Green Living Tips
Where should you begin on your journey toward a more eco-friendly lifestyle? Look no further than your own abode. From sealing drafty windows to replacing toxic cleaners, these tips can boost your home efficiency.
- Take control of your electricity costs.
When your thermostat is set below 78 degrees, each degree lower could increase your cost by 7 percent during the summer. Avoid storing your freezer in the garage, where higher temperatures can require more electricity to keep food frozen.
Shop electricity plans
- Replace toxic cleaners in your home.
A growing number of eco-friendly cleaning products are coming onto the market. You can also consider making your own household cleaning supplies using inexpensive natural alternatives.
- Take the pledge.
Join a Billion Acts of Green, and take the pledge to stop wasting electricity in your home while protecting the planet and securing a sustainable future.
Sources: energy.gov; sierraclubgreenhome.com
If you don't love something, then by all means let it go. But instead of adding it to your local landfill, make sure you either recycle it or give it to someone else who can use it. Here are some other simple recycling concepts that can make a big difference.
- Pay bills online.
Paperless billing not only saves trees, it also eliminates the fossil fuel needed to transport all those billing envelopes back and forth. Plus, you’ll save money on stamps. Sign up for Reliant Paperless Billing.
- Stop junk mail.
Give your mailbox a makeover by getting the mail you want and stopping the mail you don’t. Plus, you’ll help to protect the environment. Learn more about DMAchoice.
- Print on both sides of the paper.
Most software programs give you the option to print on both sides of the paper, but most of us still print only on one side. You’ll save money and your local landfill by printing on both sides.
- Reuse and borrow.
One study showed that the average power tool bought for home use is used for just half an hour in its lifetime. Borrowing from a neighbor is free, so it’s a good first choice. You can also connect to others looking for or getting rid of useable items on Freecycle.
- Recycle your robots.
Electronics recycling is becoming more common in many urban areas, and a number of organizations will take computer parts and turn them into working computers for others.
- Properly dispose of hazardous waste.
Got something to recycle? Earth911 lets you search for a recycling solution for any household product, and provides nearby locations.
Tired of your gas-guzzling car draining your bank account and the world's fossil fuel reserves? If so, it's worth evaluating the efficiency of your transportation habits. With some simple changes, you'll be on the road to a greener ride.
- Stop idling.
Each minute you spend idling your car’s engine means wasting gas and unnecessary wear and tear on your vehicle. Americans idle away 2.9 billion gallons of gas per year, worth around $78.2 billion.
- Take the bus.
Zoom past cars and trucks on freeways by taking advantage of lanes dedicated to high occupancy vehicles, such as buses.
- Carpool it.
You’ll save almost 10 percent of your monthly carbon emission by carpooling, if your drive is 25 miles each way in stop-and-go traffic. Several Web sites make it easy to find carpools near you.
- Walk or ride your bike.
The greatest thing you can do for your health, the environment and traffic congestion is to ride a bike or walk to work.
- Consider an electric vehicle.
Replacing gas-powered autos with those that run on electricity will make a big difference in reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
Feel better about what you buy by considering the environment the next time you go shopping. Even a popular pastime offers an opportunity for greenness. Start with these tips to become a more environmentally savvy consumer.
- Take reusable shopping bags.
The truth is that both plastic and paper bags can be bad for the environment. Using your own bags is inexpensive and makes a real difference.
- Avoid unnecessary purchases.
Green purchasing can also mean refraining from buying things you don’t really need. Consider renting a DVD instead of buying it, or sending an e-card instead of a paper card.
- Buy products that will last.
Avoid wasteful disposable items, and switch to products that will last a long time, such as rechargeable batteries and reusable plastic cups.
- Avoid excess packaging. Search for products that have less packaging, or buy in bulk—you’ll have less to throw away. And, look for products with packaging that can be reused or recycled.
- Buy used.
This will help prevent using more resources or energy. When you’re finished with it, pass it along to the next person so no additional resources are used. You can find retro clothes, house accessories and sports equipment at your local thrift store.
- Buy energy-efficient items.
Look for the ENERGY STAR® logo when buying electronics, such as TVs, DVD players, computers and appliances.
- Green your gift giving.
Consider shopping online to save the fuel emissions of driving to the mall. Or, consider a symbolic gift of a donation that will help Mother Earth, so the recipient knows that the environment is more protected as a result.
- Verify green marketing claims.
The number of products claiming to be eco-friendly or all natural has increased due to the popularity of so-called green products. Use the Federal Trade Commission’s Green Guides to verify product marketing claims are truthful and substantiated.
Sources: epa.gov; earth911.com