Monday, April 22, 2013

Simple Tips for Earth Day #earthday #green

Happy Earth Day!  I love Earth Day because it gets people thinking more about how they can help take care of our planet.  Here are some things that I do with my family to help conserve, reuse and recycle.  I hope it inspires you to do the same!

In the Kitchen
  • No heat cycle or drying in the dishwasher.  Instead, when the cycle is done washing, I just let the steam out and close the dishwasher back up.  Most things dry and those that don't, we either dry or set on the counter to dry.
  • Only full loads in the dishwasher
  • Recycle, recycle, recycle--we recycle chipboard, cardboard, paper, glass and plastic.
  • If I need hot water from the sink, I use a water pitcher can to collect the water till it gets hot.  Then I use the water for my plants.
  • We save the used ice and put it in the dog bowl or the water pitcher for plants.
  • Fruit and vegetable scraps, eggs shells, tea bags, dead flowers all go into the compost pile.  In fact, I have a cute little compost can on my kitchen counter.
  • I use baking soda to clean the sink most of the time.
  • A white vinegar water solution is great for cleaning counter tops and appliances.
  • We buy in large containers--i.e. no juice boxe or individually packaged snacks.
  • We wash and reuse foil and freezer storage bags, depending upon what they were used for.
  • We use reusable containers verses sandwich bags or snack bags.
  • We use reusable water bottles and fill with our own filtered water verses buying bottles of water.
In the Laundry Room
  • Only full loads in the washing machine
  • I try to do all loads in one or two days as it is more efficient for the dryer to run all at once (the retained heat helps with efficiency).
  • I clean the dryer vent with each load.
  • I use white vinegar in the rinse cycle for softening fabrics.
  • In warm weather, I dry my clothes outside on the line.
Around the House
  • We try to rely on daylight and not use the lights when not needed.
  • We have replaced several light bulb with CFL's--especially those lights that are used the most.
  • We have the TV and electronics on power switches that can be turned off at night, saving loads of electricity.
  • We have house plants which clean the air.
  • We keep drapes pulled on cold days in the winter and pull them to keep the hot sun out in the summer.
  • We keep the thermostat down (interestingly enough, our budgeted utilities have gone down every year since we moved to our house even though rates have risen).
  • We don't throw things away that can still be used--I use Craig's List or Freecycle and give them away. You wouldn't believe the things that other people might have a use for. It is always worth a try if it keeps it out of the landfill.
  • We have installed low flow toilets and aerators on our faucets or replaced with energy efficient ones.
Outside the House
  • We compost leaves, clippings, etc. for a natural fertilizer.
  • We mulch to conserve watering.
  • We don't cut the grass short--it helps choke out weeds naturally plus needs cut less often, keeping gas use and pollution to a minimum.
  • We have planted trees to help keep our house cooler in the summer.
  • We plant trees, flowers, and shrubs every year to clean the air and help support animal habitats and pollination.
  • We garden verses relying on supermarkets for our food.  
Away from Home
  • We try to combine car trips.  I even map out multiple stops to be the most fuel efficient.
  • I brake and gas moderately (can't say the same for the hubby, though).
  • We use reusable shopping bags.  It is great to see that many others are doing the same!

What are some ideas that you and your family do?  I'd love to hear your suggestions!

1 comment:

Petula Wright said...

You listed quite a few that I do most of the time: recycling, upcycling, combine car trips, house plants, regular thermostat, unplug and shut off some (Though I use a lot of lights at night right before I go to bed!), full dishwasher, full washer 95% of the time...

You've pretty much covered everything. I can't think of anything else. :-)

For the compost can on your counter, do you use that for the indoor plants or something else?

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