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Reduce, reuse, recycle -- easy ways to go green

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Reduce, reuse, recycle -- easy ways to go green
It is vital for us all to live gently on the Earth today to protect our children's future. Unfortunately, many people think it is too expensive to be environmentally conscious. However, it doesn't cost a fortune to go green in our daily lives. If done properly, it can save money and save the planet all at once. With the prospect of global warming close at hand, it is our duty to do our part to go green.

The important thing to remember is that going green is all about small steps. Making one small change each day will quickly add up into a whole new green lifestyle. Start now for a better tomorrow. If we can save the planet today, then it will still be around for our grandchildren to enjoy later. It is not only easy for everyone to be green, but it can also save money and save the planet! If we all work together to find sustainable ways, we can head off an impending eco-crisis. Just a few simple changes in your daily life can make a huge difference in the world.

Reduce

Start small: reduce

The first step in the process is a small one: simply reduce your consumption. Think before you buy to consider whether you really need it. (An important distinction is to learn the difference between "I want" and "I need".) Is there a more eco-friendly option for the particular item you wish to buy? Head off impulse buys by researching before you even set foot in a store. Think it over a few days; it will still be there later if you really need it.

Energy efficiency

Reduce, reuse, recycle -- easy ways to go green A simple and effective way to go green is to reduce energy usage.

Go paper-free

Take a look around the house at how much unnecessary paper creeps in. A big thing you can do for the environment is put a stop to the paper influx.

Easy ways to go green at work

Go plastic-free

Modern plastics contain an assortment of endocrine disruptors which not only affect humans but also pets and wildlife. Plastic bags are a recent innovation, and they are already banned in many parts of Europe to reduce waste. Plastic food wrappers and containers, straws and stirrers, plastic bottles, and plastic utensils all cause damage with every use, not just plastics containing BPA. Every piece of plastic we humans have ever made is still on the planet somewhere. It will never go away.

Instead of plastics, store food and other everyday items in glass and ceramic containers. Not only are they sturdier materials, but they can be reused or recycled if they break.

Save water

Reduce, reuse, recycle -- easy ways to go green

Lower your water heater settings

For every 10 degrees lower on your water temperature, you are saving between 3 to 5 percent on your bill. Many times your hot water heater will be set to 140 degrees Fahrenheit per the manufacturer.

If your dishwasher has a booster heater, you should be able to reduce this setting to 120 degrees. If it does not, then you will want to set it around 130 degrees depending on the manufacturer's instructions.

When the water temperature is reduced to 120 degrees, it will help reduce the mineral buildup in your water heater and pipes and save you money.

Tip: Modern washing powders are so good that they don't really need hot water. Your washing machine uses most of its energy heating the water, so wash your clothes cold. They will clean great while you go green in the home.

Adjust your thermostat

The house mice do not need to be comfortable while you are at work. If you hate coming home to a stuffy house, set the thermostat to 85 degrees while you are at work or outside the house.

When you are home, start at 78 degrees and gradually get cooler until you find the warmest temperature that feels comfortable. During the winter set the temperature at 50 degrees when you are at work, then start at 60 degrees Fahrenheit and slowly increase the temperature until you feel comfortable upon your arrival at home.

Tip: Making small daily changes in your air conditioning or heating for short periods can lead to spikes in power consumption which increase your bill. Find a good temperature for each season and stay with it.

Use green cleaning products

Reduce, reuse, recycle -- easy ways to go green Chemical exposure is bad for both you and the environment. Not only are they expensive, but no one needs to be breathing in chemical fumes and polluting the water supply just to have a clean house. They also have a tendency to multiply. Do you really need a separate cleaning product for each appliance in the house?

Fortunately, it's easy to use food-grade household items as green cleaning products.

Keep it in the community

Green commuting

Reduce, reuse, recycle -- easy ways to go green

Reuse

Once, twice, third time around (or more!)

Easy ways to go green It is not good enough to buy, then toss. Can you reuse something? Can someone else use it? If it's a gift, re-gift it. Pass the item on when you are done with it.

Easy to reuse items:

Where can you donate used items?

Where can you sell used items?

Reduce, reuse, recycle -- easy ways to go green Buy reusable products

Picture a house without disposable items. It is only recently that paper plates and cups became a household fixture, so let's change it back before it becomes a habit. Don't buy single-use items, period.

Buy vintage

They don't make stuff like they used to. That fifty year old dress is probably better-wearing than anything you could buy today. Grandma's old sofa can be better than new once reupholstered. This has an added bonus of providing unique items for yourself and your home simply because it is not from the big box store.

Recycle

Reduce, reuse, recycle -- easy ways to go green Not first but last

It may be the eco-tip everyone thinks of first, but it's the last step: recycle. If you can't avoid buying it and you really must dispose of it, recycle it.

Some communities may not have recycling facilities, however. If your community does not have curbside recycling (or insufficient recycling collection such as once a month), encourage them to start a recycling program. If they already have a program in place, encourage them to look at better ways to recycle more trash.

Did you know that you can recycle these items?

How to set up a home recycling system

Check with your local village to find out what items can be recycled.

Most places will take paper and metal. Many locations can also accept plastics of various types. Check your plastic item for its recycling number and call your local recycling centre to see if it can be accepted.

The most convenient method of recycling is curbside. The village will (usually for a fee) provide a bin and a list of items which can be accepted. Designate an area to store your bin, generally next to the trash bin. If you can recycle it, put it in the recycling bin. The bin can be put to the curb on your recycling pickup day.

If you do not have curbside recycling, any recycling will need to be taken to the facility that can recycle that item. There may be a main facility for all types of recycling, or there may be specialized locations for specific types (one for metal, one for paper, etc). I find that many supermarkets have a bin at the front of the store to recycle plastic grocery bags.

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