It isn’t easy being green — just ask Kermit the Frog. For everyone else, being green means something far different from your skin color. Being green means finding ways to reduce your impact on the environment with an eye toward saving energy and curbing all forms of pollution. There are numerous ways for you to embrace a greener lifestyle and we’ll examine eight of these right here.
1. Wash it cold. Do you think that washing your clothes in warm water makes your clothes cleaner? This is a fallacy — it isn’t the temperature of the water that gets your clothes clean, rather it is the detergent you use. Leave your water on a cold setting and use biodegradable detergent for good measure. Also, when possible, let your clothes air dry. Invest in a $10 laundry rack and you’ll get your investment back within two or three washes.
2. Control your thermostat. An automatic thermostat is the best way to regulate the temperature in your house. Replace your manual thermostat with a new unit and set your controls to automatically rise and fall around the clock. For instance, set your heat at 68 degrees when you’re home from work, but drop it down to 62 or lower when you’re getting ready for bed. Have it return to a higher temperature as your rise each day, dropping again once you leave for work.
3. Forgo bottled water. Spring water in bottles may be better for you than regular tap water, but the impact on those empty containers can have on recycling can be huge. Get rid of the bottled water and opt for a water filter. Buy one that removes the most harmful impurities and use it instead.
4. Buy locally raised. Clementines from Spain, kiwi from Indonesia and tomatoes from Jordan can and should be enjoyed. However, wherever possible, buy your fruit and vegetables locally, from nearby farms. You’ll keep your funds local as well as reduce the impact that global shipping has on the environment. Besides, there is nothing that tastes better than farm fresh food, right?
5. Work from home. If possible, work from home. If not possible, telecommute one day per week. Working from home one a week will reduce your commuting impact by 20 percent. If you still must work on site, consider other options for getting to the job including mass transportation, riding a bicycle or walking. Talk with your boss about working remotely.
6. Plant a native landscape. When you’re ready to make changes to your landscape, opt for native origin species. These plants are used to your growing area and can be better resistant to disease and drought. If possible, convert at least some of your lawn to a wild landscape. You’ll use less water to maintain your lawn and you won’t need to run your polluting lawn mower as often.
7. Recycle your electronics. Your old cell phone should be recycled, not thrown out. The same can be said for all of your electronics as lead, acid and other corrosive ingredients and parts will eventually breakdown and seep into the soil. Send your broken electronics to recycling. For old, but functional units, give these away or donate to a thrift shop.
8. Free share. Besides recycling, you can participate in free sharing or upcycling groups. Such organizations, found nationwide, provide ways for members to give away what they no longer need. There is no bartering, trading or selling, but it is a way for you to give and get items you do not have to pay for.
Going green means finding ways to live sustainably. You may already be employing one or more methods, while some of the ideas presented here may be new to you. Consider ways that you can reduce your impact on the environment, to leave the world a better place than it was before.