Days 11 and 12: Be more “Eco” friendly

Picture from the Sacramento Scoop

With Earth day coming up on April 22nd and spring in the air, it is hard not to want to get out and enjoy mother nature.  Although enjoying does not require any effort or giving back, it’s hard not to look at a beautiful garden of flowers or a forest of giant oaks without thinking “what can I do to keep these looking beautiful?” [Maybe it’s just me who thinks that way!] Either way, when the flowers are blooming and the sun is shining I get an uncontrollable urge to give back to mother nature and help preserve her vast beauty.

So for days 11 and 12 [and so on until forever] I am going to proactively try to be more “eco” nomical.  Here are some tips I tried that are very easy, affordable and give you an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. [I felt like a modern-day Captain Planet!]

Tip 1: Recycle!!

As a kid, the importance of recycling was drilled in my head with non stop promotional videos, cartoons and pamphlets. Although this information is stuffed in our heads starting at such a young age, many people tend to forget the importance of recycling by the time they reach adulthood. I’m one of the souls and until recently, I was a horrible recycler. [I threw bottles, cans and the like into the regular trash can, not even thinking twice!] So to do my part to preserve our beautiful land, I recycled everything! Old papers, soda cans, water bottles, etc, etc. I was a recycling machine. And even though I can’t directly see how this is helping, I know I’m doing my part to help keep our planet beautiful. If you don’t have a recycling program in your community, write to your local congressman and figure out how you can get one implemented. If not, find new ways to reuse old products. Old water bottles make great makeshift vases and soda cans can be painted and used as outdoor patio decorations! Also, to keep the trend going, buy recyclable goods when you can. Fortunately this day in age, many cleaners, hair products and sodas come in recyclable cases. Coke, for example, only manufacturers their plastic bottles in 100% recyclable plastic.

Tip 2: Save paper by using recycled paper to print or printing double-sided

Save the amount of trees being cut down by using recycled paper when you print, or by printing double-sided. Most documents that are printed at work are used for internal use only, so consult with your supervisor or manager to see if using recycled paper is acceptable. According to the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], the average U.S. office worker uses about 10,000 sheets of paper per year, which equals to about 4 million tons of paper used annually. Paper and paper products make up the largest portion of waste in the US, which can easily be lessened since paper is one of the easiest products to recycle.

Tip 3: Use rechargeable batteries

Although rechargeable batteries are pricier than the regular kind, you will get your money’s worth by their conveince and ease. A single reusable battery can replace more than 1000 regular alkaline batteries over its lifetime. The average family uses about 10 batteries each and throw out approximately 179,000 tons of them a year. Not only do batteries not decompose, they also can release toxic chemicals into streams, lakes and oceans.

Tip 4: Buy green products

Not literally [unless you are seriously obsessed with the color green] but figuratively. Green products are ones that are made of recyclable materials, are energy efficient, contain no toxic chemicals, are biodegradable and are made of natural colors and products. To do my part, I’ve started buying reusable tote bags made of completely organic and biodegradable materials to carry my groceries in. Not only does it reduce plastic waste in the environment, it also gives us a ton more pantry space! Not sure how to tell if a product is green? Look on the label! Stick with products that say “made with 100% all natural products”, “all natural”, or “made of 100% recycled materials.” A good way to ensure the product you are buying is 100% green, buy products that are certified. For example, electronics are often “Energy Star” certified, which means they have been proven to reduce energy.

Buying green isn’t just specific to material goods either. Many food companies are now producing food in eco-friendly packages, which are biodegradable and made of natural ingredients. One company in Nashville, called Nashville wraps, features only eco-friendly wrapping! Visit http://www.nashvillewraps.com/ if you are interested! If you are curious if your food is packaged in eco-friendly packaging, follow the same guidelines as buying green. Check the label, research the company and read the list of ingredients. You can also buy green by purchasing organic meats, produce and dairy. Organic products are ones that are made without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. I bought organic turkey, cheese and all organic produce. Not only do these products help the environment, they taste better too! I noticed a significant difference in the freshness and taste of the products.

Tip 5: Rent or buy hybrid vehicles

Photo courtesy of www.hybridvehicle-s.com

Hybrid cars,which have recently become very popular with celebrities and environmentalists alike, are cars that have 2 separate motors, one gas and one electric. What makes hybrid cars so environmentally friendly is that they run on a a battery, which reduces the amount of greenhouse gases that are released in the air. The reduced pollution in the air reduces respiratory and lung disease. Most hybrid cars score in the 8 range for the EPA  Air Pollution score [1 being the worst and 10 being the best], as well as have smaller carbon footprints and a very high EPA mileage. For example, the Toyota Prius averages about 51 mpg. Not only do these cars reduce pollution in the air, they also reduce noise pollution and save you hundreds of dollars in gas money. The one main downfall to these vehicles is they are often really expensive. If you can’t spring for one, see if you can rent one during your next trip.

Do your part to make our earth a cleaner and more efficient one! Go Green!

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~ by therealnutritionist on March 23, 2010.

3 Responses to “Days 11 and 12: Be more “Eco” friendly”

  1. Why not take tip 2 even further, and encourage folks to go paperless? It’s so easy to do these days thanks to cloud computing alternatives. Office Live Workspace is a great example. You get 5GB of online storage for free, and it syncs seamlessly with Office. So, you can access, edit, and share your documents.

    Check it out at http://workspace.officelive.com/en-us/Learn-More.

    Cheers!
    Kim
    Microsoft Office Live Outreach

  2. How you find ideas for articles, I am always lack of new ideas for articles. Some tips would be great

  3. […] on Earth Day and how you can help, visit http://www.earthday.org/.  Also, check out my post on becoming more eco friendly for ways you can reduce your carbon footprint and keep our planet […]

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