If you have children or grandchildren, you may well find that they are far ahead of you when it comes to worrying about the planet. But with a little bit of time and effort you can catch up and even overtake them in helping to save their inheritance. We all really know what needs to be done and what is harming our world, but may be a little reminder will help.
The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico brought home the dangers of damage to our environment
So are you doing your bit? Or are you feeling guilty and wish you could do much more?
Here are some tips for around the home:-
• Refill and don’t landfill your empty printer cartridges -
1.9 billion printer cartridges are used worldwide every year of which laser printer cartridges account for all throw away cartridges. These take over 450 years to decompose. Every re-manufactured cartridge or refilled cartridge means one less going to landfill. This is something you can do.
• Print less -
Think of the trees you are pushing through your printer. If you can keep it electronic, do so or re-use sheets of paper and try to print on both sides of the sheet.
• Recycle all your waste products
- These include paper, plastic, cans, glass bottles. The important thing is to set up a decent sorting system that is easy to use and dispose of. Many city and town councils now collect a dedicated recycling bin from households regularly so you no longer have to sort but just place straight in the bin ready for collection. Invest in a compost bin. They can vary in cost but composting at home can make a significant dent in household waste. Leaves, grass clippings, vegetable peelings and scraps can be turned into a nutrient-rich soil for your garden. You save on commercial fertilizers at the same time. Plant something too. Plants absorb carbon during photosynthesis and, in turn generate our planet’s oxygen supplies. You can plant something even if you live in the smallest apartment.
• Stop the junk mail and save paper -
For a $15 one time fee, Green Dimes will send you a junk-mail opt-out kit that will remove your name from mailing lists for junk mail and catalogs. They continue to monitor the lists to ensure your names stay off. Your junk mail should reduce by 90%. Anything that gets through should be recycled with your other paper.
• Save energy in the home
- Turn off lights in empty rooms and appliances not being used.
• If you use a dishwasher
, you will save up to 7300 gallons of water a year if you always run a full dishwasher load. You can save more by running in off-peak hours – say 9pm to 7am.
• Use a home filter for tap water
- Decant into a glass bottle or flask if you need to take water out with you. Avoid bottled water and help save the 1.5 million tons of plastic used per year for the bottling of 89 billion liters water (not to mention the fuel for transporting the finished product).
• Green your laundry -
Line-dry your clothes and wash them in warm or cold water using an eco friendly detergent formulated for cold-water use. The companies Ecover, Sun & Earth, Seventh Generation and OxyPrime make less-toxic alternatives to traditional laundry detergents, fabric softeners etc. OxyBoost supplies a non chlorine bleach. If you have to use your dryer, clean the lint screen every time you use it and don’t overload. This can save 5% on your electricity bill. Think about your bathroom at the same time. Installing a new shower head and replacing an old toilet with with today's standard low flush model will make a big difference to your water consumption.
• Heating and cooling your home -
Regular maintenance and a tune-up every 2 to 3 years will keep your heating, ventilation and air conditioning operating more efficiently, saving energy and costs. Vented range hoods and room exhaust fans also help remove smoke, moisture, airborne bacterial and other indoor air pollutants. But just opening windows and giving your home a good airing regularly will work too. It's free! Upgrade the insulation in your home as well as sealing ducts, caulking and weather stripping to reduce energy loss further. If you can lower your temperature in winter, you will save some 3% on heating for every degree. The same goes with air conditioning in summer – try raising your thermostat a degree or two. You should be dressed for winter in winter and for summer in summer! Remember that when properly sited, trees and other landscaping can save up to 30% in home cooling and heating costs. They also help cool your whole community.
• Shopping -
Take reusable bags with you to carry home your shopping and plan your trips so that you get everything in one go and in one car trip. Walk to the shop whenever you can. Save money and get exercise at the same time! If you need treatments for different conditions, you can order those healing natural oils
products on line and save another trip!
You see it is just a matter of making it become a habit. And there is a bonus too. You will definitely save money, you will be showing your children that you care about the environment and their future world, and you could even be one step ahead of them for once!