Happy Earth Day! This is the time to think about what ways we can help keep our planet clean. Here are 100 ways you can be Eco friendly on Earth Day.

  • Set your dishwasher to the energy saving mode and no dry heat modes to save even more.
  • Buy certified carpeting, furniture, and other household goods. FSC, SFI, GreenGuard, GreenSeal and more, all certify products produced with less harmful chemicals and sustainable manufacturing processes.
  • Buy certified organic food or locally grown. Less chemicals, less impact from transportation and delivery, respectively.

certified-organic

  • Buy consumer goods that are produced in a more environmentally sustainable manner and with less packaging.
  • Change the air filters on your heating and cooling system regularly.
  • Check with your local electric utility about purchasing green power. Many consumers have this option now.
  • Check with your state about subsidizing  energy savings and alternative power.
  • Check with your utility about any energy saving incentives it may offer.
  • Choose your fish carefully. Some are better for you than others.
  • Combine car trips. Instead of several smaller trips, make one larger trips and run all your errands at once. Or join forces with a neighbor or two!

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  • Create a compost heap and enrich your garden. You can compost most food waste and yard waste.
  • Don’t choose between paper and plastic — shop with reusable bags.
  • Don’t flush your medications down the drain. Follow safe disposal practices.
  • Don’t use antibacterial soaps or other cleaners. They don’t work any  better than regular soap and water and may cause health problems.
  • Don’t use artificial air cleaners or plug-ins. They’ve recently been found to emit harmful chemicals.
  • Donate used items rather than trashing them. Most places will even take worn clothes for rags. Or Freecycle them.

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  • Eat less meat, which causes the most environmental harm than any other type of food production.
  • Eat lower on the food chain. The higher up you go, the greater the environmental impact. That means more grains and produce. Besides, it’s better for you anyway.
  • Filter your shower water. You can purchase a filter that attaches to the head for about $50.
  • Filter your water rather than using bottled. Not only is it cheaper, but you reduce the bottles in circulation.

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  • Fix leaky faucets and toilets.
  • Flat-screen monitors or laptops are far more energy-efficient than CRTs.
  • For business travel, try to combine trips and take direct flights to reduce your impact.
  • Get an energy audit for your home or a green office audit for your work.
  • Get your coffee cup refilled rather than getting a disposable cup each time.
  • Green your cosmetics.
  • Heat your home to 68 degrees F, cool to 72 degrees F. Reduce both at night. For each two degrees, save 6%.
  • House plants can help clear the air. Peace plants and philodendron are particularly well suited to eliminating many common air pollutants.
  • If green power is not available in your area, purchase green tags or RECs to offset.
  • In public bathrooms, install motion sensor faucets and hand towel dispensers.
  • In the office and at home, regularly maintain HVAC systems.
  • Install a programmable thermostat to save up to $100 in energy costs per year.
  • Install a solar-powered attic fan to draw out hot air in the winter.
  • Install aerators on your faucets to use less water.
  • Insulate your attic and basement to save as much as 20% on your heating and cooling costs.
  • Invest in green. There are many good mutual funds and stocks available.
  • Keep insulating shades and curtains on southern facing windows drawn in summer and open in winter.
  • Keep your freezer full for optimal power use.
  • Making smart paper choices has become easier. Use certified or unbleached paper, or both.
  • Never let your car idle. If you’re not driving or stopped at a light, shut the engine.
  • Offices are often over-lit. Reduce overhead lighting by removing overhead bulbs. Replace with task lighting.

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  • Opt-out of junk mail.
  • Patronize companies that are making efforts to become more environmentally sustainable. From consumer products to services, your dollar can make a difference.
  • Pick a green dry cleaner that doesn’t use perchloroethylene, a known carcinogen. Or better yet, don’t buy clothes that need to be dry cleaned.
  • Plant native plant species, which are better suited to your climate and will require fewer chemicals and water.
  • Plant trees to buffer homes from wind and to help shade air conditioning units and windows that get a lot of sun.

