Tuesday, March 16, 2010
JUST DO ONE
STOP BUYING BOTTLED WATER»
While we likely all understand how critical water is to all plant and animal life and many of us have worked to up our H2O intake, not everyone is aware that if we’ve switched to drinking bottled water, it can cost up to 1,000 times as much as tap water. It’s sadly ironic that this switch ended up being bad for our bodies and the environment. Those plastic bottles release harmful phthalates (which act like endocrine disrupters in the body) into your water. And phthalates aren’t shy—they’re busy impacting your health and are linked to lower energy, possible cancers, early-onset puberty, decreased sex drive, and other reproductive impacts. A stunning amount of energy is used transporting those bottles of water—1.5 billion gallons of fuel oil annually—enough to fuel 10,000 cars for an entire year! In-home (and in-office) water filtration is an inexpensive, ideal alternative—and you can quickly fill your own stainless steel or glass bottles.
USE RECHARGEABLE BATTERIES»
Americans purchase nearly 3 billion dry-cell batteries every year to power radios, toys, cellular phones, watches, laptop computers, and portable power tools—and batteries are a leading source of heavy-metal contamination in our landfills. Help protect the environment and your pocketbook by using rechargeable batteries, which are easy and inexpensive to recharge. Nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries cost a bit more and take a bit longer to charge than nickel cadmium (NiCd) batteries, but they last longer. While rechargeable alkaline batteries are available, they are more expensive and have a shorter life span than other alternatives. All batteries will eventually wear out, even rechargeable batteries. Dispose of them properly at a local collection.
HANG 'EM OUT TO DRY»
Skip the dryer! Air-drying some or all of your wet laundry could save you more than $135 in energy costs every year or approximately 6% on a home electricity bill. And you’ll not only save on energy costs—your clothes will last longer as many fabrics fare better when not exposed to heat. Air-drying can be done indoors or outside, though outdoor clotheslines are subject to weather issues and possible exposure to pollen and other allergens, which can impact sensitive individuals. In a warm, dry climate, outdoor drying can work very well as allergens become less of an issue. You can also minimize heat impact from laundry appliances in your home by running them at night so they don’t create make your air conditioner work overtime to keep the house cool, and you reduce strain on the electrical grid during peak hours.
GET YOURSELF A CANVAS BAG»
The numbers are pretty daunting: worldwide, up to a trillion plastic bags are used and discarded every year—more than a million per minute. Of the 380 billion disposable plastic bags used each year in the United States, only 1 percent of them are recycled. The rest go to landfills, where they take ages to decompose. Most plastic bags are mainly made from polyethylene, a by-product of the petroleum industry. If buried, plastic bags block the natural flow of oxygen and water through the soil. If burned, they release dangerous toxins and carcinogens into the air. The damage is even more severe when the bags end up in the ocean, where thousands of sea turtles and other marine life die each year after mistaking plastic bags for food. Switching to a reusable shopping bag is getting easier than ever. They’re convenient and come in a variety of sizes and styles. Bringing your own tote will allow you to answer that age-old “Paper or plastic?” question with a resounding and proud “Neither, I brought my own!”
SWITCH TO LED BULBS»
We should all be lit up about switching our incandescent bulbs to light-emitting diodes (LEDs), which put out more light with less power. They are bright, energy efficient, long lasting, and fit in standard lighting-fixture bases—making it even easier to make the switch! They also do not contain mercury as compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) do. LEDs are also ideal for many business and artistic applications (even small ones!) because they create virtually no heat in displays. If every American replaced just one light bulb in with an energy-efficient bulb, we would prevent as much greenhouse gas as if we had pulled 800,000 cars from the roads. The advantages are brilliant!
ADJUST YOUR THERMOSTAT»
A perfect case of where a little means a lot! Home heating and cooling is one of the most common activities that contributes to your “carbon footprint,” the sum total of all the greenhouse gases you personally are responsible for putting in the atmosphere. Turning your thermostat down just two degrees in winter and up two degrees in summer can go a long way toward lowering your power consumption. The Department of Energy recommends keeping your indoor temperatures at 78 degrees in summer and 68 degrees in winter for a savings of up to 20% in heating costs compared to where most Americans set their thermostats. These energy savings can be easily and relatively inexpensively integrated into your life by installing a programmable thermostat to adjust temperatures when you're asleep or not at home. The new ones are intuitively designed and easy to deal with—many have very user-friendly touch screens. This one-time investment, which costs as little as $100, can save you thousands of dollars in energy costs over the years and do much good for the environment.
