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Easy Green Things
Going Green Starts with Small Steps
We've all heard about the drastic changes in our lives we should make to help our earth stay healthy. We know we should adopt more sustainable lifestyles, probably start riding a bicycle more often, and maybe convert to solar power or something like that.
Going completely green can take a lot of work, and let's face it, it can be a bit of a financial step at first too. In the long-run it will pay off of course, but having your normal old windows replaced with energy efficient ones isn't exactly how you planned on spending your economic stimulus, was it?
So here are three easy--and basically free--ways you can go green today. It starts with just a few small steps, but you'll be helping to make an overall impact. I started with just three because its easy to find nice long lists on how to greenify your life and look at them and think heck, I personally like my thermostat set to 65 degrees in the summertime and give up on the whole list.
But these are three things that don't really even break your comfort zone, and they're easy to remember. I mean, if I can remember to do these things--and I'm the kind of person who accidentally puts the butter in the microwave inseat of the fridge--then you can too.
Mayber once you get these three down, it won't be so hard to do a few more...
Gadgets to Help You Out
Green Thing One
Unplug your electronics
While you may turn your TV and computer off at night, they still suck electricity from your walls. These "energy vampires" as they are known can add up--especially if you have a lot of rooms with TVs in them (and Plasma screens and newer TVs use more energy). An easy solution for this is just to turn off the power strip everything is plugged into. This still allows you to keep one thing plugged in like a DVD player with preset clock or a light connected to a switch on. We live in a small apartment and have two TVs and two computers among other electronics. By turning off just three power strips at night--and we usually don't even turn them on until the next evening when we get home from work--we save an average of $20 a month on our electric bill. That's an average of $240 a year! And we have a small place--imagine the savings on larger houses!
So step one is unplug your electronics when you're not using them--even if its just overnight it can make a difference.
Green Thing Two
Reuse your grocery bags or use a canvas or plastic tote
We all know we should cut back on our use of plastic bags--in a lot of places they're banned now! So the simple solution is buying reusable canvas or plastic bags. But if you don't want to do that, try just reusing the plastic grocery bags you already have. If you store them, just grab a handful next time you run to the supermarket. At least you won't be using any more than you already have.
One interesting fact is that plastic bags and other plastic garbage thrown into the ocean kill as many as 1,000,000 sea creatures every year--dang! So reuse the ones you have, or invest a couple of dollars in some permanent bags and recycle the ones you have. The fishies will thank you.
Green Thing Three
Recycle your electronics
With technology moving as fast as it does we're in a constant state of keeping up with new phones, computers, and TVs. So what happens to our old ones? Often they get donated to charities which is great, but what about that cell phone you dropped from the third floor into a slimy puddle on the asphalt? Well, the good news is that rather than dumping it in the trash to contribute to yet another landfill--you can recycle it!
Here's a couple of interesting facts:
- Over 40% of lead found in landfills comes from consumer electronics.
- 200 million TONS of electronic waste go into landfills every year
- Besides lead, these electronics contain mercury and chromium which eventually seep into our ground, water, and will make their way into our soil and food.
So all that to say its not hard to find places to recycle your old dinosaur computer or that TV you kicked in on an angry whim. Here is a good link to find places that will accept your old junk:
So there you have it
"Baby steps," as Bill Murray says cautiously in the movie "What About Bob?" Its all about baby steps. So flip off your power switches, grab your grocery bags, and drop off your old cell phone at a local center and be proud of yourself for starting to go green!
Other Green Hubs:
More Resources for Going Green
- E-cycling Central: Find a Recycler
- Going Green - Environmental Issues and Global Warming News - Green Living Tips
The consumer's guide to the green revolution.