By Vicki Little
Earth Day is April 22nd, and what better way to honor our planet than to think green? Earthday.org is a wonderful resource of activities and actions to take this to a new level. But to get started, here are 7 ways you can be more green:
1) Use Less. Seems simple enough, but this small thing can actually help the planet in a big way. Turn the water off when you are brushing your teeth. Wash a few dishes at a time and then turn the water on to rinse them all at once. Turn off the lights when you leave a room. Use a programmable thermostat in your home, and leave the temperature low in the winter and high in the summer when you aren’t home. Turn off the TV and read a book. Walk to school. There are thousands of ways that you can use just a little less of the Earth’s resources.
2) Recycle. This is a great habit to form in your home, especially since many schools already teach children about it with their own recycling programs. Have two cans in the kitchen: one for trash and one for recyclables. Bring your own bags when shopping. Bring your plastic bags to your local store (most of them will have a spot to collect them), or reuse them. Recycle your paper and junk mail — or better yet, opt out in the first place. Pack your lunch in reusable containers instead of plastic bags. Recycle your ink cartridges and call your trash removal service to request a recycling bin to leave out weekly. Don’t forget to recycle electronics, hangers, tires, batteries, aluminum cans and glass. Take this a step further and buy products made from recycled materials.
3) Fix all leaks in your house. According to OurEarth.org, “a faucet that leaks one drip per second can waste more than 3, 000 gallons of water each year. A leaky toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water every day.” To save that valuable resource, download a guide from energystar.gov that will help you detect and fix leaks.
4) Change your laundry habits. Clean as many clothes as possible in cold water, or at least warm. Clean your lint trap often, and be sure to put your clothes in the dryer quickly to avoid having to wash them again. Even better, hang as many clothes as possible out to air dry. You will save energy and your clothes will last longer, fit better, and fade less this way.
5) Donate and Shop Consignment. Instead of throwing out your clothes or household items, donate them to a charity or use a site such as freecycle.org or a Facebook online garage sale. Save yourself some money by shopping at a consignment sale or store, and swap clothes with friends or family.
6) Pay Your Bills Online. Almost all companies offer online bill pay and will send an e-bill to your email rather than a mailed statement. Also, many banks have online bill pay, where a check will still be sent, but they can do it in batches with other people to save paper.
7) Drive Smart. Keep your vehicle maintained. Take unnecessary weight out of the car. Do your errands in batches and plan your route. Use your cruise control, carpool, and walk instead of drive whenever you can.
Vicki Little is a work-at-home mom with two young kids. A Colorado native, she is the Publisher and Editor of Macaroni Kid Aurora and Downtown Denver. When she isn’t writing or trying to keep up with her kids she can be found volunteering, reading, or enjoying a bottle of wine with friends.
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