Any time of year is a great time for all of us to do what we can to help the Earth. Here are a few ways you can help the planet by “going green” every day:
Sustainable products. Invest in sustainable products to use in your home such as reusable food storage containers, jars, cutlery, cups, mugs, plates, straws, grocery and product bags, and eco-friendly paper towels.
Compost. It’s the law in some municipalities, and just something you should do. The most efficient way you can make a difference is to compost with your waste pickup service if offered in your area.
Recycle your e-waste. More than 50 million tons of electronic waste are generated each year in the U.S. alone and only 20 to 25 percent of the waste is responsibly recycled. As a direct consequence, large amounts of hazardous materials such as lead, mercury and cadmium leach into our air and water, contaminating our communities. Go to e-stewards.org to find a facility that will help you to recycle your e-waste in a safe and responsible manner.
Donate your old clothes. Much of your old, unused clothing can be given a second life by others who purchase secondhand; regenerated into textiles for other products such as cleaning cloths; or turned into fibers for insulation.
Reduce junk mail. Junk mail accounts for cutting down one hundred million trees each year. Switch to online payments for all of your bills and use a service such as paperkarma.com to help you opt out of catalogs, coupons, credit card offers and other mailings.
Buy local produce and eat “low on the food chain.” Increase healthy habits and reduce your carbon footprint by eating more fresh fruits and vegetables and buying your produce locally. Visit your local farmers markets to learn more about buying locally produced food and supporting your local growers. Fight food waste with an Imperfect Food subscription, imperfectfoods.com.
Reduce energy use at home. We’ve heard for years that we should use compact fluorescent or LED bulbs. LEDs are more expensive but last longer and will save you money over their lifetime. Use the auto brightness feature on your TV to lower the brightness in low light (nighttime); wash clothes in cold water and spin at the highest speed (removes the most moisture, which means less time in the dryer); completely unplug gaming consoles and DVR players when you’re out of town, as these types of electronics are drawing power even when turned off.
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