13 Ways You Can Save The Environment

13 Ways You Can Save The Environment

It’s official, lists of 10 are beyond cliche. And lists of 11, once a refreshing twist, are now even more banal than the lists of 10 they sought to avoid. So, in a weak attempt at originality, today I present you with my baker’s dozen list of ways to save energy and the environment!

 

1. Sweep It. Don’t Spray It. 

Limit, as much as possible, the use of water. Of course water is not that expensive (at least for now); but saving water saves energy and a valuable resource as well. When cleaning the driveway, the deck or patio, using a broom instead of a hose would save several hundreds of gallons of water a year. Now imagine your entire neighborhood doing it that way. We could save a ton of water (1 ton= 239.65 gallons, which is actually far less than what would be saved).

2. Push It Good. Push It Real Good.

A manual push mower is a good idea to mow a small lawn. Aside from not using electricity or fuel to ride or push the mowing machine, it is also good exercise. Alternatively, buy a goat to eat your excess turf.

3. Rake For Old Time Sake.

Rakes are good leaf movers. Like the manual push mower, you do not need energy to fuel up a machine to get the job done. There is also a sense of nostalgia in using this traditional tool. After raking you can even jump into the pile you formed. Just make sure to rake it all up again.

4. Let There Be (Efficient) Light.

Use compact fluorescent light bulbs or LEDs to light up your driveway or as a security light. LEDs and CFLs are some of the most handy and energy efficient products that you can have. If you are worried about bugs sticking to the light, there are yellow options available. Outdoor, driveway and security lights are often on the longest, so switching these from traditional to efficient bulbs could pay you the most reward.

5. Quality Beats Quantity.

When shopping, avoid going for the disposable option. Disposable products need more landfills and landfills emit dangerous gasses. Go instead for items that could be used several times over. Again when shopping, go for products that are made of better quality. They might be a little more expensive but generally, quality products last longer.

6. Become a Bag Lady (Or Man).

Bring your own bags when shopping. Luckily in Los Angeles where I live, and in many other cities across the country, there are now laws in place banning stores from providing plastic bags. So it’s becoming more common to travel with totes readily available. Plastic bags are oil based and are not biodegradable.  If you bring your bag with you, you not only help in saving energy, you might also get a discount from your store.

7. Battery Is a Crime. Rechargeable Battery Isn’t!

Batteries contain toxic materials. They produce heavy metal like arsenic, mercury, and Iron Maiden (okay, just kidding about the last one). Thus, disposal batteries need proper care. Once the heavy metal in batteries seeps into the ground, it has a good chance of contaminating the ground water and soil. When buying products that need batteries, pick those that are rechargeable. That way battery disposal is limited and you save on the cost of buying new batteries.

8. Bigger Cars Are Bigger Problems.

Good thing SUV sales everywhere are going down. SUVs use much more energy than compact sedans for the same distance. While using SUV’s could be fun, there is also that tinge of indifference to the current energy issues and environmental problems we are facing. Reducing the use of SUVs on the street may not mean too much in terms greenhouse gas emissions but it’s a signal to manufacturers to build more energy efficient vehicles. Meanwhile, smaller cars are more efficient, easier to maneuver and park, and most newer model small cars are packed with some serious safety features, meaning you won’t have to sacrifice size for security.

9. Solar Is SO Good!

The use of solar power is an excellent idea if you want to tackle the issues of energy conservation and environmental protection. If there is one thing that the world needs most at this time, it is the widespread use of solar power. Thankfully, it’s never been easier or more affordable to add a full or partial solar system to your home. Look into it!

10. Save Energy and Frustration.

Energy saving devices may cost a little extra but the pay-offs are much more than the extra cost in terms of longer life spans and energy saved. Seriously. Just go for it and you’ll feel a lot better about yourself too. Don’t you hate changing light bulbs? Well, switching to an LED bulb could mean you won’t have to change that bulb again for another 22 years if you use it 3 hours a day. Use it for 6 hours a day? Fine, you won’t have to change it for 11 years. Some of my light bulbs are harder to access than an impenetrable fortress, so the idea of having to change them every 11 years rather than every 3 months, like a traditional light bulb, is pretty enticing. Don’t you agree? Make the switch to energy saving devices.

11. It’s a Family Affair.

It is best if you get your whole family involved in your quest to conserve energy. This is because all of you would be consuming energy every day. Talk to them about the benefits of saving energy, as well as the consequences of not taking action. Explain things properly, and make sure to make it clear how everyone can help make a difference.

12. Power Up That Dishwasher!

It is always best to use your dishwasher with a full load. Doing it this way can help to conserve energy over washing the dishes by hand. Aside from that, keep in mind that using a dishwasher (with a full load) actually consumes less amounts of water as well as energy than washing the dishes manually. Newer models of dishwashers often include an energy saving or efficient mode that will clean your dishes using the least amount of water and energy possible.

