Going green has become a catch-phrase in recent years, and it’s on just about everyone’s to-do list, but what does it really mean?
Green or sustainable living is an attempt to reduce our impact on the earth. It’s an effort to be careful with our natural resources, so there will be some left for our grandchildren and the generations beyond.
Sustainable living can be incorporated into just about every aspect of our daily existence. We can drive more fuel-efficient or electric cars, or we can take it a step further and walk or take the train. We can reduce our energy use, our water use, the trash we generate. We can use natural, earth-based products that don’t cause harm to the earth or to ourselves.
At times, the things we SHOULD be doing can feel overwhelming. So let’s focus on some simple things you can do right now in your own home to be more green. There’s no shame in starting small, as long as you get started! Here are some tips to get you headed down the path to sustainable living.
1. If it ain’t broke, don’t replace it
This one sounds simple, but of course we all like new shiny things. However, replacing something that isn’t broken isn’t green; it’s wasteful. Next time you’re tempted by that new ruby red toaster, go home and shine up your old one instead!
Most of us have finally gotten used to turning off lights in empty rooms, but who among us unplugs their television or computer when they leave the house? Appliances and electronics that are turned off, but remain plugged in, still waste energy. One easy solution is to use power strips for several appliances or electronics, then just turn off the strip when not in use.
3. Check your temp
Lower your thermostat just one degree. This simple step can save as much as 10 percent of your heating bill.
4. Change your bulbs
Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs. These often last longer and use less wattage than incandescent bulbs.
5. Shorten your shower
Depending on how old your showerhead is, you typically use 2.5 – 5 gallons of water per minute. Each minute you can shave off your shower, is water saved.
6. Go low flow
Switching out an old showerhead can save 55 percent in water use, without shortening the shower time. If you want to be really green, bring a bucket in the shower with you to catch the water, then use it on your plants!
7. Don’t flush so much
Flushing the typical household toilet uses over six gallons of water! So don’t flush casually. Or, install a low-flow toilet, which typically uses 1.6 gallons per flush.
8. Install faucet aerators
These are simple to install and cost only a couple of dollars but can save 1.5 gallons per minute when you’re washing dishes or brushing your teeth.
9. Go cold
Washing all of your laundry in cold water will save the energy it takes to heat the water, and also save you from turning white T-shirts pink!
10. Use a clothesline
When it’s warm outside, hang your clothes up to dry, just like your grandmother did.
11. Go paperless where you can
If you have the option to pay bills online, do it!
12. Haunt thrift shops!
If you absolutely need to buy something, check your local thrift shop first. Buy something that’s been used and you’re not being a hipster, you’re being green.
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