Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Earth Day

In honor of Earth Day on April 22, here are some tips to help you make an impact—or less of an impact—on our planet:

- Lower your thermostat by a few degrees in the winter and raise it a few degrees in the summer.
- Say goodbye to bottled water by purchasing a reusable water bottle.
- Install low-flow faucets and showerheads.
- If your budget allows, purchase a water efficient toilet— you may even get a rebate from your local water company.
- Start a compost in your backyard.
- Buy foods locally at a nearby farmer’s market.
- Bring reusable shopping bags to the grocery store.
- If you don’t have your reusable shopping bags with you at the grocery store and are given the choice of paper or plastic, choose paper.
- If you like using plastic grocery bags, recycle them to be used as doggie bags, dirty diaper
storage or for small trashcan liners.
- Install compact fluorescent light bulbs throughout your home.
- Turn off lights and electronics when you leave the room. Likewise, unplug electronic items, energy strips and protectors when not in use.
- Recycle newspapers, cardboard, paper and plastic items.
- Carpool to work more often.
- Recycle your old cell phone. Coldwell Banker has a cell phone recycling program. (Contact us if you want more info!)
- If you live within close proximity to your work or downtown community, ride a bike.
- When washing dishes by hand, don’t let the water run the whole time.
- Go to your local library instead of buying new books.
- At holidays and birthdays, give your family and friends the gift of saving the earth by donating to their favorite environmental group, foundation or organization.
- Remove yourself from junk mail lists by going to For a small fee, you’ll be removed from junk mail lists, and Precycle will even plant five trees for you!
- Whenever possible, purchase products that use recyclable materials.
- Adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk or street.
- Use organic cleaning products.
- Collect the water you use for rinsing fruits and vegetables and reuse it to water houseplants.
- The next time you are getting ready to purchase a new car, consider buying a fuel-efficient car or a hybrid.
- Landscape with native plants.
- Buy organic milk.
- Cut down on paper waste. Get online subscriptions for your newspaper and magazines. Switch to online banking and opt to have your bills sent to you electronically.
- Teach children about the importance of being good to the environment.
- Take your batteries to a recycling center.
- Turn your car off if you’re going to be idle for more than one minute.
- Do full loads of laundry and set the rinse cycle to “cold.”
- When buying new appliances, consider those that are water and energy efficient, and offer cycle and load size adjustments.
- Reuse. Plastic food containers make good crayon and marker holders. Use padded envelops more than once. Buy your toddler or preschooler’s clothes from a thrift shop and give away items that don’t fit to friends.
- Limit the length of your showers. Even better, take a “navy shower,” shutting off the water while soaping up and shampooing.
- Turn off the water when brushing your teeth.
- Wash towels only after several uses.
- Put a damper on things by installing fireplace draft stoppers, attic door covers and dryer vent seats that only open when your dryer is in use.
- Seal off drafts around your home and save 5-30 percent in energy costs.
- Recycle your technology. Dell, Hewlett Packard, Apple, and IBM, among others, offer recycling programs.
- When purchasing paint, opt for zero or low VOC paint, made by most major paint manufacturers today.
- Keep your house cooler during the summer by closing shades, blinds or curtains during the hottest times of the day.
- Line dry your clothes whenever you can.
- Drop your tissue in the trash instead of flushing it and save water every time.
- Plant trees and shrubbery around your home to help keep your home cooler during the warm summer months, and help you run your air conditioner a little less.
- The next time you make improvements to your home, use green materials.
- Run your dishwasher only when it is fully loaded and turn off the dry cycle and air dry dishes instead.
- Wash your pet(s) outdoors in an area of your lawn that needs water.
- Go paperless at work and avoid printing whenever possible.
- Apply sun-control or other reflective films on south-facing windows.
- If your budget allows, install solar panels on your roof and see your energy savings soar.
- Bring your mug to your local coffee shop, or keep one on hand at work for coffee fill-ups.

Even if you just make a few of these changes, you will be making a huge difference!