Ten Ways To Make Your Home More Envionmentally Friendly

Is your home environmentally friendly? Here are some tips that make it easy for you to do your share.

We're busy people. We have jobs, school and soccer games to contend with and because of this, we have to rely on convenience to get us through our day. Convenience takes its toll, however, and we're hit in two places it really hurts; the pocketbook and the environment. When we're cleaning the home or doing our grocery shopping, do we really consider the impact it has on our environment? No, we're more interested in the impact it has on our time. Making your home environmentally friendly doesn't take too much time, however, and can soon become part of your routine. Below are ten ways to make your home more environmentally friendly.

1. Recycle - Hopefully, there are laws in place in your neighborhood to make recycling mandatory, but there are still many areas in which it is not. In addition, since recycling doesn't always fit in with a town's fiscal agenda, only certain items are recycled. You can help by not only recycling common items such as cans, bottles and newspapers, but items you wouldn't even think of, such as plastic toys and containers or aluminum pie tins. If your area doesn't include these items for pick up, take them to the recycling center yourself.

2. Enough with the disposable items - Wash and reuse those zip lock bags (unless it originally contained raw meat), save those plastic take out containers and empty butter tubs. The more household items you can reuse, the less landfill we have to contend with later. See how many uses you can find for the different items in your home.

3. Dispose properly of hazardous materials - Don't pour motor oil and paint thinners down a sink or sewer and don't throw them in the garbage. These and other hazardous waste items, including batteries, are very harmful if they get into the soil or water. Instead, check with your sanitation or recycling programs to see if there is a hazardous waste pick up or drop off day. Many auto supply stores also have containers in which you can dispose of motor oil and car batteries. Computer and copy machine toner cartridges can be recycled, and many toner recycling programs will pay for postage if you send them your used cartridges.

4. Compost and Mulch - Reuse leaves, grass, eggshells, coffee grounds, manure and other organic items to help make your garden the envy of the neighborhood. All you need is a compost bucket and a place out back to store it. Soon, you'll have nutritious compost. Instead of filling trash bags with garden waste, shred leaves, grass clippings, branches and bark for an environmentally sound and inexpensive mulch.

5. Invest in canvas grocery bags - Reuse your grocery bags. Plastic bags create landfill and paper bags kill trees. By reusing grocery bags you can help to eliminate two problems at once! Many supermarkets also have bins where plastic grocery bags can be recycled. The next time you go food shopping, why not drop off all those plastic bags you've amassed. They don't all have to come from that particular store.

6. Read product labels - Stop buying toxic cleaners and chemicals. By purchasing only organic, biodegradable or environmentally friendly products, you're helping to protect our air, soil and water. Avoid products that are disinfectants or anti-fungals as these contain chemicals harmful to the environment.

7. Replace your regular light bulbs with ones that are more energy efficient - Instead of using the usual incandescent bulbs, try using fluorescent bulbs. Not only do these save energy, but in many cases you can get a rebate. The bulbs are more expensive, but even if you switch out only a few bulbs, you'll be doing your part for the environment. You can also purchase compact fluorescent bulbs, which can be screwed into the same sockets as incandescent bulbs. Although the initial purchase of the bulbs may seem expensive, in the long run, they are actually much less expensive because of the savings in energy costs.

8. Purchase a water filter- If you'd rather not drink the city or well water your area offers, purchase a water filter for your family's drinking needs. This will eliminate the need to throw away or recycle water jugs. In addition, it will save money.

9. Recycle your cell phone - Not only do discarded cell phones create landfill, but they're also a hazard. They can release toxins such as mercury and lead into the environment. Contact your cell phone company about recycling old cell phones.

10. Purchase only energy efficient appliances. Check the label for a high energy start rating. Besides saving energy and protecting the environment, you'll be saving money.

As you can see, it doesn't take much to have an environmentally friendly home. Read product labels on the foods and cleansers you purchase to make sure you won't be disposing of any toxic chemicals and don't forget to recycle. We need to protect the world not only for our sake but for future generations as well.

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