Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Reason #40: Happy Earth Day!

I recycle, I use reusable shopping bags, I use mass transit, but I know I could be doing more. In honor of Earth Day, here are some tips to live a greener life. Small changes can make a big difference for both the planet, your wallet, and your own health.

* Take shorter showers.

* Replace your showerhead with a “low-flow” or “water-saving model". Look for them at home-improvement stores and those that have a flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute or less (average showerhead has 5.5gpm).

* Cut down on the meat. Red meat production is responsible for about 2.5 times more greenhouse gas emissions than chicken or fish.

* Handwash items instead of dry cleaning.

* Ditch air-fresheners (The Natural Resources Defense Council tested 14 air fresheners and found that 12 contain phthalates, chemicals linked to hormone abnormalities, birth defects, and reproductive problems). Open your windows instead or make your own fragrance (place orange peel mixed with sage in a small bowl).

* Set your computer to sleep (or hibernate on my HP) after five minutes of inactivity.

* Donate the item you’re replacing.

* Bring your own bag to the store.

* Wash your clothes in the cold-cycle and cut roughly 85% of the energy used.

* Unplug chargers and appliances.

* Choose household cleaning products that have an ingredient list. Products with harmful chemicals are less likely to have one.

* Skip the treadmill and run outside.

* Skip on bottled water and save plastic- fill up your Nalgene instead.

* Instead of buying aluminum foil or plastic wrap, look for the recycled variety. It uses just 1/20th of the energy needed to produce regular foil.

* Choose items with minimal packing or buy in bulk.

* Buy seasonal, local produced food. It drastically reduces the energy spent on food shipping and tends to use minimal packaging. Additionally it is fresher!

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