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Going Green: Easy Tips for Sustainable Living

Going Green: Easy Tips for Sustainable Living
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BY MYRA FAYE TURNER

“It’s not that easy being green.”

Kermit the Frog

With much love to Kermit, being environmentally green is easier than most people think. If you’re contemplating incorporating green living into your life but are hesitant because you figure it’s too much work, read on. This article will show you how easy it is to start living the green life. There are many small changes you can institute that are good for both you and the environment.

What exactly does living green mean? Greener living is an awareness that all our actions affect the environment — either negatively or positively. Living green means making a conscious decision not to cause harm to our planet. Especially when these decisions cause long-term or even irreparable damage.

Speaking of our planet, April 22 is Earth Day and there’s no better time to get started living the green life. Read on to find out how you can easily integrate green living into your life — starting today.

Tips for Sustainable Living

You can start living green by thinking in terms of the 3 R’s: reduce, reuse, and recycle. Here are some tips for sustainable living that cover each category.

Wasting water is a big issue in most homes. You can reduce the amount of water you use (and save on your water bill) by:

  • Turning off the water while you’re brushing your teeth or shaving
  • Not running the washing machine or dishwasher unless you have a full load

Reduce environmental toxins by cleaning your home with non-toxic green products. You can either purchase these products or make your own.

Help keep the air cleaner by leaving your car at home, if possible. Try walking or biking for short trips. You’ll get your daily dose of exercise and fewer cars on the road reduces the amount of pollutants in the air. If you must drive, carpooling or using mass transportation are other options.

If you don’t need a car often, consider car sharing. These programs offer the convenience of having access to a car when needed, without the expense of owning one. Zipcar, UhaulCarShare ,  and Enterprise CarShare are popular car sharing services.

Reduce environmental noise and gas emissions by cutting your grass with a reel mover. You will help the environment and get a nice workout in return.

Use energy star-rated light bulbs and appliances.

Turn off the lights when you leave the room.

Go paperless for billing and other correspondence as much as possible.

Turn your computer off (don’t just put it in sleep mode) at night and if you’re not going to use it for an extended period.

Downsize your house if you don’t need the space.

Buy rechargeable batteries.

Put on more clothes in the winter before turning up the heat. Sometimes a light sweater or extra blanket is all you need to feel cozy. During the summer, wear lightweight, breathable clothing to avoid turning your a/c down too much.

Turn off the TV when you’re going to be out of the room and when you’re not really watching it. If you find yourself channel surfing maybe it’s time for you to read a book or take a walk,

Don’t waste the cold water that comes out the shower before the hot water pours out. Place a bucket in the shower to collect this perfectly useable water, then find another use for it. You can water your plants, wash your pet or even flush the toilet.

Collect rainwater. Stop moaning about rainy weather and take advantage of Mother Nature’s faucet. Place a container outside and collect rainwater. You can use the water as above or for other projects.

Invest in a few reusable shopping bags and ditch both the paper and plastic for your purchases. And do you need a bag for a one-item purchase? Nope. Even if you didn’t bring a bag with you, you can probably go bag free if you purchase a few items. There’s a Save-a-Lot near my house and I’ve been shopping there more often lately because the Winn-Dixie I normally shop at is closed because of the recent tornado (that literally passed right over my house, but that’s a story for a different day!). I have a few big canvas library totes that I take with me when I shop or if I’m getting a handful of items, I don’t use a bag at all. This incident has shown me that it’s better to bring your own bags with you or go bag-less.

B.Y.O.C— Bring Your Own Cup— to the coffee shop. Most shops will allow you to bring your own beverage container or offer refillable cups for purchase.

Participate in your city’s recycling program if one exists. If not, maybe you can petition your city to start one.

Before throwing out containers, see if you can find other uses for them. Plastic containers make great storage bins.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. I know you’ve heard this saying before. Why not consider swapping your treasure by using a service like the Freecycle Network. Members list items they want to get rid of and they’re up for grabs. You can also list items you’re looking for and maybe someone will have what you need.

Going green is easy to incorporate into your live especially if you take baby steps. Instead of trying to make many changes quickly, make smaller changes overtime. This way, you’re more likely to stick with it.

For more information on living the green life:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Sustainable Baby Steps

The Nature Conservatory

 

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Myra Faye Turner
Myra Faye Turner is freelance writer, who lives in New Orleans, LA, population, according to the 2010 U.S. Census, 3,483, 839. She hopes to someday retire to a less populated city. Check out her website, myrafayeturner.com and be sure to follow her on twitter @msmyrafaye.