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  • Print double-sided both at home and at work.
  • Recycle everything possible. Glass, metal, plastic, paper, cardboard (don’t forget junk mail!) and more. And participate in special item recycling days, such as for paints or electronics.
  • Recycle those printer cartridges.
  • Recycle your electronics and computer equipment.
  • Reduce consumption. Do you really need that new shirt? Clothing is the top contributor to environmental impacts of consumer product purchases.
  • Reduce your grass exposure. Plant shrubberies and other ground cover to replace this high-demand monoculture.
  • Regular maintenance on your current vehicle can save on gas. Replacing filters and keeping tires properly inflated are particularly important.
  • Replace at least 5 of your most-used bulbs with compact fluorescent.
  • Replace older toilets with newer, low-flow models.
  • Replace traditional exit signs with LED signs.
  • Run a full dishwasher rather than cleaning dishes by hand. Yes, it actually uses less water.
  • Safely dispose of hazardous materials, like batteries, CFLs, and chemicals. Check locally or online for resources.
  • Same goes for other personal care products. Safe use and disposal will help keep them out of our water.
  • Seal cracks using expanding foam and caulk. Look anywhere that pipes or wires come into the house, doors, windows. Experts estimate that if you added up all the cracks in the average home, you would have a 2-foot square hole.
  • Seal leaky heating and cooling ductwork. Use mastic rather that duct tape, which doesn’t offer enough sealing.
  • Select low VOC paint for your next remodeling job. And look for low-emissions products for any sealing work.
  • Shut all lights when leaving a room, saving about 5% on energy bills annually.
  • Shut down your computers and monitors every night.
  • Take 5-minutes showers and skip the bath. Any longer than 5-minutes and you’re wasting water.
  • Try carpooling to work one day a week. If it works for you, add more.
  • Try using a web conference to replace in-person meetings that require air travel whenever possible.
  • Turn off the tap. While brushing, while shaving, while washing dishes.
  • Upgrade appliances and electronics with Energy Star certified equipment. Both at home and at work, including copiers, printers, computers and accessories.
  • Upgrade your heating and cooling equipment. This along with hot water, accounts for 30% of homeowner energy use.
  • Upgrade your water heater. A solar system can meet 2/3 of a household needs. Or go with a tankless model. If neither works for you, go for an EnergyStar version.
  • Use an environmentally responsible bank. Many banks are working to address global warming.
  • Use ceiling fans to cool down rooms in summer and push down hot air in winter.
  • Use cold water for your laundry. Today’s soaps are designed for cold water washing.
  • Use doormats at all doors to keep particulates, dirt, and pollutants out of your home.
  • Use front-loading washers and dryers. Look to replace your old set with these newer models when it’s time.
  • Use green cleaning methods. Vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, Borax, and regular dish soap are all you really need for the majority of your household cleaning. Don’t want to mix it yourself? There are plenty of green alternatives.
  • Use Integrated Pest Management for bugs or vermin. There are companies that specialize in this.
  • Use motion sensor lights in offices and other areas if infrequent occupancy, like office restrooms.
  • Use natural lawn care. And when using any chemicals or fertilizers, carefully follow recommended application rates.
  • Use post-consumer, recycled content products, such as paper, napkins, toilet paper, tissues, and more.
    recycle
  • Use power-saving settings on your computer. Set them to power down after 2-3 minutes of inactivity.
  • Use public transportation whenever possible. Or just try to commit to one day per week in your commute.
  • Use rechargeable and reusable office products, like batteries, pens, storage devices.
  • Use reusable plates, cups and utensils. And no styrofoam. Encourage others to do the same.
  • Use safer alternatives whenever possible. Read labels and learn more about what you’re using. Just because they’re selling it doesn’t guarantee that it’s safe.
  • Use smart plugs to shut off power to appliances and unplug chargers and other stand-alone appliances. The U.S. spends about $4 billion annually on stand-by energy alone.
  • Use the microwave whenever practical. It is far more efficient than the stove or oven.
  • Use timers for indoor and outdoor lights.
  • Vacuum your refrigerator coils, which helps it operate more efficiently.
  • Water your lawn less frequently and more deeply and at night in most areas, to avoid evaporation.
  • Weatherstrip doors and windows.
  • When available purchase organic cotton products. Cotton is one of the most pollution-producing crops in the U.S.
  • When on the go, use a reusable water bottle. Metal, #2HDPE, #4LDPE, or #5PP are safest. Avoid those with phthalates or BPA.
  • When purchasing a new car, look for the most energy efficient model you can. Hybrids are great, but may not work for everyone.
  • Whenever practical, walk or ride your bike. For trips less than 2 miles, it actually takes less time to bike it.
  • Work from home! See if your employer might be willing to allow work at home days for employees.
  • Wrap your hot water pipes with pre-formed, pre-fit insulating tubes.
  • Wrap your water heater with an insulation blanket. About $20 at Lowe’s.
  • Wash your laundry in cold water.  About 90% of the washing machine’s energy goes into heating.
  • And of course sleep green with sustainable renewable organic bedding materials that are better for the plabet and better for you!
    mattress-comforter-sleepwear-ohmy

 

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