My name is Leigh, the face behind Exist Green. I’m a registered professional environmental engineer currently residing in the Omaha metro area. I created Exist Green to help eco-conscious minds reduce their waste and live a non-toxic, sustainable lifestyle.
Are you wondering what exactly an environmental engineer is? Since people ask me this all the time, I thought I’d take a second to explain. I worked for a decade helping companies (+ the government) remediate (i.e., clean up) historical liabilities. These liabilities were primarily an artifact from a time when environmental regulations were not in place. In many cases, society had not yet learned of the risks from environmental contamination. Examples include:
- Gas stations used to measure the remaining fuel in single-walled underground storage tanks (USTs) by banging a large metal rod at the bottom of the tank. If they heard an echo, this meant it was time for a refill. Over time, this action led to holes forming in the bottom of virtually every UST across the country, contaminating the underlying groundwater with petroleum products. An environmental engineer helps oil companies to first understand the existing contaminant impacts and the future “fate and transport” of those impacts. Then, as necessary, we design treatment systems to minimize and avoid risks to public health. UST regulations beginning in 1986 (then 1991) greatly reduced the occurrence of these types of spills. However, 30 years later, many of these historical spills still present risks to public health.
- Before regulations limiting waste stream discharge, virtually every dry cleaning facility would pour their remaining perchloroethylene (PCE, or perc) in a sump within or immediately adjacent to their building. This led to chlorinated solvent plumes underlying nearly every dry cleaning facility. with both groundwater and indoor air concerns for the existing and surrounding buildings. Companies often employ environmental engineers to reduce the contaminant concentrations in underlying soil and water (and vapor) resulting from these spills.
These are both small-scale examples of the types of chemical liabilities present around the world (and growing every day). Some contaminated groundwater plumes reach a mile or more in length. Out of the plethora of contaminated sites around the world, only a handful have reached closure (i.e. no possible risk to public health or ecology either in the present or future).
This is why I chose to start Exist Green. Instead of losing the battle against environmental sins of the past, I want to be part of the sustainable future.
We all can have a true positive impact by more carefully scrutinizing the items we consume and the waste we create. The future of government environmental regulations may be uncertain, but our personal beliefs and values don’t have to be. We can choose to conserve our planet’s resources and support companies aligned with those values.
I have created this website to equip you along your own sustainable journey. I list out the four main tools in a bit more detail below.
All my best tips for a zero-waste, eco-friendly lifestyle in a series of six informative emails straight to your inbox.
Find companies aligned with your values in this eco-conscious brand directory. This directory allows you to filter brands based not only on the types of products they offer, but also their “eco-attributes”. Care most about vegan brands? You can see only those while also filtering through the other characteristics. Like the idea of recycled or upcycled materials? That’s an option too. Check it out and let me know what you think!
- If your brand is listed, don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any comments on the existing description.
- If your brand isn’t listed and you believe it should be, let me know that as well!
Although minimalism is a huge part of an eco-friendly lifestyle, you may need to invest in a few key items at the beginning of your journey. I’ve gathered my favorite choices from around the web to meet your specific need. These products are also filterable by “eco-attribute”.
Some other filters allow you to choose items which will help you follow through on your pledges taken on the Exist Green web app (as described below).
This is where it all started. I created this web app as a way for people to quantify their “ecological savings” associated with their sustainable choices. Instead of beating ourselves up for the miles we drive or the gas we use to heat our homes, we can make other choices that generate “green karma”. I hope to add more pledges to this app in the future!
Last, but not least, you can save all your favorite posts, brands, and essentials in your own personalized “FAVORITES LIST”. I think this feature is pretty cool myself 🙂
I also would love to interact with you one-on-one!
Follow me on any of my social media accounts below or you can email me at [email protected].