Most of us are aware that the environment needs our help. But when we hear about so many different issues from global warming and holes in the ozone layer, to the diminishing rainforests and overcrowded landfills, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. In reality, we can be good stewards of our environment with minimal changes in our daily routines. Here are just a few ways that each and every person can help the environment by reducing, reusing, and recycling.
Use Less Water
There’s no need to have the water continuously running while you brush your teeth or wash dishes. When brushing your teeth, choose instead to wet your toothbrush, brush as you would normally, and leave the water off till your ready to rinse out the sink. For dishes, a constant flow of water wastes literally thousands of gallons each year. Try filling one side of the sink only half way for washing, then transferring to the other side to rinse – waiting till you have a sink full of dishes to rinse at one time.
Use Less Electricity
Turn lights off when you leave a room, and unplug seldom used appliances. Using compact flourescent bulbs in your light fixtures are economical and energy efficient. Set your thermostat to the high 70s in Summer and the low 60s in Winter when you are away from home.
Use Less Paper Products
Read news articles online and cancel your newspaper subscription. Reduce or eliminate the use of paper towels, napkins, plates, and cups. Shop with canvas bags you can bring from home, instead of opting for paper (or plastic) grocery bags. Doing so will save thousands of trees.
Use Less Fossil Fuels
Have a gas dryer? Save it for a rainy or cold day. Sun dried towels and linens not only reduce fossil fuel consumption – they smell wonderful too! Carpool, bike, or walk whenever possible. Plan out your errands and grocery shopping for the week, combining them into one trip. You’ll save money on gas, as well as reducing emissions.
Use Less Chemicals
There are several eco-friendly cleaning products on the market these days. They’re a great alternative to traditional cleaners which can be high in toxic fumes. Homemade cleaning remedies can also easily be made from common items like baking soda and vinegar.
Use Less Toxic Paint
Low VOC (volatile organic compound) paints or water-based paints are a healthy alternative for your family and the environment. In addition, painting with brushes or rollers will minimize harmful emissions.
Use Recycled Materials For Packing
Recycled shredded paper makes excellent packing material for even the most delicate Christmas ornaments or china. Old newspapers are also a great alternative.
Recycle At Work
Make it a joint effort of all in your office or place of business to not only recycle bottles and cans but paper and other recyclable goods. Use bulletin boards to post memos or company news. Have a recycling station for printer cartridges, batteries, and other items that are normally disposed of in offices.
Whether you are building a new home or considering remodeling, using eco-friendly building plans and materials reduces your carbon footprint and improve your home’s energy efficiency by up to 40%. You can download entire sets of eco-friendly house plans free of charge at www.freegreen.com
Get involved with an environmental group or cause, even if you can only commit to a part-time basis. Volunteer time to clean up beaches or a state park. Advocate on behalf of the Earth by joining an Earth Day event, or even by starting an eco-friendly blog.
There are many, many more ways you can help save the environment – the first step is wanting to help.
For additional ideas and resources: http://www.seql.org/100ways.cfm