Here it is: the ultimate guide to green living! I've heard a lot of talk lately about how "hard" and "expensive" it is to convert to an eco-friendly lifestyle. Well, ya know what? Even YOU can live a more environmentally friendly existence. I'm not going to suggest that you buy an expensive hybrid or install solar panels on your roof (although that would be great!). Instead consider these easy, cost effective solutions:
My first suggestion is totally FREE! In my email signature I have this simple phrase: "Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail." Is doesn't get any easier than that.
One of the least expensive changes I have made in my life is to not purchase bottled water any more. The environmental impact from the manufacturing, distribution, and waste from water bottles is staggering. Instead I now have a Pur water filtration pitcher. It costs less than $20 and the water is as refreshing as any bottled water I've ever tasted - not to mention I no longer have to lug the water home from the grocery store!
Another thing I've done is set up a fax-to-email number for myself. I use a service called Kall8 which is $2 per month (plus usage) for a toll-free fax number. Now when I receive a fax it goes straight to my email. I can then file it away electronically (I keep the incoming message on my email server and save a backup to my hard drive) rather than printing copies. Instead of sending faxes I scan and email them. This saves a lot of printing on my side and at least a cover sheet on the receiver's side.
Start a recycling program in your workplace. Last fall I spear-headed a phone book drive (which doubled as a charity event) for my office. It was a lot of fun and we saved 187 phone books from being sent to a landfill! You might consider hiring a mobile shredding company that will not only destroy the paper trail of sensitive data our customers leave behind, but recycle it as well.
Are you considering a move? As a Realtor I hear Buyers asking about walkable communities more and more. Consider moving closer to work, school, and activities rather than perpetuating suburban sprawl. Score potential neighborhoods for walkability before making a final decision.
Does your company or organization have old computer components, calculators, or other electronics taking up valuable storage space? Organizations like the Cristina Foundation (a not-for-profit) collect and redistribute technology items to charities, schools, and public agencies world-wide or ensure they're disposed of properly. By donating old computers and electronics you keep them out of landfills.
Take a look at the products you're buying in the store. Items labled "organic" (grown without chemicals) and "made from postconsumer recycled materials" are regulated by government agencies. However, words like "biodegradable" and "all-natural" are not.
OK, so maybe this wasn't the ultimate guide to green living, but everyone has to start somewhere. Remember April 22nd is Earth Day. Now go do your part to change the world!
Check out my other green living posts!