboard items not contaminated with food or grease
Empty cream and sugar containers
Rinsed plastic yogurt cups, oatmeal cups, soup cans, and food trays
Clean plastic food containers used by many restaurants
Items that CANNOT be recycled through our current program:
Food contaminated items, including pizza boxes
Paper towels and napkins
This list covers some basics of recycling, but when in doubt, it’s best to put it in the trash rather than risk contaminating the rest of the materials.
If you want more information about recycling at Southwest, read the One Report for detailed information about Southwest’s environmental stewardship, or comment below and leave any recycling suggestions you have!
... View more
Southwest LUVs its veterans—in fact, Southwest was recognized this week as a top military friendly employer by G.I. Jobs for the sixth consecutive year. In honor of Veterans Day, we thought we’d share some green tips for giving back to our nation’s heroes.
Donate your old cell phone. Cell Phones for Soldiers accepts gently used cell phones to donate to soldiers, providing a cost-free communication to these active members and veterans. You can also sell your iPhone for cash and receive a tax deduction. Since 2004, the organization has recycled more than 10.8 billion cell phones, preventing more than 5 million pounds of waste from ending up in landfills.
Donate gently used items. There are several organizations that accept gently used goods, such as GIVE or Clothing Donations, which will even schedule a free pickup. These organizations help veterans by reselling donated items and using the funds to support programs that address the needs of veterans. You can donate most items, from clothing to books to housewares—just be sure to check the websites for more information and locations.
Donate care package items. Organizations such as Soldiers Angels create care packages for wounded, ill, and injured warriors, as well as deployed soldiers. Travel size toiletries, small snacks, dry goods, and other miscellaneous items can all be donated to this cause and will prevent these items from filling up landfills.
Show some LUV for our veterans and our Earth by giving back to our heroes. These are just a few ways you can give back—let us know if you know of other great options by commenting below!
... View more
Halloween is this Friday, and we’re getting ready to have a spooky celebration! In honor of our favorite holiday, we thought we’d share some green Halloween tips with you.
What better way to celebrate the haunting holiday than with some ghoulishly green habits!
Give green treats. Instead of purchasing a bag of mass-produced candy, try giving out treats that are green-friendly, such as organic candy, which you can often find online. You can also hand out small trinkets/gifts such as seed packs to trick-or-treaters.
Buy natural décor. Decorate your home with natural decorations such as pumpkins, gourds, and hay. These items have less impact on the environment since they’re not produced in a factory. If you already have decorations, reuse them from year to year instead of buying new ones. You can also make your own decorations from items around the house, such as bed sheet ghosts or toilet paper roll eyes.
Use a reusable bag for trick-or-treating. Ditch the plastic pumpkin pails for a reusable shopping bag or pillowcase to collect candy. You’ll be able to reuse them even after the last piece of chocolate has been eaten!
If you’re hosting a party, make it green! Those disposable plates, cups, or cutlery will end up in a landfill, so use washable dinnerware instead. Keep decorations natural, and buy either local or organic foods.
How do you have a green Halloween? Let us know by commenting below. Happy Halloween!
... View more
World Planting Day is October 22, and while many green holidays encourage reactive green habits like recycling or reusing materials, World Planting Day encourages proactive green habits, such as planting a vegetable garden or a tree in your own yard. Growing your own flowers, fruits, and vegetables is a rewarding and fun way to be green and give back to the environment.
Here are some tips to get in on the green:
Join a community garden. Community gardens are a great way to grow your own garden, especially if you have a small yard. As some of you may know, we have a SWA Community Garden at Southwest Headquarters. This is a great opportunity to not only learn more about the process that goes behind growing plants, but also to get to know others! If you’re interested in participating in our community garden or starting your own, contact Jaime Ibarra, our community garden founder.
Plant native plants. Plants that are native to your environment are more beneficial and survive better than non-native species. Take the time to discover what plants grow in your area. Visit plantnative.org for a basic list of plants that grow in your area, or check local nurseries for more information.
Avoid using chemicals. Chemicals that control weeds or pests are often harmful to the environment and can cause long-term damage. Instead of using these harsh chemicals, focus on using natural alternatives that won’t pollute water sources or soil.
Be aware of your watering schedule. Always water after the sun goes down to decrease evaporation and make sure you don’t overwater your garden. Wasting water never helps the environment and can easily be avoided with a schedule. Some cities have watering restrictions, so be sure to know what watering guidelines your city has set.
Start composting your leftovers. Compost bins are a great way to recycle leftovers and reuse them in your garden. You’ll save money and make the world a little greener by not tossing biodegradable items into landfills.
These are just a few easy activities that would make great habits to live green. How do you garden greenly? Let us know by commenting below.
... View more
The end of the Wright Amendment is here, and that means brand new nonstop destinations from Dallas Love Field! This is a very exciting milestone for Southwest Airlines and for our Customers, and we are proud to celebrate #nonstoplove. The next time that you travel on Southwest, whether you’re on one of our nonstop flights out of Dallas, or one of the 96 cities we serve, make sure you’re aware of your habits wherever you go.
