20 Tips for Living Green Around the House

Here is a picture of my personal Herb garden that I brought in from outside 🙂  I don’t have too many other plants as my kitties like to eat them.  But these herbs they can have a nibble on and not be hurt in any way.  And our little friend “RC”.

As I have mentioned before we live in an apartment building, happily we have a huge recycling bin all our papers, newspapers etc… can be easily recycled.

1. Keep plants around the house.

Plants are amazing at cleaning their environment. Having them in your house can reduce indoor air pollutants by more than half. Great choices are English ivy and peace lilies, which absorb toxic gases like benzene and formaldehyde. Just be sure that if you have pets and/or small children that you opt for plants that are not poisonous.

2. Save heat when the fireplace is on.

An open fireplace wastes up to 85% of the gas it uses because, like a wood-burning fireplace, the fire sucks heat from inside and sends it out through the chimney. Direct-vent gas fireplaces burn more efficiently and can save you money.

3. Have it fixed instead of throwing it out.

With the price of many consumer goods getting less and less every year, it’s tempting to simply replace old electronics and appliances when they break. But often they can be repaired for a fraction of the cost. Not only do you save money, but you’re keeping that item out of the landfill.

4. Reduce the waste when giving gifts.

Instead of wrapping paper, choose newspaper (the comics work great when they’re in color), reusable gift bags or even leftover wallpaper. When you receive a gift packaged in a reusable material be sure to save it for later. Also save your greeting cards and recycle them into gift tags.

5. Reuse products whenever possible.

Have you ever looked at just how much waste your family generates in a one week period? Manufacturers use so much packaging that it is easy for a family of four to have several bags of waste come garbage day. Next time you’re thinking of throwing something out, try and think of ways you can reuse it instead. For example old containers can be used for storage, stained clothing can be used as rags for cleaning and broken hockey sticks make great garden stakes. If you get creative you may be surprised how many new uses you can find for items you thought were trash!

6. Donate things you don’t use any more.

Instead of throwing out items you don’t use anymore, give them to charity. Old clothing, shoes, home décor items, sporting goods and toys are all happily accepted by charities such as the Salvation Army. You’ll have less clutter in your garage and your donation will help families in need.

7. Say no to junk mail.

So much paper is wasted on sending junk mail and flyers. Put up a sign on your mailbox refusing these items and send a message to advertisers that you want them to change their marketing techniques. If enough people do this they will eventually listen.

8. Use rechargeable batteries.

If yours is like most households, you have a lot of things that run on batteries. Everything from the TV remote to your camera. And if you have children you can add a seemingly endless number of toys to the list!  Do the environment a favor and use rechargeable batteries. They cost more upfront but they generate significantly less waste and in the end will save you money. Solar powered battery rechargers are even available online.

9. Find out what you can recycle.

Different cities accept different items for recycling. It is important that you know exactly what is being recycled in your area. A lot of people put out items week after week thinking they are being recycled when in fact they are being thrown in the garbage at the recycling facility. By knowing the policies in your city you can avoid buying products that are not sold in recyclable containers and you can ensure you are putting out all of your garbage that can be recycled.

10. Dispose of hazardous materials properly.

Most municipalities have programs for properly disposing of hazardous materials such as old tires, batteries, electronics, used oil materials and toxic substances such as paint and paint thinners. Be sure to inquire in your area about programs designed to keep these potentially dangerous materials out of the landfills.

11. Reuse paper.

A lot of the paper we recycle only has printing on one side. Instead of using a fresh piece every time, print on the other side for documents that are not important. You can also reuse paper as a scratch pad for notes or put them together as a pad and keep them next to the telephone for taking messages.

12. Read the news online.

Daily newspapers generate a huge amount of waste. Even though this can be recycled, it is better to eliminate this unnecessary use of paper entirely. Instead of subscribing to newspaper services, read the news online. Think about how much paper this will save over an entire year!

13. Borrow books and magazines from the library.

Libraries are a great resource for anyone looking to reduce the amount of waste they generate. Instead of purchasing books and magazines, check them out of the library.

14. Teach your children about being environmentally responsible.

Our children really are the future of our earth. Start teaching them early about the importance of making environmentally friendly choices and it will become second nature to them. Make sure that you also practice what you preach! Kids are much more likely to do what they see you doing – rather than what you tell them to do.

15. Choose environmentally friendly baby products.

The amount of chemicals used to create baby products today is staggering. Not to mention the amount of waste generated! Disposable diapers are the single largest type of garbage in our landfills. Refuse to contribute to the problem by using cloth diapers. Nowadays they are designed to be easy – no more pins! And many communities actually have services that drop off clean diapers each week and pick up the soiled ones.

16. Have a battery free Christmas.

If you have children, make next Christmas “battery free”. Tell all family and friends that instead of toys that require batteries to run, that you would rather your children be given gifts such as books, puzzles and non-electronic toys. Not only will you help the environment by using fewer batteries, you’ll also save money and your kids will use their imaginations more.  Even if you don’t have children of your own, make it a policy to only give battery-free gifts.

17. Pay your bills electronically.

Almost all companies now offer the option to receive your bills electronically and pay them through online banking or telephone banking. Save all that unnecessary paper by using this service.

18. Get involved in environmental charities.

There are lots of different charities that are devoted to helping the environment. Whether you choose an international organization such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) or something more local, the important thing is to get involved. You’ll feel great, help a worthwhile cause and be setting a good example for the other people in your community.

19. Buy your energy from eco-friendly utility companies.

There are many companies now offering electricity that is generated from renewable resources such as wind and low-impact hydroelectric generation. Inquire in your area about companies that use these services for all or part of their electricity and make the switch! If enough people start to do this, more and more companies will begin offering it.

20. Look for little ways you can make a difference.

Sometimes the best thing we can do for the environment is to make small changes in our every day life. When we add them all up, we can make a significant difference. Look at everything you do in a day and see what you can do differently. For example, if you are a tea drinker only boil as much water as you need in the kettle. If you generate a lot of garbage think of a couple of ways you can cut back.

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