Earth Day is an annual event celebrated on April 22, and most of us wonder what one thing we can do to participate, so I wanted to share some easy to apply tips that most of us can incorporate into our daily lives, not just on Earth Day.
As I advise when learning new organizing habits, you don’t have to try to do them all at once. Pick one or two tips at a time and work them into your daily or weekly habits. Some tips simply require a one-time change, e.g. changing your shower head to a more efficient one, and others will require some reminders to keep it going.
Use less electricity:
- Unplug appliances when not in use
- Use the “no heat” setting on your dishwasher
- Install a programmable thermostat
- Close heat and A/C vents in rooms that you’re not using
- Switch to low wattage light bulbs and turn lights off when not in use.
Use less water:
- Don’t run the water unnecessarily
- Do a full load of dishes or laundry at a time
- Fix a leaking faucet
- Spend less time in the shower or replace your shower head with a more efficient one.
- Save rain water to water plants. Plants prefer it!
Recycle and Reuse:
- Bring your own shopping bags to the grocery store.
- Participate in your county’s recycle program, if offered
- Host a clothing swap with your friends
- Instead of buying new, check to see if you already have a substitute you can use, or try to live without it altogether. Think “less is more”.
- Swap magazines and books with friends and family, or go digital.
- Take your old electronics to an electronics recycling center, e.g. old computers, tube TVs, VCRs, etc.
- If you have a Best Buy store nearby, check to see if they are participating in the Best Buy Electronics Recycling Program (e-cycle).
- The following guide to reducing e-waste with resources on how to donate or recycle old electronics and appliances, including information on the dangers of electronic waste, was brought to my attention by friends: Go Green: Recycling Electronics and Appliances
- Appliances: Select energy saving appliances over an appliance that may cost less, but will end up being more costly to run. Keeping an old appliance forever may feel like you’re saving money, but you may be surprised at how much more energy you’re using compared to a newer energy-efficient model.
- Vehicles: If you’re in the market to buy a new vehicle, consider a hybrid model or a more fuel efficient vehicle if you currently own a gas guzzler.
Finally, reduce your carbon footprint:
- If it’s available, take public transportation or walk or bike (if it’s safe to do so).
- Carpool to work with a colleague – it doesn’t have to be every day. Take a look at both of your schedules to see if you can carpool at least one day a week. It’s also a great way to learn more about someone that you may not have the time to converse with during the day.
Pick your top 5 and get started today!
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For local Howard County residents:
The next Greenfest event is on Sat, Apr 22 at the Howard County Community College(HCC). During the event there will be free shredding from 10am-2pm in the HCC parking lot.
Learn more here: Greenfest 2017
There are dozens more energy saving tips you can learn about. The US Department of Energy has a free Energy Savings Guide. Check it out here. http://www1.eere.energy.gov/consumer/tips/pdfs/energy_savers.pdf