Greening - What Can I Do?
Itís simple: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. If everyone made an attempt to green their daily lives, it would make a significant positive impact on environment. The important thing is to use energy and materials efficiently to prevent new resources from being used and to also limit the amount of waste and CO2 produced.
Fact: The U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually. An estimated 12 million barrels of oil is required to make that many plastic bags. (see
- Buy local and organic food.
- Avoid to-go packaging if you donít need it.
- Buy products made with recycled or biodegradable material.
- Buy products with minimal packaging or in bulk.
- Use a reusable bag when shopping for groceries instead of disposable plastic bags. (If you take a plastic bag, reuse it as a liner in small trash bins or bring them back to the store to be recycled.)
- Use a reusable coffee mug and water bottle instead of buying disposable cups and bottles.
- Buy environmentally friendly cleaning products.
- Look for used items instead of buying new ones. Buy vintage clothes and furniture or ask friends and neighbors for giveaways. Borrow books from your local library instead of the going to the bookstore.
- Eliminate impulse buying and buy items that will last a long time, even if they are a bit more expensive.
Fact: U.S. autos emit more than 333 million tons of carbon dioxide each year, more than one-fifth of the nation's total carbon dioxide emissions
(Environmental Defense Fund, http://www.edf.org/page.cfm?tagID=1126)
- Walk, bike, carpool, or use public transportation whenever possible.
- Choose an energy efficient car like a hybrid or one that gets good gas mileage.
- Combine errands into one trip.
- Keep car tires inflated for better gas mileage.
- Do not let your car idle.
Fact: Every year, the U.S. thermoelectric industry uses 3.3 billion gallons of water. This number is projected to more than double to 7.3 billion gallons by 2030.
(Environmental Defense Fund, http://blogs.edf.org/climate411/2007/11/07/water_and_energy/)
- Wash clothes only when you have a full load in cold or warm water instead of hot and allow cloths to air dry.
- Use your dishwasher instead of washing dishes by hand if you have a full load (itís more efficient) and allow them to air dry instead of using the drying cycle.
- Install low-flow toilets and shower heads and also take shorter showers.
- Repair leaky plumbing to prevent wasting water.
Fact: If every household replaced just three 60-watt incandescent bulbs with CFL bulbs, the pollution savings would be like taking 3.5 million cars off the road.
(Environmental Defense Fund, http://www.fightglobalwarming.com/page.cfm?tagID=608)
- Rake leaves by hand instead of using a leaf blower.
- Seal cracks in drafty windows and doors to increase energy efficiency in your home.
- Try to use a fan in the summer instead of an air conditioner.
- When you do use you air conditioner, clean the filter to increase efficiency.
- Adjust or program your thermostat lower in winter and higher in summer.
- Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact florescent bulbs.
- Shut off any lights that are not being used.
- Unplug appliances not in use (including black battery charging boxes) or plug them into a power strip which you can turn on and off.
- Activate your computerís sleep mode instead of using a screen saver.
- Replace old appliances with energy efficient models, preferably those with the Energy Star label, and use the energy saving settings.
- Use the stairs instead of the elevator.
Fact: As a nation, Americans generate more waste than any other nation in the world with 4.5 pounds of municipal solid waste per person per day.
- Recycle your trash in the appropriate bins.
- Bring old ink cartridges, phones, cameras, and batteries to electronics stores to be recycled.
- Set up a compost pile and use it instead chemical fertilizer.
- Donít flush medicine or other trash down the toilet.
- Donate your useable items instead of throwing them away.
- Always find a trash can to dispose of garbage when youíre outside and donít litter.
- Cut up old clothes and use them as cleaning rags instead of paper towels.
- Switch to paperless billing statements and online payment systems.
- Call or write companies to remove you from unwanted mailing lists.
- Save computer files to a disk instead of always printing out a hard copy.
- When printing, use both sides of the paper.
- Use scrap paper to write notes.
- Use and wash real dishes and cloth napkins instead of using disposable ones.