By Larraine Roulston:
Choosing to “Go Green” will result in a lighter eco-footprint and be easier on your wallet. There may be some initial expenses to upgrade your insulation or to acquire energy/water saving devices; however, in the long run they will save you money.
- Ensure that your home is well insulated by checking windows and doors for cold air leaks.
- Cover your hot water heater with a blanket, and insulate your water pipes.
- Wash laundry only when you have a full load. Using cold water will still clean your clothes and save energy by not heating the water.
- Utilize a drying rack and an outdoor clothesline. Dryers are one of your home’s biggest energy hogs. Besides, clothes will last longer if air-dried.
- Plug in related electronics, using power strips so you can turn everything off at once.
- Pull out plugs from small appliances with lights that glow. Known as “phantom power drains,” these gadgets run up your electrical bill even when they are not in use.
- Turn your thermostat down at night and when leaving your home for a few days. Programmable thermostats that allow you to
program heat or air conditioning units are available.
- Invest in a battery recharger for rechargeable batteries.
- Avoid bottled water by purchasing a good water filter.
- A water-saving shower head will decrease the water flowing from your shower nozzle without reducing pressure. Take shorter showers.
- To modernize an older toilet into a low-flow one that reduces the amount of water wasted on flushing, place a brick or other (thin) weighted object in the tank. Often, there is no need to flush every time.
- The quantity of meat we consume has a negative effect on the planet. Save money by cooking more plant-based meals from scratch, using vegetables and grains. Purchase local and seasonal produce when possible. Be creative with leftovers.
Use your dishwasher only when it is full.
- Keep your fridge running efficiently by clearing away dust on the coils. Allow warm foods to cool before putting them into the fridge.
- The many DIY recipes using water, vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, borax and olive oil make wonderful cleaning solutions. To clean fireplace glass doors, dampen a piece of newspaper, dip it into cooled ashes and wipe. Works wonders — no elbow grease required!
- Strive for low maintenance landscaping that includes native plants and trees. Keep grass at a minimum and try using a push lawnmower. Replace some areas with ground cover, and plant a veggie garden.
- Get all charged up by installing solar path lighting where needed.
- Obtain a rain barrel. Water your lawn with grey water.
- Visit your local library.
- Avoid idling your automobile.
- When possible, take public transportation, carpool or ride a bike.
- Running many errands in one trip also makes environmental and
- financial sense.
- To save a ton of money, put a limit on flying. For a short 4-day escape, choose a local destination accessible by train or
- Purchase only what you need. Buy in bulk.
- Choose quality items that will endure.
- Once you are known for your “Green Habits,” relatives will anticipate gifts from thrift stores.
There are so many ways you can discover how to Reduce and Reuse, and begin to ReThink of yourself as a citizen, neighbor or parent rather than a consumer.
Larraine writes children’s adventure stories on composting and pollinating. Fun & Factual. Visit, www.castlecompost.com