13. Cover It Before You Cool It.

It is important to cover or wrap foods that you store inside your refrigerator. This is because foods that are uncovered can release moisture inside the cooling unit. When that happens, it actually makes the compressor work harder, which means more energy consumed. Besides that, it also makes your fridge smell funky. So please, wrap it up folks.

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Creative Ways to Reuse Plastic Bags

Creative Ways to Reuse Plastic Bags

Plastic bags are one of the biggest perpetrators of environmental harm. Every year, 380 billion (with a “b”) are consumed in the United States alone. Global estimates put the number of plastic bags used every year at almost a trillion bags. In other words, approximately one million plastic bags are being used and thrown away every minute.

The damage to the environment is colossal. For one, they’re not biodegradable. They never break down. They just sit there. They take up space and leech harmful chemicals. If they make their way into wildlife or marine life, they’ll often choke animals. Turtles, for instance, can mistake plastic bags for jellyfish. They try to eat them, then die when the plastic bags expand in their stomach.

Long story short: Throwing away plastic bags is bad and contributes to a massive global problem.

Recycling is better, but still not the ideal option. Recycling uses a lot of energy and also produces harmful chemical residues in and of itself. Instead, reusing your plastic bags is perhaps the #1 way to help the environment – while saving money.

Here are a few ways you can reuse your plastic bag.

Use It as a Trash Bag

Use it in your kitchen, in your bedrooms or in the bathroom as a trash bag.

This way, you don’t have to buy garbage bags. You can even keep reusing each bag until it tears. Alternatively, you can just use each bag once and throw it out. Chances are, you’ll never run out of trash bags.

Doggy Poop Bags

Instead of buying doggy poop bags or using zip lock bags, just use your plastic bags.

Save up your plastic bags. If you accumulate a lot of bags, this is a fantastic way to put them to use.

Use It to Collect Leaves

Do you use leaf bags to help manage your garden? Instead of using other bags, why not just use your existing plastic bags instead?

As a Food Storage Tool

A lot of foods are incredibly messy to store. For example, flour can get all over the place once you’ve opened it.

If you should ever need to store something messy like spices or flour, you can easily just store it in a plastic bag and twist the top to close.

Tear It Up for Packaging

Shred up your used plastic bags and use them for packaging. Instead of using newspaper or buying bubble wrap, just collect your old plastic bags and crumple them up.

As you can tell, there are a lot of ways to put old plastic bags to use. Of course, the best environmental course is to use your own bags whenever possible. If you do build up plastic bags, however, don’t throw them away – reuse them instead. Now you know how.

 

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Recycling: Are You Doing Everything You Can?

Recycling: Are You Doing Everything You Can?

It may come as a surprise to you, but there is a really good chance that the town or city you live in offer a service you may not have heard of; an energy audit. Cities and towns all over the country have started doing this, where an auditor comes to your home and goes through your living space and helps you to see where you could make changes that will not only help you conserve energy but will help you save money! What a bonus it is to save money by doing the right thing.

There are so many changes you can make in your home to impact the way we recycle and in the end, will help you keep some of the money in your pocket.

Having recycling bins set up so that you can properly sort the items that are recycled is a great first step. That activity alone can cut down greatly on the items that end up in the landfills rather than where they can be recycled.

Keeping your televisions, DVDs, stereos and computers plugged in to a power strip or surge protector rather than directly into the wall and then turning off the power strip will cut back greatly on power “leaks” that can cost you money on your utility bill. Being aware to turn these items off, is the first step, and then having them plugged into the power strip will just further the action for saving money and energy.

Don’t leave a light on when you walk out of a room and no one else is in there. And have you changed your light bulbs from the traditional ones to the compact fluorescent fluorescent kind? Did you know that the newer lights use 75% less energy to run and they will out live a traditional light bulb by up to 10 years? Make the changes that need to be made in your home.

Don’t run the dishwasher or the washing machine unless they are full. It’s a waste of energy and water to run a cycle through the dishwasher when it’s only half full. Don’t turn it on until you have a full load to wash and then just wash them all at once.

Use microfiber cloths for cleaning all kinds of surfaces like furniture, counters and sinks. The bonus is that these items can be tossed into the washer and are perfectly able to be reused again and again. Think of the savings in paper towels alone! Talk about a win-win; if we use fewer paper towels, then that means fewer trees need to be cut to make them in the first place. How can we go wrong with thinking like that?

Take shorter showers and see if you can pick up a shower head that is a water-conserving item, already in place, that will save you money and you’ll never even notice the difference during your shower.

There is so much you can do in the efforts to recycle, just be sure you’re doing your part.

 

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