LET YOUR COMPUTER TAKE A NAP»
Your home is likely full of electric appliances, such as televisions, CD players, DVD players, phone chargers, and lots of other things that you plug in and forget about. Most of us leave our computers on all of the time, making them “energy vampires” that are easiest to tackle. You may think they're "off," but they're not. Appliances can draw 2 to 10 watts of power while they are plugged in, even when they're turned off. And, when your computer is on, it consumes electricity equal to three 100-watt light bulbs. Turning off all computers (and lights) when not in use is a simple way to reduce total energy consumption and save on power bills.
IT'S AS EASY AS RIDING A BIKE»
Each time you leave your car at home, you commit to reducing air pollution, improving your health, and saving money. Walk or ride your bike for short trips or take public transportation, if possible, for longer ones. Most people can knock out a mile or more walking at a comfortable pace in 30 minutes—and, of course, bicycling or using public transit will get you much farther in the same time while helping to minimize greenhouse gases. And it’s not just the environment that benefits! New full-time bicycle commuters can expect to lose an average of 13 pounds their first year of bicycle commuting if they maintain the same eating habits and considerably more if they modify them. Our towns and cities are healthier and more vibrant when filled with pedestrians, cyclists, transit vehicles, and trees.
TAKE A DIP IN THE CARPOOL»
As the average car pumps twice its weight in carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year, driving alone is a major factor in greenhouse gas buildup—and the numbers are staggering. The EPA estimates that cars emit 19.4 pounds of CO2 for every gallon of gasoline burned. Employees who carpool can easily save $1,500 a year in gasoline, insurance, and car maintenance—and carpoolers can choose to read, sleep, or chat when they're not behind the wheel. In some cities, carpool commuters save considerable time by taking advantage of special high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes. It doesn’t take much: If each commuter car carried just one more passenger once a week, we could cut America's gasoline consumption by more than 50 million gallons each week. Drive smart. Drive less.
USE ORGANIC COTTON»
Do-gooders look good, too! Organic cotton is by far the fabric of choice for most hip, green clothing designers—and even some of the previously traditional “big players,” such as Levi Strauss and even Victoria’s Secret, have incorporated it into their lines. So no worries… you can be stylin’, comfortable, and sport a clear conscience, too. All nine of the top pesticides used on cotton crops in the U.S. are classified by the EPA as Category 1, the most dangerous category of chemicals, and these pesticides are right next to the wearer’s skin. Need proof of how vulnerable you to what touches your porous skin? Try rubbing a cut clove of garlic on the sole of your foot… you’ll taste garlic in your mouth within 15 minutes! Clothing made from synthetic fibers, such as acrylic, nylon, and polyester are coated with formaldehyde finishes that can give off minute plastic vapors as they warm against your skin, which can cause allergies and other respiratory troubles.
RECYCLE PLASTIC BAGS»
My daughter's school recycles plastic bags through a program with WalMart to raise money for the school. They take any bag except black. The school and the environment both win. Contact your local WalMart for details on this program.
There are lots of ways to conserve water, and they are all painless. Set your sprinklers to water in the early morning, when it is cooler and your landscaping can benefit more. Watering during the heat of the day results in wasted water due to evaporation. Don't let the water run when brushing your teeth. Showers use much less water than baths.
The local hardware store has retractable clotheslines - they are not expensive and come in a variety of lengths. It was easy to install, and it's great because I can have an instant clothesline whenever I want, and when not needed it retracts up neatly and out of sight. There's something really satisfying about having clothes fluttering in the sunshine, not to mention how good they smell!
