Want to help save the environment, but don’t know where to start? What better place than in your home! You think one person can’t make a difference? Wrong! If one person recycles just one aluminum can, that one can saves enough energy to run your television for three hours, so now imagine if instead of one person we all recycled? A few changes can go a long way. Here are 15 easy household changes that can and will make a difference for our environment.
1.) Say no to plastic bags
Ditch plastic bags and opt for reusable bags when grocery shopping. Over 1 trillion plastic bags are used every year worldwide and 10% of those plastic bags usually end up in the ocean. If you can’t part ways with your plastic grocery bags then recycle!
2.) Unplug all appliances when not in use
Unplug all items that have a light on even when you have turned the item off, not only will you save energy but you’ll save money too.
Don’t forget to search online for “vampire appliance’s” to know which of your appliances suck up energy while you’re away or asleep.
3.) Buy local groceries when possible
In case you didn’t know, majority of the food in grocery stores come from faraway places, some travel up to 1,500 miles! Transporting these products sold in grocery stores burn up a lot of fossil fuels which then result to pollution.
So buy locally! Not only are you helping your local farmers but you are also getting the freshest food possible.
4.) Look for products that contain post-consumer material
What is a Post-consumer recycled product? It is a product made of materials such as paper or glass that were recycled after being used and where kept out of landfills.
Look for items that have high post-consumer material in them, the bigger the number the better it is for the environment. Nowadays you can buy from post-consumer toys to post-consumer toilet paper.
5.) Change your light bulbs to energy efficient.
Replace your incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs, they convert most of the energy they use into light rather than heat. Compact fluorescent bulbs consume about 75% less electricity and last up to 10 times longer than incandescent light bulbs.
6.) Turn off the lights when not in use.
Save yourself some money and just turn off the lights. During the day just open up the curtains and let that good old sunshine illuminate your home.
7.) Recycle everything you can
The typical categories of things you can recycle are; Metals, Paper, Cardboard, Glass, Plastics, Batteries, Bulbs and Electronics. It is best to check with your city for certain items you are not sure about. Styrofoam can be recycled but you must check if your city is currently accepting Styrofoam and if not go online and find a place that you can drop it off or send it to for recycling. You can also go to Earth911 to find locations that can take specific electronics, metals, batteries, etc.
Here is a list of things you can recycle.
8.) Use Eco-friendly cleaners (save the water from toxic chemicals)
When we use harsh chemicals to clean up our homes we don’t realize we are polluting our soil and water, which can harm many animals and plants, we are also risking our own health by bringing in some pretty nasty toxic chemicals into our homes. Choose green, biodegradable, non-toxic cleaners or make up your own vinegar, water and baking soda formula.
9.) Cut up plastic soda can rings before throwing them out
It might seem tedious but cutting up those plastic soda can rings helps prevent any animals from getting stuck in them.
10.) Turn your computer / laptops off at night
Even in sleep mode your computer is still sucking up energy. Save all your material and turn off that computer!
11.) Hang dry your clothes (makes your clothes last longer as well)
Dryers consume more than 6% of your total household electricity usage, which can add up to $100 every year! Each dryer emits an excess of one ton of carbon dioxide per year!
So hang out your clothes to dry, it’s better for your clothes, cheaper for you and better for the environment.
12.) Lose the plastic bottle – use reusable water bottles instead.
Buy reusable water bottles instead of plastic water bottles. Last year, Americans used about 50 billion water bottles but only recycled about 23%, which means 38 billion water bottles are thrown away and end up in landfills each year.
13.) Adjust your thermostat by one degree (in summer & in winter)
By keeping your thermostat 68 degrees or below during the winter and 78 degrees during the warm summer you’ll save energy and money. For every degree below 68 degrees and above 78 degrees you are saving 3%-5% off your energy bill!
14.) Pay bills online
Save paper and time by paying your bills online. A lot of companies encourage their customers to go paperless and pay online by making it fast and easy on their websites.
15.) End bank statements
An environmentally friendly alternative is to opt for online bank statements. A lot of banks usually suggest you go paperless when you first start an account but if you decide not to in the beginning they also inform you, if you change your mind in the future, how to change the settings online so you can solely receive your statements online.
This year marks the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day, and although much progress has been made since those early days, the earth is still in need of our appreciation, support, and protection. (To learn more about how Earth Day started, check out our post on Denis Hayes, the coordinator of the first Earth Day.)
If you’re looking for a good way to celebrate this year, consider these ideas:
Get outside. Participating in an outdoor activity is a great way to enjoy nature’s bounties. Earth Day walks are held in cities of all sizes, but you don’t have to be part of an organized event to enjoy the fresh air — go for a stroll, or make your workout for the day alfresco. Health and fitness expert Stephanie Mansour recommends skipping those plugged-in treadmills and ellipticals and instead hitting the great outdoors. “Nature has a calming effect on us and helps bring us back to our center — the sun, plants, and even bodies of water and land help us refocus and regroup without the distractions of other people on man-made workout machines next to us or music over a loudspeaker,” she says.
Turn trash into treasure. You’re probably in the habit of recycling paper, plastic, and cardboard at your home and office, but think outside of the box on Earth Day. Nonprofit Second Chance Toys is holding an Earth Week drive to collect unwanted plastic toys and distribute them to children in need.
And, remember, recycling only truly works when we “complete the loop,” meaning, when we purchase products made from the materials we’ve placed in the recycling bin. Check out www.dolphinblue.com, where all our products are made from post-consumer recycled materials and in the USA.
Educate yourself. The Earth Day Network recommends organizing a screening of an environmentally themed documentary, such as King Corn, Blue Vinyl, Who Killed the Electric Car?, Earth Days, The Blue Planet, or The 11th Hour.