40 years ago a Senator from Wisconsin named Gaylord Nelson pushed hard for our Earth creating the very first Earth Day. At the time, Americans were slurping leaded gas through massive V8 sedans. Industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of legal consequences or bad press. Air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity. Environment was a word that appeared more often in spelling bees than on the evening news.
Today we still come together on this day to help our earth. Yet there is still 364 days left in the year that our Earth needs our help. If we all make a commitment to do at least one green deed a day can you imagen how we can help our earth? Here is some great ideas on how to go green.
Let’s start in our home there are many ways to save money and go green at the same time.
In the house itself:
Unplug small appliances when not in use.
Have an “old fashion” night, turn off the computer, the TV, the video games the radio, the lights—on this night we eat dinner by candle light have candles around our living room and play board games, read stories and just talk. You will be surprised on what this will do for your power bill as well.
Keep your thermostat set at 65 in the winter and 80 in the summer.
Do not use plastic bags to store stuff in, invest in air tight containers, this includes sandwich bag, I found a great air tight sandwich box at Von’s that keep sandwiches fresh and allows them to arrive unharmed.
It’s estimated that washing a load of dishes in a dishwasher uses 37% LESS water than washing dishes by hand. However, if you fill one side of your sink with soapy water and the other side with rinse water — and don’t let the faucet run – you can use maybe half as much water as a dishwasher does. (This really only works when you have a small load of dishes to wash.)
Instead of answering the obligatory question, “Plastic or paper?” why not invests in some reusable canvas bags? The key to this, I’ve found, is keeping the bags in your car. Once you’ve unpacked your groceries, leave the empty bags by your front door and the next time you go to your car, take them with you. Even if you opt for the plastic or paper grocery bags, you can still bring them with you on your next trip for reuse.
Use eco friendly cleaning products, such as Green Works cleaning products, I really like the way they clean.
Go green in your living room:
If you have a wood burring fire place that is 20 years and older replace it with an EPA-certified one, they produce 70% less particle emissions. Also burn recycled fire logs, to cut down on trees being cut down.
Open your drapes and blinds even in the winter sun raise will provide warmth, as well as natural light.
Replace your synthetic carpets with wooden floors. To update your walls try using a paint low in volatile organic.
When you use candles make sure they have cotton wickers, and are bee or soy based wax candles.
If you really need those wall to wall carpets, have them nailed down and not glued down.
Live plants in your living room will help clean your air without using harsh chemicals.
In your bathroom and laundry room:
Switch to recycled toilet paper.
Buy a “green” shower curtain, made from hemp, organic cotton, or linen.
Use organic, skin care products and shampoos.
Add 1/3 cup (80 ml) washing soda to water as the machine is filling. Add clothes. Then add 1 and a 1/2 cups (375 ml) of soap. If the water is hard, add 1/4 cup (60 ml) soda or 1/4 cup (60 ml) vinegar during the first rinse. For heavily soiled items, try presoaking in warm water with 1/2 cup (125 ml) washing soda for 30 minutes. Rub the soiled areas with liquid soap or a solution of 2 Tbsp (30ml) washing soda in 1 cup (250 ml) warm water.
Softening fabrics (including wool): Add 1/4 cup (60 ml) white vinegar to rinse water.
Wool de-shrinking: Dissolve 2 cups (500 ml) salt in hot water and allow to cool to lukewarm. Soak the garment for 3 hours.
Silk: Soak in approximately 1 cup (250 ml) pure soap and 2 to 3 Tbsp (30-45 ml) baking soda. Squeeze garment gently and rinse thoroughly.
Bleach Alternative: Try adding 1/2 cup (125 ml) washing soda to each load of wash to whiten whites and brighten colors. Or add lemon juice to the rinse cycle and hang your clothes outside in the sun which will bleach clothes naturally and will also save energy. You can also find non-chlorine bleaches in many health food stores.
Buy a high-efficiency model with a power consumption of less than 0.9 kWh/washing cycle. Look for the energy star. The energy star means a product meets strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy. Consider a ‘hot fill’ model which connects directly to your efficient gas-fired water heater. Using gas to heat the water almost halves electricity consumption. Installing a hot fill appliance needs to be done correctly, so good advice is required.
Traditional clothes dryers are very energy intensive. So-called ‘condensation’ models – without an exhaust tube – use even more energy. Check out the new high-efficiency models or invest in a clothing line and air dry your clothes.
In your bedroom:
Buy hemp sheets, organic cotton or linen sheets
Buy green clothing, made from organic cotton, hemp, linen and clothing made from recycled goods.