A Beginner's Guide to Painlessly Going Green
You’ve heard the warnings about global warming, you feel compassion for stranded polar bears and you worry about overwhelming the landfills. As a homeowner, you may not be ready for composting, but there are ways to become an eco-friendlier household.
Ecologists provide simple but useful tips that even the laziest activist can use to do their part in helping the environment:
Cut down on water use. Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth. Drink tap water in reusable containers instead of plastic bottles. Lower the water level when doing small laundry loads and don’t run the dishwasher until it’s full.
Use less power. Shut off the lights before you leave in the morning, and unplug electrical equipment that you aren’t using during the day and while you sleep—especially your work and home computers.
Adjust the thermostat. Set it for a few degrees higher in summer, and a few degrees lower in winter. You likely won’t feel much of a difference, and you’ll like the decrease in utility bills.
Replace your light bulbs. Sources say if every American household replaced one regular lightbulb with a compact fluorescent bulb, the pollution reduction would be equivalent to removing one million cars from the road.
Change your shower-head. A low flow version will save water while providing just as much pressure.
Save on paper. Keep a digital calendar and notes instead of paper ones. Whenever possible, re-use the back side of old printed sheets for new but less important print jobs. Sign up for paperless billing and pay your bills online.
Use less plastic. Use reusable grocery bags even where they’re not required. Re-use empty plastic food containers with tight fitting lids, such as cottage cheese containers, for leftovers and storage purposes—be sure any unwanted plastic goes into the recycle bin.
Eat less meat. If you’re not ready to go vegetarian, try committing to a meatless dinner once or twice a week to decrease the resources you use. Producing wheat and even veggies takes far less water than producing beef, and there are plenty of tasty meatless recipes online that families can explore together.