Top Ten Green Living Tips
“Let us not take this planet for granted.” – Leonardo diCaprio
You’re probably trying to “live green” and make Earth-conscious choices. But one thing that gets in the way is the hectic lifestyle that so many of us lead. As a parent, I know that there are many times we are flying out the door, late for an event and I will grab a few water bottles against my better judgment. In fact, disposable water bottles are completely unnecessary.
1. Use less disposable items, including bottled water. Be prepared. Try eating ice cream in a cone, rather than a cup. Use your travel mug when buying coffee. Keep your water bottle handy. Buy more of your food from the bulk bin and re-use your own eco-friendly bags or containers to reduce the amount of packaged products purchased. Some stores even sell stuff like laundry detergent, soap, and other house hold cleaning products in bulk and often at a discount. Don’t forget your reusable shopping bags.
2. Say no to spam. Contact the distributing company or marketing association to have your name removed from their mailing list. You can also stick a “no junk mail” sign on your mail box. Not only will this save you time by not having to sort the mail into recycling but it will also help to reduce the thousands of trees destroyed each year to create the junk mail that is sent to your home.
3. Receive and pay your bills electronically. Almost everything from your phone bill to your credit card statement can be viewed online and often these companies will discount you a few dollars for going paperless. Ask your service providers about it and set it up to reduce paper production.
4. Turn off your electronics when not in use. A computer left on for 24 hours can use a lot of electricity – up to 1000 kilowatts. And, even when your TV or computer is off, it is still using power. Either unplug all your electronic devices or use a power strip and flip of the switch when you’re done.
5. Go meatless on Mondays. Having pasta or a vegetarian soup on Mondays might not seem like a big deal, but adding one meat-free meal per week (for a family of four) has the same impact as driving a hybrid car. Raising livestock produces a large amount of greenhouse gases, so cutting back, even one night per week, makes a big difference.
6. Don’t dump, donate instead. By some estimates, for every item of clothing donated, 27 pounds of carbon emissions are reduced based on the fact that you don’t another item being produced while one is headed to the landfill. Take items to a thrift store, a charity that accepts donations, or list them on Freecycle.org.
7. Start a backyard garden and a compost bin. Just think of all the food waste that goes into your daily garbage or down the disposal. Instead of adding to the endless piles of garbage, you could be literally feeding your garden. Here’s a good start for beginners. And no, if done properly, it will not smell. And you will have dark, rich, organic soil to work with. https://www.backyardboss.net/how-to-make-compost-black-gold-for-your-own-gardens/
8. Collect and save water. Put containers with removable covers outside to collect rainwater that you can use to water your lawn, flower beds and gardens. Try using a bucket once a week in the shower to collect water that you can use to water your houseplants (make sure the water is at the right temperature before watering). It’s also a good reminder to water the plants. And if you need a reminder about the fact that we are lucky (in some parts of the world) to have access to clean water, see this video. Nearly one billion people live without access to clean water. https://youtu.be/BCHhwxvQqxg
9. Upgrade your lights. Changing light bulbs with compact fluorescent ones can save four times the amount of energy than a regular bulb. Energy-efficient CFLs can also last up to ten times longer than traditional ones. The light from these bulbs will give off light as bright as your old bulbs or brighter and save you money. Don’t forget to turn off lights when not in use. If you can get motion-sensitive lights, give them a try – they turn off when no more motion is detected. Also, if you like using outdoor lights go for the solar powered ones.
10. Clean green. Look to your kitchen cabinet for natural cleaning products, such as baking soda, white distilled vinegar and essential oils.
For good ideas on a daily basis, please “like” our related Facebook page “Living Green.”