Earth Day – H is for Helping the Environment
Thanks for staying with us on our Earth Day blog post series! We’re spelling out EARTH DAY with each of our blog post titles. So far we’ve covered E (Energy Efficiency) A (Alternative Energy Sources) R (Recycling) T (Teaching Good Energy Habits) and now we’re up to H, Helping the Environment!
So here are some tips about how simple actions from you and your family can do just that!
Helping the Planet By Saving Water
You may not realize it, but saving water, or preventing water waste, has a very positive impact on the planet. This is due not only to the fact that water conservation is a vital component of ensuring a healthy planet, but also the amount of energy needed to generate the water that you use in your home on a daily basis.
Here are some tips to consider:
- Eliminate the “hot” cycle on your washing machine altogether. Cold wash and cold rinse, or warm/warm are just as effective without requiring as much energy. Cold or warm water also prevents color bleeding and shrinking that can be caused by hot water.
- Did you know that the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) actually has stricter regulations for tap water than the FDA has for bottled water? You can eliminate plastic waste from disposable water bottles, and drink tap water from a reusable bottle.
- Take showers, not baths. Baths require far more water than showers, provided you keep your showers short. Keep in mind that for every 2 minutes of shower time, you use roughly 10 gallons of water. Try and keep your showers as short as possible to save water.
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Paper Conservation Makes a Difference Too!
Whether it’s something that is directly on our mind throughout the day or not, on some level we all know that using too much paper isn’t good for the environment. Here are some more ideas on how to save paper, thus eliminating excess waste, unnecessarily additions to landfills, as well as the power required to process paper, which contributes to the elimination of rainforests as well as pollution.
- Pay your bills online. It has been estimated that if every household in the United States paid their bills online and switched to paperless billing, up to 18.5 million trees could be saved every year, 2.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases would be eliminated as well as 1.7 billion pounds of solid waste. In addition to the positive environmental impacts, most banks and other institutions offer some kind of incentive for switching to paperless statements, so you could even personally save money in the process!
- Cut down on paper plates and cups at outdoor gatherings. There are many different alternatives that you can use including recyclable and compostable items and pop-up recycling bins you can use to ensure your paper items don’t go in the trash and end up in a landfill. If possible, use washable dishes. Another alternative is to use a permanent marker to write names on cups and plates to prevent unnecessary waste and disposal of several items per person.
- Use less paper napkins and towels. The average American uses about 2,200 napkins every year. Cutting down just one napkin per day can save more than a billion pounds of paper from ending up in landfills every year.
- Write or print on both sides of paper. This can cut your paper use in half, saving paper as well as money on supplies. Of course, when you’re ready to dispose of used papers, make sure to recycle.
Other Environmentally-Friendly Tips:
- Hang dry your clothes when possible. Most articles of clothing don’t require tumble drying and you can save a lot of electricity (and thus reduce fossil fuel usage and carbon gas emissions) by drying your clothes on a line.
- Plan out trips for errands so you’re going to the same places at the same time instead of throughout the week. This allows you to save gasoline, which is always good for the environment. Take it a step further by walking or riding a bicycle to closer locations when possible. Using cruise control on long trips can also save you up to 15% of the gasoline you would usually use.
- Buy and use a coffee cup that can be washed and reused. Many coffee shops will give you a discount for using an environmentally friendly cup and you can eliminate unnecessary waste of paper or Styrofoam cups every day.
There are so many ways to help the environment. In addition to the above, you can probably think of a long list of others. Make a conscious effort to follow the old mantra “reduce, reuse, recycle” every day and feel great knowing you’re contributing to a great cause and doing your part to help the planet!