Friday, April 22, 2011

Celebrate Earth Day :)

 I know what you're thinking...two posts in two days, that's crazy! I know! But it's Earth Day today, and Good Friday as well, and we do like to celebrate around this house. You might remember my post from last year where I shared some ways to be green. Thought I'd do that again, but more like little things everyone can do to be more environmentally friendly :)

Here's my TOP 10:

1) Protect the health of lakes, rivers and streams by avoiding soaps and detergents containing phosphate. Examples of phosphate-free brands include Seventh Generation, Eco Ver, Bi-O-Kleen, Mrs. Meyer's and Trader Joe's. SAFER for your family and our fresh water bodies!

2) Lower your energy usage - and utility bills - with a programmable thermostat. We did this a couple years ago and continue to love it.  Why use all that energy (and money) when you are away from the house?? Use a programmable thermostat to set specific times, so you don't waste anything!

3) Wash most of your laundry in cold water. Try to avoid using warm/hot water unless it's really warranted. According to the EPA, approximately 90% of the total energy consumed by a standard top-load washing machine goes to heating the water. Your clothing will survive, I promise!!

4) Eat seasonally and locally: visit your nearest farmer's market! We are so lucky to have one right around the corner once a week. We can get fresh fruits & veggies, organic meats, dairy, fresh baked bread and even pre-made frozen meals. We can't live without it anymore! Here's a good list of other markets around town.

5) Insulate your water pipes. Save money, water and energy by dressing your hot water pipes in foam sleeves and your water heater in a nice insulating jacket. Insulating your water heater alone can reduce your utility bills by 4-9%.  Plus, insulation shortens your wait for hot water each morning.

6) Just say no to receipts! I know this isn't always possible, but when you can, rejecting those receipts saves a ton of paper. There are eight billion ATM transactions in the US per year. All of those little slips add up to a pile of waste that could circle the equator 15 times...scary!

7) Watch what you don't eat. Portion sizes in this entire country, not to mention Houston, are out of control! Consider other possible uses before you pitch: leftovers, freezing it, donating it, or even making a soup or stew out of it. Americans throw away one quarter to one half of their food, creating more than 50 million tons of garbage....

8) Reduce plastic waste by purchasing refillable cosmetics. Brands like Aveda, Stila and The Body Shop offer refillable holders for their blushes, powders and eye shadows. Right now, ORIGINS inside Dillard's is offering a free (paraben-free) cleanser TODAY if you bring them any plastic "cosmetic empties." I heart free stuff!

9) Please DON'T water your yard during the heat of the day. Boy this drives me nuts! Up to 90% of it will be lost through evaporation, especially during the warmer months=what a waste!

10) Complete the recycling loop! Buy recycled products instead of those made from virgin content. Look for the percentage of "postconsumer content" - the higher, the better. Great recycled products include paper towels, toilet tissue, plastic trash bags, egg cartons and glass containers. Recycling at home is the first step, buying recycled items at the store is the second, then REPEAT :)

Growing support for recycling helped reduce the number of landfills in the US dramatically. I think that's pretty awesome. It's so easy to do! And kids think it's fun too--sadly, we don't have a pick-up in our neighborhood, so Bub the hub takes lil'bub on a quick trip every Saturday to a local recycling drop-off center.  There are several good ones around, even a drive through one! No excuses then! I might even be willing to make you some super awesome bin labels like the ones we have...


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