Friday, 17 December 2010

Green Goals for 2011



A new year provides the perfect opportunity to be more green. If you’re new to the eco-world, here are several tips to keep in mind in 2011; for veterans, these serve as friendly reminders, since the best of us forget once in a while that it’s our planet on the line.

Try green cleaning
There’s no need to bring any more chemicals into your home, even in the name of getting rid of bacteria. You can invest in bleach- and chemical-free green cleaning sprays and scrubs (Seventh Generation is a reliable company), or you can make your own with cheap materials you probably already have in your pantry. White or apple cider vinegar, baking soda, Borax, and lemon juice are the key players here. You’ll save tons of money and make your home a safer place for kids and pets. Plus, now that your cleaning materials are safer for kids to be around, maybe you can recruit a few helpers on cleaning day. Check out The Daily Green website for cleaning recipes: http://www.thedailygreen.com/green-homes/latest/green-cleaning-spring-cleaning-460303?click=nav

Install CFLs
One CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulb lasts about 10 times longer and uses 75% less energy than and incandescent bulb, which could mean $30 savings over its lifetime (including the initial $5 cost of the CFL bulb).

Use power strips to eliminate ghost energy
It might be news to some people that even when not in use, electronics like cell phone chargers and computers use power if left in the socket. This can cost you about $200 a year for just one flat-screen plasma TV left plugged in. Plugging it into and turning off a power strip can eliminate this ghost energy.

Take shorter showers
I’m a bit of a clean freak, and I love being doused with boil-a-lobster hot water on cold winter mornings, but in an effort to waste less water, I tried this trick: If you have an iPod dock or an old CD player, listen to your tunes while you shower. Since each song is about 3 to 6 minutes in length, try keeping your shower to a maximum of three songs at first. Three days later, limit your shower to two songs. Work your way toward one song per shower.

Rely less on the A/C
While the winter months last, turn down the heat and put on a sweater. If your ceiling fan runs in reverse, try it, as this will bring the warm air back down since it has a tendency to travel up. In the summer, set your temp for warmer than you’d call ideal but open the windows on breezy days, draw curtains closed around sundown when rooms tend to get really heated up, and use that ceiling fan. Put ice in your water (and drink lots of it) to stay cool. Squeeze a lemon or orange into a pitcher of water for those extra hot summer days.

Buy used books
If you’re a book worm, avoid going to Barnes & Noble and either check out the library or, if you insist on having your own collection like I do, check out a used bookstore or swap books with some friends. If you’ve got your eye on a book on Amazon, try buying used instead of new. Many of the major book publishing companies log rain forests for trees unsustainably and illegally (this includes Harper Collins, and Random House isn’t much better). Check out this pocket guide that lists major book publishers in terms of which companies are doing more (and less) for the environment: http://ran.org/sites/default/files/rankidsbooks_pocketguide_media.pdf

Buy used clothes and household goods
Instead of buying new clothes or things around the house you think you need, go to thrift stores before checking out department stores. Second-hand shopping keeps old items in circulation (and come by a lot cheaper than new items), which means that no more trees need to be cut down or oils melted into poisonous plastics to make what you need. It’s also important to not buy new non-organic cotton; more workers in developing countries die in a year due to the pesticides used in its production than you could ever imagine. Check out this video for more on how you can keep your wardrobe green in 2011: http://www.bbc.co.uk/thread/video/.

Written by Maria Renier
Bio: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at Online Schools.

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3 comments:

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solanarecyclers said...

Green travel simply means being a responsible, respectful traveler who continually makes decisions and contributions that enhance the destinations and cultures visited.

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