In honor of Earth Day, here are some incredibly simple ways to “green” your daily routine. Don’t worry; none of these suggestions involve switching over to wearing itchy hemp clothing!
Fully Loaded – Cut down on your energy and water consumption when you take care of your family’s laundry or dishes. Doing full loads of laundry, like washing your baby’s entire blue and brown crib set at once instead of just the sheets, and selecting a shorter cycle can help. But a majority of the energy used for these daily chores is actually used to heat the water. So switch to washing your clothes on a cold cycle (there are special detergents now available for this option) and watch your annual energy bill deflate.
Bright Ideas - Incandescent bulbs are so 20th century. If you switch out your incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, you will reap two very great benefits: less light bulbs changes since fluorescents last longer, and reduced costs because fluorescents use about 3 quarters of the energy that incandescent require. Less light bulb changes means less waste, and less energy means a lower energy bill.
BYOB- Bring your own bag! When you go shopping, hit the library, or pack a lunch, think re-useable. Retailers have gotten hooked on this new idea, so if more people catch on, we may one day eliminate the need for plastic bags, which don’t bio-degrade and pose a huge problem for our ecosystem.
Shut Down-You need time to sleep and recharge at night, and your electronics could use a little down time as well. If you go to sleep watching TV, set a sleep timer so it isn’t running all night (added bonus - you will get better rest too). Keeping appliances plugged in, even if they aren’t turn on can still use electricity, so use a power strip that you can easily unplug.
Java Junkies – You can make your daily coffee fix another green habit by asking your barista to fill your order in a re-useable travel mug or thermos. Many places will even offer incentives like a discount to customers going with reusable cups.
Incorporate these simple tips into your life and reap the benefits of reduced energy consumption and waste production. You'll cut down on your family's spending and help make the earth a cleaner place to live. Happy Earth Day!