Barracks Life: Easy ways to make “going green” work in your favor
Spc. Emily Knitter, 1HBCT Public Affairs

FORT STEWART, Ga. - Growing up, my mother always told me, “turn the water off when you’re brushing your teeth,” and nagged, “make sure to turn off the lights when you’re done in a room!” Back then, I’d just roll my eyes and groan a bit, thinking she was just trying to make my life difficult. But surprise! Moms actually know what they’re talking about sometimes.

Doing simple things like what Mom suggested can go far towards helping our environment.

Recycling sounds a lot like a pain-in-the-butt, without any real rewards that you’ll be able to see personally, especially living in the barracks. But there are ways to make little changes in your life that will save you time and money, and gulp, help the environment.

Turn off your computer at night. After you finally tap-out of WOW for the evening, don’t just put your laptop on sleep mode; take the extra second to push that power button. It’ll save 40 watt-hours per day, which only equals about 4 cents per day, but that adds up to $14 a year. That’s 14 one-liter Brisk teas from the shoppette, for those of you on a barracks budget. But if the effort of waiting for the computer to boot up again in the morning is too much, most computers have a way to automatically set a time to start. If not, turn it on before you start warming up that piece of frozen pizza from the night before, and you’ll be able to check Facebook in leisure as you are munching on that delicious piece of microwaved goodness.

Designate a trash can for bottles. As any good single Soldier knows, after a weekend on post, there are enough glass bottles shoved onto every flat surface of a barracks room to start your own armory with a few more supplies. But instead of hazily tossing them all into a trash bag and dragging it out to the dumpster, set up a trash can or bag before the party starts exclusively for glass bottles. Maybe even make it into a game of who-can-dunk-the-most-bottles. It’ll help with clean up the next day, allowing you longer to sleep off the headache. And by recycling them, it reduces air pollution by 20 percent, and the related water pollution by 50 percent. If they aren’t recycled, it takes almost a million years for a glass bottle to decompose.

Don’t buy bottled water. I am guilty of this one. A 36-pack of Dasani is far more appealing than a glass of tap water from a sink full of dirty dishes, but tap water can actually be healthier for you.

The EPA’s standards for drinking water from a tap are more stringent than the FDA’s for water in a bottle. Most people who drink bottled water do not recycle the empty plastic bottles, which will then take thousands of years to decompose. Still not convinced? There are re-usable containers available at any number of stores that filter and hold up to a gallon of water, sometimes more.

Keep a water bottle handy, and fill up from the container. It’ll save you tons of money on packs of bottled water, and it will even help the environment while you’re at it.

There are many ways that are easy even for a single Soldier to use in their everyday lives that help the environment, and save money. Check out the details of everything above and more ways to save at

Page last updated Thu August 11th, 2011 at 09:47