by Wendy Gabriel
10 Simple Tips for Green Living
1. Reduce, reduce, reduce. Here are a few simple ways to reduce your impact and conserve our resources:
- Turn off the tap water when brushing your teeth.
- Take shorter showers.
- Use cold water to wash clothes whenever possible.
- Run your clothes washer and dishwasher only when they are full.
- Drink filtered tap water instead of bottled water.
- Regularly replace the filter on your Heating, Ventilating and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) system. Check furnace or heat pump filters once a month for blockages and replace them regularly. A dirty air filter can increase your energy costs and lead to early equipment failure.
- Install a programmable thermostat in your home (and then actually program it).
- Walk or bike instead of driving.
- Turn off the lights when leaving a room.
- Reuse envelopes and backsides of paper, print double-sided and purchase high recycled content paper.
2. Buy local, organic produce. Food travels an average of 1,200 miles before it reaches your plate, so buy locally produced items to save energy and prevent emissions from going into the air.
3. Recycle. By recycling materials such as aluminum cans, newspapers, and glass jars, you can save energy and landfill space, conserve natural resources, and also prevent pollution. Earth911.com is a wonderful resource for learning about recycling.
4. Unplug electronics when they’re not in use. Many appliances continue to draw electricity when they’re turned off, releasing unnecessary pollutants into the air, and costing you unnecessary dollars.
5. Use non-toxic laundry detergents to avoid harmful exposure to chemical detergents and water pollution.
6. Properly dispose of hazardous waste. Electronics, compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs), certain batteries and other household hazardous wastes contain toxic materials so they should not be sent to landfills where they can pollute the surrounding land and water. A single computer monitor may contain 4 pounds of lead as well as other toxic heavy metals. For the City of Fargo, check out their site for information regarding hazardous waste.
7. Buy recycled. Look for the words “post consumer” or “recycled” when shopping. There are over 4,500 recycled-content products available including paper towels, printer paper, note pads, packing boxes, sleeping bags, laundry detergent bottles, glass containers, nails, carpeting, trash cans, and trash bags. The amount of post consumer content can vary from a small percentage to 100 percent, so look for labels that indicate the highest percentage. (Source: US EPA)
8. Compost. Compost your food scraps and yard clippings. This will keep them out of the landfill and provide you with mulch, soil amendment and potting soil.
9. Buy reusable products. For example, washable utensils, tableware, cloth napkins, and dishcloths can be used many times.
My Green Side’s web pick of the week:
Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
The NRDC’s mission is to safeguard the Earth: its people, its plants and animals and the natural systems on which all life depends.
For more tips on how to reduce energy consumption visit NRDC.org.
Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1020am (CDT) every Wednesday at WDAY.com.