Traveling green is just as important as living green, so here are some tips to travel green on your next trip:
Unplug your home. Chargers, microwaves, televisions, and other appliances can still pull energy when they aren’t in use. Set your thermostat to warmer (in summer) or lower (in winter) setting during your trip so you don’t waste energy.
Skip the paper. Use the mobile boarding pass option, and opt for an email receipt if it’s available. You’re less likely to lose it, and you’ll save paper.
Take advantage of your hotel’s recycling program. Even something as simple as reusing towels and sheets instead of changing them each night can have a big impact.
Make sure you turn off lights, air conditioning, and heating when you’re not in your hotel room. Hotel rooms go unoccupied for the majority of the day, so there’s no need to have these running when you’re vacationing.
Take advantage of public transportation! Many cities have bus routes, trolleys, or subways that can take you to most tourist destinations. Check out the options before you go so you can take advantage of them. If you’re going somewhere with no public transportation, consider renting a hybrid car.
What do you do to travel green? Let us know by commenting below.
... View more
As you may have seen last week, Southwest recently announced our agreement to purchase biofuel from Red Rock Biofuels, which creates renewable jet fuel using forest residue. Southwest agreed to purchase about three million gallons of fuel per year, which will be used at our Bay Area operations.
We wanted to share a little more about this green alternative, so we put together a trivia game. Check your biofuel knowledge below!
True or False?
Biofuel is less cost-effective than traditional fuel options.
Biofuel is made from natural substances, such as logs or branches.
The production of this biofuel helps reduce the risk of wildfires.
Three million gallons makes very little difference in the bigger picture.
Biofuels have the same level of carbon emissions as traditional fuel sources.
False. Biofuel is actually comparable in price to our traditional jet fuel options. In addition, Southwest hopes to support these alternatives to encourage further development and make biofuel a more competitive and possibly less expensive alternative.
True. Biofuel is made from materials found in nature that can be recycled into fuel. Red Rock Biofuels focuses on converting woody biomass to renewable fuel sources.
True. Red Rock Biofuels converts forest residue into fuel, reducing the risk of wildfires in the Western United States.
False. While three million gallons is less than one percent of our total annual operations, it makes up about three percent of the total usage in the Bay Area where the fuel will be used. In addition, Southwest continues to look for future opportunities for biofuels, and Red Rock Biofuels hopes to build additional plants throughout the United States.
False. Biofuels produce significantly less carbon emissions in comparison to traditional sources, decreasing the resulting air pollution.
How did you do? Let us know by commenting below.
... View more
The United States generates 26 billion pounds of apparel, textiles, and footwear each year, 85 percent of which ends up in landfills. As colder weather approaches and we get our fall clothing ready, we often discover old or unworn clothes we no longer need. Rather than tossing these garments out, consider reusing or recycling them in some way.
Here are some steps to take to reuse and recycle old clothing:
Take lightly worn garments to a thrift store. Rather than letting like-new items go into the trash, resell them at a secondhand store. Not only does this help prevent clothes from ending up in landfills, but it also gives you a bit of cash back for your items.
Donate your clothes to Goodwill. You’ll help out others and clean out your closet without contributing to landfills.
Get creative with your clothing. Maybe you have a pile of old t-shirts that you can make into a quilt, or an old shirt that can be used as a cleaning cloth. Instead of throwing these items out, find creative ways to reuse them in your own home.
Recycle your clothes. Some retailers are starting to take part in this initiative by accepting used garments from any brand. These items can be recycled into new textiles or be broken down for other uses such as insulation.
How do you reuse or recycle old clothing? Let us know by commenting below.
... View more
Southwest LUVs to be Green, and we are always looking for ways to inform and help our Employees and Customers go Green in their daily lives.
Electric cars have become an increasingly popular mode of transportation due to the low cost to operate, as well as their lower air pollution levels, which is a great example of going Green to save Green! In fact, the United States has the largest fleet of plug-in electric vehicles in the world with more than 250,000 electric cars sold since 2008.
Electric cars use a rechargeable battery, a more environmentally-friendly and lower cost power source than gasoline. With so many drivers adopting these green cars, many public areas have added electric car charging stations in their parking lots for customers to take advantage of, including several airports. Some of these airports include Dallas Love Field, Seattle, Chicago Midway, Baltimore, Orlando, and Phoenix! Public charging stations make it easier for drivers of electric cars to get a charge while they’re out picking up friends or at work instead of having to rely on at-home charging stations.
In addition, we recently installed two new charging stations at Headquarters as a beta test after multiple requests from Employees. Headquarter Green Ambassadors answered the call to test the stations, and they are now up and running for electric car owners to charge their vehicles.
Do you drive an electric car? Let us know what kind by commenting below. Have a suggestion for how to live and work Green? E-mail us at Green@wnco.com.
... View more