We are all trying to do our part in conserving natural resources and helping the environment. There are so many simple things we can all do, here are 10 ways to go green by Andrea Carlos for MSN.com:
"Switch your light bulbs
Using compact florescent light bulbs is a great way to save energy while lowering your utility bill. They cost more off the shelf, but they use 75 percent less energy and last about 10 times longer. Changing just five of the most frequently used light bulbs in your home can save you $100 per year on electric bills. What an easy way to save both energy and money.
Use power strips
Did you know that many appliances consume energy even when not in use? The TV, VCR, computer, printer, hair dryer, coffee maker, and toaster oven all consume kilowatt hours while in stand-by mode. Plugging your appliances into power strips, and then flipping the switch when you’re not using them, will save energy and lower your electric bill.
We all know water is becoming an ever-precious commodity, but what can we do to conserve it? Installing an aerator on all your faucets can cut your annual water consumption in half. Changing to an ultra low-flow showerhead can save up to 2.5 gallons per minute. Turning the water off while brushing your teeth, shaving, or washing your face can save 4.5 gallons each time. Running the dishwasher only when it’s full, and flushing the toilet only when necessary, will help conserve even more. Together, these changes can save thousands of gallons of water a year.
Carry canvas bags
Each year, Americans use about 10 billion paper bags at the grocery store, leading to the destruction of more than 14 million trees. We also collectively run through about 100 billion plastic bags per year, using up an estimated 12 million barrels of oil. The next time you shop, bring along a cloth bag and say “no” to both paper and plastic.
Buy local and organic
Today, the average fruit or vegetable travels 1,500 miles before it hits the local supermarket. The produce we consume requires large amounts of fuel, and it isn’t exactly fresh by the time we eat it. Buy locally-grown food whenever you can. Even better, opt for foods that are both local and organic so you limit the number of pesticides that enter the air, soil, water—and your own body.
Together, yard trimmings and food scraps make up more than a quarter of the U.S. municipal solid waste stream. As landfill space becomes increasingly scarce, you can easily reduce needless trash by building a compost bin. While you’re at it, why not use the compost you create to start a vegetable garden? Compost can regenerate poor soil without synthetic fertilizers, creating the beginnings of a vibrant garden that will truly allow you to eat locally.
Stop drinking bottled water
About 1 billion bottles of water are transported around the U.S. each week, consuming large amounts of fuel, with much of the plastic ending up in landfills and oceans. Instead of buying bottled water, install a water filter on your tap. A lot of bottled water is just processed tap water anyway, and it’s a lot more expensive than turning on the faucet.
Avoid toxic products
Many household cleaners, automotive products, paints, and pesticides contain toxins that can be harmful to the environment and your health. Read the label. Take descriptions such as “danger,” “warning,” “caution,” “toxic,” “flammable,” or “poison” seriously. They may indicate the product contains hazardous materials. Whenever possible, opt for household products with earth-friendly ingredients.
Use less paper
About 4 billion trees are cut down each year to satisfy the world’s paper needs. Reduce your use by switching from paper towels and napkins to cloth, and from paper plates to regular dishes. Buy recycled toilet paper. Use both sides of the paper when printing. Pay your bills online. Buy foods with less packaging. Small changes like these can save a lot of trees, and reduce what gets sent to the landfill.
Eliminate junk mail
Speaking of paper consumption, the average American receives 41 pounds of junk mail each year. Take the time to remove yourself from unwanted mailing lists. If you need assistance, organizations like 41pounds.org and GreenDimes are ready to help."
I hadn't heard of 41pounds.org so I went to their website and this is what it says:
" The average adult receives 41 pounds of junk mail each year. Our service stops 80-95% of unwanted catalogs and junk mail for you. We’ll contact dozens of companies on your behalf to STOP YOUR JUNK MAIL and PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT."
Wow, getting less junk mail and helping the environment at the same time, that's great!
Eating local and organic is easy in Lancaster, PA! There are many farmers markets, roadside stands, and local farms where you can buy local produce. In Lanaster City we have Central Market downtown in a really neat old building. I will post pictures and more about that in a later post.
With the exception of composting, all these things are really easy to do. Which ones do you already do and which ones can you do? The hardest one for me, surprisingly, is the canvas bags! Yes, I have them, but I almost never remember to take them into the grocery store.
We have lots of info and links on Energy Efficiency and Greener Homes on our website: www.yourlancasterhome.com