With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, everyone will be going green. But, instead of just wearing a shamrock on your shirt, why not go green in a way that benefits you, your family, and the environment? Here are just a few easy ways to go green this spring:
1) Start Recycling
The United States produces the most trash of any country in the world at more than four pounds of waste produced daily per capita. Since nearly 90% of this waste can be recycled, this is the best and easiest way to go green this year.
Currently, which products that can be recycled is up to local townships, so check with your area. For the most part, items like plastic, cardboard, and paper can be recycled.
If you and your family already recycle in your home, you can even start a recycling program at your schools. A study found that when recycling bins were placed in classrooms, recycling increased dramatically in schools. If we want to teach our children to take better care of the environment, why not start with recycling?
2) Conserve Water
Cutting back on your daily water use is not only great for the environment, but also good for your bills. One American city found that, if each three-member household changed their appliances to low-flow upgrades, they could save almost $100 every year and cut back water consumption by 54,000 gallons.
However, you don’t need to go replacing all your shower-heads and faucets to conserve water. Running the dishwasher only when full, buying a rain barrel to use for watering plants, or cutting down your shower time by just five minutes are all great ways to cut back on your own personal water use. Every gallon counts!
3) Exercise Outside
Instead of going to the gym, save gas and electricity by getting your daily exercise outside. Go for a run or do yoga to mix up your workout grind and get some much needed vitamin D.
Most cities even offer classes outside during the spring or summer months, from Pilates to kick-boxing. Go green for the environment by enjoying the beauty that nature provides!
4) Borrow More
Sharing is caring, right? Well, sharing with family and friends not only improves your relationship with them, it helps the environment as well!
From clothes to power tools, buying less puts more money in your pocket and less stress on the environment. Meet with neighbors to discuss sharing big-ticket items like lawn mowers or snow blowers.
5) Plant a Tree
Kick off your go-green initiative by adding a little green to your backyard. Plant a tree strategically to provide your home with shade – this can keep your air-conditioner from going into overdrive and using a lot of energy.
Planting larger trees like oaks can actually cut down energy bills by $200 a year. Plus, on a nice day, planting a tree with your family (depending on its size, of course) is a great way to make memories and enjoy the sunshine.
Take the initiative this year to really decrease your personal carbon footprint and use these simple tools to go green. It will make you feel good about yourself, and may even inspire your friends, family, and community to go green as well.
“10 Ways to Go Green and Save Green.” Worldwatch Institute. 28 April 2006. Web. 2 March 2014. http://www.worldwatch.org/resources/go_green_save_green
L.Chase, Nancy, Gregory M. Dominick, Amy Trepal, Leanne S. Bailey, and Daniela B. Friedman. "Description of a Pilot Health Communications Campaign." National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 30 Nov. 2009. Web. 2 Mar. 2014. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2800327
"How to Conserve Water and Use It Effectively." Epa.gov. Environmental Protection Agency., 06 Mar. 2012. Web. 2 Mar. 2014. http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/nps/chap3.cfm
O'connor, Ryan T., Dorothea C. Lerman, Jennifer N. Fritz, and Henry B. Hodde. "Effects Of Number And Location Of Bins On Plastic Recycling At A University." Ed. David Wilder. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis 43.4 (2010): 711-15. Web. 2 March 2014. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2998261/
Ridgley, Heidi. “What A Difference A Tree Makes.” National Wildlife Foundation. 1 April 2005. Web. 2 March 2014. http://www.nwf.org/news-and-magazines/national-wildlife/gardening/archives/2005/plant-trees-to-cut-energy-costs.aspx