April 20, 2012

Green Up for Earth Week: No. 2

The second installment of this Earth week mini-series is much more comprehensive. No matter who you are, you can definitely put some of these tips from Real Simple into action!

I freaking love this magazine. I got eight free issues once... those were eight of the best months of my life. I just feel a little wasteful because I move through magazines at a snail's pace, so maybe I'll revisit a Real Simple subscription again sometime in the future. But as for now, reviewing old magazines and clipping the heck out of them along with frequenting the website, seems to satisfy my cravings.

So without further ado...

All ideas by Real Simple. Read source article here!

1. Set a programmable thermostat. Don't heat or cool the house when you're not in it!

2. Only wash your clothes when they're actually dirty. Most washing machines are 40 gallons per load. Whoa. Don't wash your clothes when they're wrinkled - wash them when they really need it, and do it in cold water. That way, you're saving the electricity that it takes to heat that water up, too.

3. Clean the drier filter. 30% more energy is used when those things are clogged! Yuck.

4. Choose a laptop.  Laptops use about half the energy that a desktop does, and they also don't need to be plugged in all the time. If a desktop is the way you have to go - unplug when you leave. About 10% of energy costs comes from what's called "phantom power" - that's energy used when something is plugged in even though it's off. The nerve.

5. Cut back on the junk. Junk mail eats up trees, water and releases harmful emissions. Real Simple says if each American went through the slight hassle it takes to cancel some junk mail, 100 million trees would be saved each year. That definitely sounds worth it to me.

6. Buy green from your utility. For a few extra bucks a month, you can choose to be powered by renewable energy!

7. Turn off the tap. Three gallons a minute, so no need for the babbling brook sound effects while you pee, brush your teeth or shave.

8. Use a water filter. Brita is just as good as bottled water, so don't fear the tap! You can even get the kind that attach straight to your faucet!

9. Install a better showerhead. You can save 1,000 to 8,000 gallons of water, and not lose the pressure you love!

10. Give up red meat once a week. The meat production industry is killer on our resources. Skipping out just once a week can save 840 gallons of fresh water... for one serving?! How on earth...

11. Use biodegradable and plant-based dishwasher soap. They still get the job done, but without the chemicals.

12. Choose the right appliance. Electric kettles, toaster ovens and slow cookers - all very energy efficient appliances!

13. Donate old cell phones. These little devils produce more than 65,000 tons of potentially harmful waste. Do you really need that new phone? If so, recycle the old one!

14. Recycle wisely. Learn what can go and what can't! There is always more to be recycled. Earth911.org is an excellent resource!

15. Reuse everything. Think of new uses for things, give hand-me-downs, receive hand-me-downs, thrift shop... make a game out of it :) "Now what else could I do with this....?"

16. Carry a reusable water bottle. Save your cash for things like gas. Americans use 3.3 million plastic bottles every hour... and only 1 in 5 get recycled. That's horrific.

17. Don't idle. Turn your ignition off! No, it doesn't waste more gas than idling. And less emissions too!

18. Tune up. Maintaining your car the way you should is far better for the environment. Oh, and speeding, fast accelerations and quick braking wastes gas!

19. Buy recycled napkins. If every American purchased one package of 100% recycled napkins, 1 million trees would be saved. Or - why not try cloth? But remember to reuse and only wash in cold when they're very dirty!

20. Purchase organic cotton clothes. Cotton is the second most chemically sprayed crop in America (corn is first). Ew.

21. Choose biodegradable cat litter, which can be flushed instead of dumped into land fills!

22. Buy local foods. Of course. It's fresher, supports local farmers, conserves fuel and reduces pollution. Can't go wrong.

23. Bring your own bags. Not as obvious as it sounds. Americans are still using about 100 billion plastic bags a year. Don't even get me started on what happens when those hit the ocean! Plastic bags have got to go!

24. Choose the right fish. Wild salmon is best, and check out this seafood watch guide to prevent overfishing: mbayaq.org

25. Reduce excess packaging. Let your veggies roam free in the cart, buy music online, and see what alternatives there are to heavily packaged goods.

Visit the source article for more details!

What's on tomorrow's agenda? A good long Earth Day-Eve hike in the White Mountains.
Look for another late night post tomorrow - if I don't fall asleep on the ride home. No promises.

Have a good weekend!

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