Earth Day 2013 is long gone! But shouldn’t every day be Earth Day? We ought to be looking for ways to conserve resources in everyday life each day, not just on one day out of the year. The distressing news coming from the EPA is that despite decades of campaigning and education, only 5 percent of plastic and 22 percent of glass in this country actually gets recycled. Sad isn’t it? However, we can collectively create a positive difference by changing the little things in our lifestyles in and around the home.
Kate Harrison, CEO of GreenBrideGuide.com, offers inexpensive tricks to kick starting a green routine. The simple eco-friendly advice will help you greenify your day-to-day duties all year long without breaking the bank!
Grocery Shopping– Green your trash bags: It is so easy and inexpensive to get trash bags made from recycled or biodegradable material these days that there is little excuse not to use them. You can buy a roll at most supermarkets or online from Kokopelli’s Green Market (kokogm.com). Bring your own reusable tote to the grocery store with you. Leave a few totes in the trunk of your car or stash them away in your purse for unexpected trips.
Skip the Suds-Try a green detergent such as 7th Generation which comes in a recycled cardboard bottle. You can also use a detergent designed for cold water; using cold water for each wash load saves energy, which is good for the earth, and also saves money, which is great for your wallet. Cold water detergents are formulated to fight dirt and stains just as well as their warm water counterparts.
Use a dishwasher instead of washing plates by hand. Buy an Energy Star Rated washer, only run it when it is full and skip the pre-rinse cycle.
Choose Non-Toxic Cleaning Products-For every commercial and chemical based product on the market, there is probably a greener alternative…or even a homemade substitution!
• Baking Soda: This is great for cleaning, deodorizing, softening water and scouring dishes.
• Soap: Unscented soap in liquid, flake or powder form is biodegradable and will clean just about anything.
• Lemon: A strong food acid effective against most household bacteria.
• Borax: Cleans, deodorizes, disinfects, softens water, cleans wallpaper, painted walls and floors
• White Vinegar: Cuts grease, removes mildew, odors, some stains and wax build-up.
• Washing Soda: Cuts grease, removes stains, softens water, cleans walls, tiles, sinks and tubs.
• Cornstarch: Can be used to clean windows, polish furniture, shampoo carpets and rugs.
• Citrus Solvent: Cleans paintbrushes, oil and grease and some stains.
Green Your Pet-The carbon emissions emitted from the production and transportation of your pet’s food can be quite high; to offset this, look for healthy food alternatives. While organic pet food may cost a bit more, it is made with renewable resources and no pesticides or environmentally unfriendly fertilizers. Whether it comes in bottles, bags or cans, chances are that your pet’s food containers can be recycled.
Scooping poop is no fun for anyone but you can make it more environmentally friendly by using biodegradable bags, which are available at most pet stores. This is an excellent alternative to using plastic bags which are nearly impossible to decompose.
Fairly easy to follow concepts, so why aren’t more people doing it? I believe change begins within ourselves and we set the examples for our children who will someday be leading the way. Even if you adopt only one of the green principles above you will be planting vital roots, reducing your household carbon footprint, and paving a brighter future for the next generation to come!