On Sunday, we celebrate our 42nd Earth Day (and according to Groupon, our planet’s 400th birthday - what? Yeah, I don’t know either). In its honor, here are 7 easy ways to be a little more green in 2012:
Only 0.007% of all water is accessible and suitable for human use (97.5% is salt water, 1.75% is frozen, the rest is inaccessible underground or too polluted). Some easy ways to cut down on wasted water are to turn off the faucet when not in use while showering, washing face/hands, brushing teeth, doing dishes, or cooking. Older shower heads run at 4.5 gallons per minute, so limit your shower time. Run dishwashers and laundry machines with full loads. Turn your toilet into a low flush toilet with these easy DIY steps. Rather than using 3.5 to 7 gallons every time you flush, you can control and customize your toilet flushing needs.
Lights, air conditioning, heater, computer - if you’re not there, turn it off. Switch off lights when you leave the room, and close the refrigerator while using the item.
Even when turned off, your electronics will suck energy while plugged in. This phantom energy accounts for 10% of household electricity use. An easy way to stop this is to use power chords with on/off switches that can be turned off when leaving the house. Remember to unplug items when you’re leaving for a weekend or vacation trip.
Our lives are filled with plastic shopping bags, sandwich bags, bottles, utensils, wrappers - the list goes on. Americans use an estimated 102 billion plastic bags and 35 billion plastic water bottles every year, and the vast majority of this goes unrecycled. Start using a tote bag for shopping, and bringing small bags for produce. Take a reusable bottle when you go out (and if you think bottled water is cleaner than the Brita in your fridge, check out this bottled water scorecard).
Is there a reason your bananas need to be individually wrapped? No, there isn’t. When buying food items, avoid over-packaged products. Buy grains and cereals in bulk (even better if you bring your own container). Avoid single-serving items, they're are too small to satisfy your cravings anyway.
Look up compost programs in your city. If you have the space, make your own. Or, bring your compost to Whole Foods like I do (I'm not ashamed).
Keep recycling like Tiny Tin says.
Our planet’s resources are limited, so let’s not abuse it out of habit or lazinesss. Make it your Earth Day resolution to show our planet some love this year.