We know that you would always "do the right thing" for yourself and the planet if it were convenient, fun, inexpensive, and made you feel good. Being green doesn't have to be complicated or difficult! Below are some simple tips to help you live in more planet-friendly ways:
- Unplug the "secret energy addicts" in your home: TVs, VCRs, DVD players, cable TV boxes, computers and printers, video game consoles, microwave ovens and AC adapters for cell phones, digital cameras and other electronics. Most electronic equipment, including anything that uses a remote control, is designed to consume energy when it is turned off. That "off" setting is actually a "standby" or "idling" mode. Standby power in the average household consumes 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually. That's enough energy to power an entire home for two months, or more. The solution? Unplug anything that isn't being used.
- Swap out incandescent bulbs for compact fluorescent bulbs. CFs use about 66% less energy and last up to 10 times longer.
- Adjust your thermostat down two degrees in the winter and up two degrees in the summer. You'll save 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide this year!
- Switch to cold-water washing and save 80% on laundry energy.
Reducing, Reusing and Recycling
Recycling is important, but first and foremost: Use less whenever possible. And don't think you can't make a difference by recycling... recycling just one aluminum can saves the amount of energy required to run a TV for three hours! Here are a few suggests that will help reduce our use of precious natural resources.
- Many computers, monitors, cell phones and other electronics include toxic materials that should not sit in landfills, and you'd be surprised how many retailers and other companies will take your old gadgets for recycling. The Environmental Protection Agency (link: http://www.epa.gov/) an help you find local electronics recyclers.
- Say no to junk mail - 100 million trees' worth are sent out each year. Visit www.dmachoice.org/MPS/ to opt out of the Direct Marketing Association's member mailings.
- Packing peanuts and other loose fill will sit in a landfill for centuries, but there are lots of places you can bring them for recycling. Call the Peanut Hotline at 1-800-828-2214.
- If every household in the US replaced 1 roll of 1000 sheet bathroom tissues with 100% recyclable rolls, we could save 373,000 trees, 1.48 million cubic feet of landfill space, and 155 million gallons of water.
- Use non-toxic, environmentally safe, biodegradable cleaning products, including laundry products, which you can find at any natural grocery and even many mainstream stores. Just read the labels carefully.
- Don't pollute your indoor air or mask odors that could alert you to a problem. Choose fragrance-free products.
- Buy a high-efficiency car if you can afford one. Check the U.S. Department of Energy's list of most fuel-efficient cars to find the one that's right for you.
- Rather than driving your car to work every day, try other ways, even if only one or two days a week. You can walk, ride your bike, take the bus or the train or join a ride-share program. You'll be cutting down on air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, oil consumption and your the costs of fueling and maintaining your vehicle. And mixing up your commuting routine helps you avoid falling into the workday rut.
- Urge your workplace to have a van-pool, environmentally responsible purchasing policies and an improved indoor environment. Rid your workplace of secret energy addicts. They are everywhere.
- Buy locally produced items, including produce and other goods. It reduces the amount of fossil fuels required to transport the things you buy from other parts of the country or the world. It also reduces the amount of plastic and paper products consumed in the packaging of such far-traveling products.
- Instead of using grocery stores' disposable plastic or paper bags, bring your own reusable tote bags, which are available for sale at many grocers and other retailers. The bags are sturdier than disposable bags, making the trip home easier, and they don't waste resources or end up in landfills. You alone could keep up to 1,500 bags per year out of landfills! If you must use disposable bags, ask your bagger to avoid double-bagging whenever possible.
- Only run full loads in the dishwasher and the laundry machine. You use the same amount of energy to power these machines if you have a 1/2 load or a full one- so wait a couple of days to make sure you have a full load.
- Be careful not to leave the water running when you brush your teeth or wash the dishes.
- Scrape - don't rinse! When using a dishwasher, pre-rinsing is no longer necessary with today's technology and detergents. You may be using more water to pre-rinse than the dishwasher uses for a full wash cycle.
- When you go out for coffee, bring a reusable insulated mug.
- If you found these tips helpful, great! Try one or two new things today... and feel free to share what you've learned about green living in your apartment home with friends and family.
Questions about Green Living? Drop us a line, we'd love to hear from you!