KEEP YOUR REUSABLE GROCERY BAGS IN YOUR CAR»
It's great to have reusable grocery bags, but they really only help if you have them with you at the store. When I first started using canvas bags, I can't tell you how many times I couldn't use them just because they were sitting at home in my pantry. Now, I make sure I bring the bags back to my car. That way, they're available even for unexpected trips. I also use them when shopping at stores other than the grocery store. Sure, I may still get a few strange looks at the office store or if I'm buying a shirt--but I know I'm making a contribution to less pollution. People are catching on that eliminating needless waste is a good idea anywhere.
ORGANIC SALES MANAGER»
Instead of tossing out dryer sheets after each use - consider using the wrinkled up sheet as a dusting cloth, which seems to be a dust magnet
Each member of our family has their own cloth napkin that they designed themselves. They use this napkin throughout the day to stop wasting napkins and paper towels.
REFILL INKJET CARTRIDGES»
Refill your inkjet cartridge for your printer. It's is beneficial to your pocket because it is less expensive than buuying an OEM part and it keeps your cartridge off the landfills!
REUSE BOILED WATER FOR PLANTS»
Anytime that you cook pasta or steam vegetables you'll have a lot of extra water. Instead of pouring the water down the drain let it cool off and then use it to water your indoor and outdoor plants! The nutrients from the food that you boil will still be in the food, so it's extra healthy for your plants!
MAKE THE TRAVEL CHOICE THAT MAKES A DIFFERENCE»
By choosing responsible travel, you can have the fabulous vacation that you've dreamed of, while ensuring that your dollars are benefiting the environment and the local people at your destination. When choosing destinations, accommodations, and tour operators, consider which ones work to protect the environment and benefit local cultures and communities. Choose wisely and ask questions - before you go, while you are there and after you come back. Learn more - http://www.ecotourism.org/
COFFEE FOR THE GROUND»
Used coffee grounds are an excellent plant food and soil conditioner; they attract earthworms, which do all kinds of good things for the soil, including providing worm castings, bags of which are ridiculously expensive if you have to buy them. You can toss the grounds directly onto a planting bed; in no time at all, the worms will have worked them into "black gold" for your garden and loosened your soil at the same time. (P.S. Get a reusable filter; I can't vouch for the biodegradability of the paper kind as I've not used them for a decade.)
SCRUB WITH LOOFAH»
All of those appliances and electronics use energy even when they are off. Unplug them when they are not in use and you will not only help the planet by saving energy, but you will also help yourself by reducing your electricity bills.
BECOME A GARAGE SALER»
Hosting or purchasing things from a garage sale is not only easy on your pocketbook, but a great way to reduce waste and reuse items. I look online each week to find local sales that may have things I need...and I always find the cutest things for my 2-year-old daughter! She loves seeing the other children (and the pets, of course). It's fun for both of us!
BE BERRY GOOD TO YOURSELF AND TO THE BIRDS»
Plant raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, gooseberries, etc. and share the bounty with neighbors and wildlife.
RE-USABLE BAG FOR EVERYTHING!!»
Carry re-usable bags for ALL your purchases, not just the grocery store. I take them into the hardware store, pharmacy, Home Depot, Costco, even fast food and take out places! You would not believve how many OTHER places you can accumulate plastic bags, and how many are surprised when you have your own. You have to stop the store clerks before they pack though, or they automaticlly grab plastic.
USE A HANDKERCHIEF»
Kleenex tissues are made using virgin wood pulp, which they claim makes the tissues softer. You could buy tissues made from recycled material ("green" tissues). Instead, how about REDUCING CONSUMPTION and stop using kleenex or other paper products to blow your nose. Buy a pack of handkerchiefs instead. But wait, that's still consumption. Better yet, take an old shirt or sheet and make your own.
Put all of your applicances, computers, tvs, etc on to power strips. Instead of clicking the remote, switch off the power switch on the power strip. This will turn off all of those little red lights that suck off energy through the outlet -- a.k.a. vampire electricity. Your savings could be up to $60-75 annually.
"DEW" WASH YOUR CAR!»
