Whether you live in the city, suburbs, or a larger piece of land, there are simple steps you and your family can take to feel good about improving and protecting the environment. Chances are you are already doing some form of recycling or actively reducing waste. Do you throw your cans and bottles into designated recycle bins? Do you turn off your lights when you leave the room? We are surrounded with an environmentally conscious way of living. With a few simple steps you can increase your awareness while decreasing your carbon footprint. These steps do not involve major changes in appliances or installing new equipment and you can start today.
- Recycle: This is the easy stuff. Separate your plastics, metals, and paper products. Most cities now have a recycling program. With little effort and habit-forming, throwing rubbish in the proper bins or bags can reduce not only landfill volume, but is a revenue source for your city. Ten states have a deposit on cans or bottles. It may be worth your while to return these empties and recover your money.
- Electricity: Depending on your climate and comfort, adjust your heating or cooling to a few degrees higher or lower. The difference in the amount of energy used to heat a home from 68 F to 72 F is approximately 2%-4% per degree, same with cooling. A small adjustment can reduce consumption and save money. Shut off lights when not in use, and switch over to compact fluorescent bubs. Turn down your hot water heater and wash clothes on the lowest temperature setting that will get them clean. Find a detergent designed for cold-water usage.
- Water usage: Alternate days that you water your lawn, or let your car stay dusty a few days longer. We tend to over-water lawns and flower beds, and car washing uses huge amounts of water. Shorten your showers and turn of the water while brushing your teeth. Cutting your shower time by two minutes saves 700 gallons per month!
- Reuse: Think of applications for household items that you would usually discard. Most stores now offer a credit for loading your purchases in reusable bags, many of which are made from recycled materials. Reuse plastic food containers instead of purchasing disposable ones.
- Chemicals: Some cleaning supplies have more environmentally friendly alternatives, as do personal hygiene supplies. Experiment with new combinations and find the ones that work for your family needs. Such as: vinegar and water and newspaper made an excellent window and glass cleaner,
Once you have some new habits established, continue to find to find more impactful ways of converting to a green lifestyle.
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