It’s Easy Being Green
The spring foliage popping up is a great reminder to go green! In honor of Earth Day April 22, here are some ideas to reduce waste, save energy and keep your home eco-friendly. They may even save you money, so what’s not to love?
in the kitchen
- Buy coffee with a USDA Certified Organic label. This means it was produced using sustainable standards.
- Stick with certified organically grown fruits and vegetables, which are raised without synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
- Don’t handwash dishes (it uses more water and requires energy to heat the water). Make sure the dishwasher is full before you run it, use the light cycle and turn off heated drying.
- Drink from a reusable water bottle. Only 20 percent of plastic water bottles used each year (50 billion!) are recycled. The rest end up in landfills and oceans.
- Go meatless at least one or two nights a week. Raising livestock takes a lot of energy and produces greenhouse gases, so cutting back can make a difference.
- It takes 110 million trees and 130 billion gallons of water to produce the amount of paper towels used in the U.S. alone. Use cloth napkins!
in the home office
- Set your computer to go into sleep mode whenever you’re not using it.
- Switch your printer to the ‘double-sided’ setting to conserve paper.
in the yard
- Save energy and heating/cooling costs by planting trees in strategic locations around your house, especially on the south and west sides. Shade your HVAC unit if possible.
- Use spent coffee grounds to enrich the soil around acid-loving plants like azaleas and rhododendron.
- Create a compost heap to recycle certain food and plant wastes and produce useful fertilizer.
- Replace pre-1992 toilets with low-flow fixtures that use less water.
- Install a programmable thermostat that saves energy by adjusting the temperature when no one is home.
- Switch to a front-loading dishwasher; it uses less water than top-loading models.
- Upgrade your insulation and install thermal window shades to conserve energy.