Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – Blog Action Day
When The Panda first brought Blog Action Day to my attention she said that she assumed I’d want to write a post on my new Prius. As interesting as I think my new car is, I thought that my Blog Action Day post should be more down to earth, something that other people could relate to. So, I’ve decided to write a post about things everyone can do in the home to help the environment.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. It’s simple. Really, it is. It amazes me how many people still don’t take these steps. Reduce your amount of waste by reusing simple things. Try using washable plastic containers instead of zip lock bags. Try washing out and reusing ziplocks if you do use them. They don’t have to be single use. Use cloth hand towels that you can wash instead of one use throw away paper towels. Put a bin under your desk to collect your waste paper and instead of throwing it out, recycle it. One of the easiest things you can do is invest in some canvas or other bags to bring with you to the grocery store. Use those bags to cart home groceries and save on the hundreds of plastic bags that accumulate with each shopping run.
Here is a list of recyclable materials. Many things that you would not consider recyclable sometimes are. For example, an electronics store near our house has a receptacle for depositing old batteries and cell phones for recycle.
There are other ways to be kind to the environment.
What sorts of cleaning products do you use? Do you use bleach based products? Try switching over to Hydrogen Peroxide based products. Try using vinegar. Try baking soda. These natural products clean and disinfect as well if not better than the toxic substances in commercial cleaners.
How about laundry detergent? Many common detergents contain phosphates that seep into the earth. Use natural detergents (and dish soaps) and reduce the amount of harmful chemicals that are released into the soil. I don’t want to sound like an advertising ploy so I’m not mentioning any particular name brands, but there are MANY MANY eco-friendly soaps and detergents out on the market now. If you would like suggestions, let me know, I’ll be happy to recommend my favorite products.
Does your house tend to look like a Christmas tree all year round? Turn off the lights when you’re not in a room and you will save on energy. (I tend to follow my darling husband around the house switching off lights in the rooms he has just exited.) Many of the lamps in our house have had a bulb make over. Compact Florescent Bulbs (CFL) use about 1/10 of the energy of standard carbon filament bulbs but the problem is that CFLs contain Mercury which if not properly disposed of can cause harmful environmental pollution. Check here and here to find places near you where you can safely dispose of and recycle CFLs.
Buy products made form recycled plastics and paper. Obviously we all need to throw out our trash, but do the plastic bags we use have to be made from once around plastic? No they do not. Don’t let advertising win you over. I’ve been using garbage bags made from recycled plastics for about a year now and I have had no trash break throughs. I wouldn’t necessarily suggest using them for sharp materials like tree cuttings, but for house hold garbage they work wonderfully.
There are many many ways to be kind to the environment. If you feel that you may have a difficult time changing your ways, pick one thing. Start with that. When that has become part of your routine, add another. Make a difference by taking small steps, but as the old saying goes, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”