EARTH DAY IDEAS
At EcoMaven Associates we are always looking for opportunities to tell a green story. Sometimes the story is right under our nose. In recognition of Earth Day, here is a list of 10 low hanging fruit of eco-tips that are ripe for the picking!
Ten ideas to hug the earth:
1. Wash clothes in cold water to help save energy by not heating the water. One load does not add up to much, but in my household we do a full load 5 times a week, almost 50 weeks a year. In the aggregate little savings can add up to a lot.
2. Use reusable and repurposed containers to keep food-packaging waste to a minimum. We each pack our lunch almost every day, and not only are we eating healthier foods by making our own lunch and snacks, but we are decreasing our trash by using the same containers over and over again. We don’t always have the perfect size, but we make do with recycled yogurt and other such containers.
3. Purchase less stuff in general and not only will you save energy, minimize landfill, and preserve natural resources, but you will also save money as well. Next time you put the shopping breaks on, you may want to consider saving that money in a jar and treating yourself to a fabulous experience instead. One friend used that money to buy a WA Discover Pass and commit to more weekends hiking.
4. Dispose less by reusing, recycling, borrowing or even sharing stuff to maximize utility with less waste. Save boxes from your online purchases and use them to ship your next package, use an old toothbrush to clean grout or jewelry, repurpose your empty tissue box as a dispenser for your recycled, plastic grocery bags…the possibilities are endless if we just think creatively before we toss. Here is another blog with more suggestions, too.
5. Turn down hot water heater settings to conserve energy, since heating water 24/7 uses energy even when there is no demand for it.
6. Replace worn out appliances with energy efficient models whenever possible. Upgrading an older refrigerator is a great starting point since it typically uses the most energy in a kitchen, and, chances are that a newer energy efficient model will be less costly to run. Just remember to safely dispose of the old model as they can really leach harmful chemicals into the environment and much of the waste can be recycled. Your waste management company can probably recommend appliance recyclers.
7. Replace incandescent lights with energy efficient lights to reduce your electricity consumption by substituting them with CFLs or LEDs that are growing in popularity due to decreasing costs. Here is a calculator to help you measure the benefits.
8. Consider a car free day where you, your friends, or your family ride a bike, walk or use public transportation to get from A to B to help to reduce your carbon footprint. This might make some errands more fun as you and your kids transport groceries in backpacks, or ride a bike to a local library to borrow books, or stop by your local bookstore to hear an author or enjoy a community event or performance. Here is one resource to review in moving towards a car diet.
9. Learn more about the sharing economy for tools, cars, and even backyards. Yes, it’s a growing trend with more people realizing that borrowing has a greater utility than owning for things in their lives that have sporadic uses. It might even help you meet a few neighbors that are willing to share some muscle to plant that vegetable bed you keep meaning to start. This site is a hub for Collaborative Consumption a descriptor for the new sharing economy.
10. Replace your lawn or flowerpots with some space for growing your own vegetables or fruit. This year one of our son’s decided to grow herbs and some veggies in pots that used to hold flowers. Looks like we will benefit from his tasty experiment, as he loves to cook too.
What ideas do you have for reducing your footprint on the planet and maybe saving money and building community at the same time? — alex