Celebrating Earth Day at Home

Earth Day is tomorrow. Around your community there are probably many great events that you can attend to learn more about green living, pick up litter, plant trees, or drop off recyclables.

Of course I encourage you to participate in the events happening around town. However, since Earth Day is on a Tuesday this year, I'm sure many won't be able to make it to one. That doesn't mean you can't celebrate right at home.

We all celebrate holidays with our families at home. Earth Day shouldn't be any different. Use this special day as an excuse to finally make all those changes around the house you've been planning.

Where should you begin? I like to think of greening up one's home room by room.

1) Bathroom:

  • Install a low-flow shower head, like the one found HERE, to reduce water usage.
  • Insist that family members take 5 minute showers.
  • Install an aerated faucet for the bathroom sink like the one found HERE
  • Use organic cotton towels like THESE.
  • Install fluorescent light bulbs.
  • Use recycled toilet paper. Read more about recycled toilet paper HERE.
  • Place a water-filled gallon milk carton in the toilet tank to reduced water demand.
  • Use non-toxic home made cleaning supplies to wash the tub, toilet and sink. Find recipes HERE
2) Kitchen:
  • Only use re-usable dish, silver and glass ware. Look for biodegradable or recycled napkins.
  • For cleaning, try turning old t-shirts and sheets into rags. If not, use recycled paper towels.
  • Again, you can use home made non-toxic cleaning supplies for the kitchen (look HERE) or in your dishwasher (look HERE)
  • Clean your oven the easy way without using smelly sprays (look HERE)
  • Only run the dishwasher when it is full and never use the "heat dry" function, drip dry instead.
  • Vacuum the refrigerator coils to improve your fridge's energy efficiency.
  • Purchase organic food at the farmers' market.
  • Replace your garbage can with a recycling can. Leave a small biodegradable garbage bag hanging on a cabinet handle for garbage. This makes it harder to toss things away without taking into consideration that it might be recyclable.
  • Install a faucet aerator and wash dishes in a sink full of water rather than by running the faucet.
  • Use a dry erase marker to label a water glass for each family member each day to use. This will avoid wasting glasses throughout the day and will reduce the number of dishes being washed.
  • Install florescent light bulbs.
3) Family Room:
  • Avoid phantom energy usage by plugging the television, DVD player, CD player, stereo, video game system, etc. into a surge protector with a power switch. Turn it off when you don't need it and save big money on your utility bill.
  • Install fluorescent light bulbs.
  • Recycle old newspapers and magazines.
  • Go HERE to find inventive ways to dispose of books.
  • Cancel junk mail (go HERE) and catalog subscriptions (go HERE)
  • Use natural, non-toxic homemade furniture polish (go HERE)
  • Recycle old electronics and computer equipment so the toxic chemicals inside them don't get into our drinking water. Go HERE to find a dump site near you.
  • Insulate your windows and save on heating/air conditioning by installing clear THIS clear tape.
4) Laundry Room:
  • Wash your laundry using cold water.
  • Only run the washer with a full load.
  • Use laundry detergent free of phosphates that end up in lakes & rivers and choke the fish.
  • Hang up laundry when you have the opportunity. It will make your clothes last longer and will save a lot of electricity.
5) In the Yard:
  • Re-use coffee grounds on the soil around acid-dependent plants as a natural fertilizer.
  • Avoid unnatural pesticides, fertilizers and insecticides. Often, natural remedies like lime juice and citronella can be just as effective.
  • Water your lawn in the morning before it gets hot.
  • If you step on the your grass and it stands back up, it doesn't need watering.
  • Ensure your sprinklers are watering grass and not sidewalk.
  • Get your car washed at a commercial car wash that recycles the water or wash your car on the lawn.
  • Install covers on your pool and spa to stop evaporation.
  • Use a broom to clean the sidewalk and driveway, in lieu of the hose.
  • Cut your grass higher to create longer blades that will shade the roots to allow for better water conservation.
  • Try xeriscaping your yard by going HERE.

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