Conserve water and still have a clean car! Next time you notice dew drops glistening on the morning grass, leave your car outside overnight so that it collects moisture. Before driving off to work or school, towel dry your car. Presto - you have a clean car without wasting water or polluting storm drains with soap residues! For extra squeaky clean windows, spray a bit of vinegar and wipe dry for extra sparkly windshields. If you do this on a weekly basis, you'll never have to waste water!
SWITCH TO GLASS»
I am getting rid of all my plastic containers and switching to glass containers for storage, cooking, freezing, etc.
Composting keeps methane producing organics out of landfills. (Methane is 23 times worse than CO2!)
TOLBY: Turn Off Lights Behind You! This is what we remind each other to do in our family.
CARRY A COFFEE MUG WITH YOU»
Wear light means lesser cloth to wash, less washing powder needed, less water.
TAKE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION!»
Public transportation is one of the greenest ways to travel. Although it does take a significant amount of energy to power our trains and buses, if you divide the output of energy by the number of people riding, the amount of energy used by each person is very low. Also, many cities are revamping their transportation systems to include electric buses that reduce the amount of greenhouse gases and eliminate our reliance on gasoline.
TURN TRASH INTO TREASURE»
Only 4-7% of soil's make-up is organic matter, (the rest being minerals, air and water) but without that small amount of organic matter(used to be alive -now it's dead) life on this planet would not exist. It's the nutrient cycle and we can all pitch in...literally! Compost! Another advantage...if we all compost our food and yard waste we can reduce the amount of material going to those nasty landfills by 25% -and end up with a nutrient rich, soil-like material called compost. great for gardening or just tossing on the lawn or under a bush. Put it back!
CREATE A GARDEN»
Create a community garden with your neighbors that you can all enjoy!
USE CLOTH DIAPERS!»
Use cloth diapers! They are fun, easy to use, cute, and good for the environment! Did you know that one disposable diaper can take over 500 years to decompose? Take that and the fact that the average baby in disposables will send about 1 ton of stinky garbage to the landfill! Go cloth:) don't be afraid!
DINE OUT VS CARRY OUT»
My family doesn't do carry out anymore. Ever look at how much more waste your meal contains when you do carry out? Whenever possible eat at the restaurant. Even if they don't have real dishes the waste created is usually substantially less than if you take it home in all that styrofoam and foil.
USE A MULCHING MOWER»
During the summer count how many bags of grass clipping you see lined up at the curb on trash day. In most communities that goes straight to the landfill. Use a mulching mower and let the clippings fall; your grass will be healthier for it and so will the planet. (Better yet, get rid of the grass and plant a garden, Americans use tons of chemicals to get that perfect green grass.)
HYPER-LOCAL COMMUNITY SWAPPING AND SHARING FOR STUFF, LABOR, AND FOOD»
I am happy to have found your site, and look forward to sharing the success we are having in Portland with the community converting lawns into food gardens, swapping, sharing stuff, and really going hyper-local for everything.
Instead of throwing away uneaten food and newspaper, resuse it. By purchasing a few dozen red worms and keeping them in a container in your garage you greatly reduce your trash output. You place your leftover food in the container full of worms to be turned into compost. Along with saving newspaper and food, you are also creating a valuable fertilizer that can be used for gardening.
RAIN WATER COLLECTION»
Collect hundreds of gallans of water from your gutter downspouts and use it in the heat of the summer. Look it up on the web. Its easy!
UNPLUG YOUR CHARGER»
WATER BOTTLE, PLANT WATER»
If your are still using water bottles (stop) drain any leftover water from the bottle onto your plants.
DOUBLE DECKER GREEN»
In all of the large cities of the world the overcrowding problem in subways deters people from their use. A simple solution would be to create double decker subway cars and double decker platforms, thereby with one simple design move doubling transport capacity, cutting platform congestion by 50% and making this method of green transport more appealing to the average citizen. Heck, let's make them Triple deckers!
Do you want to save energy? Well here is a good tip. Instead of playing on your computer, watching TV or even playing video games, just go outside and try to pick trash up or volunteer at recycle committees around your neighborhood.
WATER ON THE GO!»
We pack empty refillable stainless steel water bottles whenever we travel, by doing so we are always well hydrated, we save money and reduce single-use container trash.
at 11:03 PM