Our First Post: Easy Ways to Go Green!
Welcome to the ENN Community! We are so excited to be posting our first blog entry! We thought we would start out with something basic as a jumping off point: Our favorite ways to stay green. Some of these changes you might have heard of before, some are ENN originals! These are small changes that anyone can make and that will tweak your lifestyle to help you save the environment—and save money—one change at a time.
- Replace your regular light bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs) or, even better, Light- Emitting Diodes (LEDs). They are significantly more energy efficient, better resemble sunlight, and need to be changed less often. LEDs also contain no mercury, an element that can be harmful if exposed. A great way to go green, but make sure to dispose of them appropriately! (Many counties have disposal centers but if yours does not, Home Depot and Ikea will take them.)
- Use a clothesline or drying rack instead of your dryer. This tip saves your clothes from the harshness of a dryer, helping them retain their saturated color and preventing weakening and breaking of fibers. (And please, if you use a washing machine, do only full loads!)
- Walk, bicycle, or take public transportation to work if possible. Maybe meet a new friend on your route.
- Buy local meats and veggies—this will support your local economy and will cut down on transportation costs and fuels getting your food from one area to another.
- Don’t drink bottled water. Plastics are almost indestructible and will sit in landfills for thousands of years. They also take huge amounts of chemicals and fuels to produce. Find yourself a colorful, reusable (and preferably aluminum) water bottle instead.
- Buy in bulk. It is less expensive and uses less packaging.
- Recycle or sell old and used electronics. Computers, cell phones, keyboards—you name it—can be sold to make you some sweet dough. Recycle ink cartridges, batteries, and electronics that are beyond repair.
- Replace or fix leaky faucets to save water.
- Use the dishwasher. Full loads only!
- Need we say it? Recycle.
- Get a laptop. Way more convenient for you and way less energy used than desktop computers!
- Print on 2 sides of a piece of paper instead of just one. Cut your paper use in half.
- Use tote bags instead of paper/plastic ones for grocery shopping. Make sure to keep them clean though, because mold, yeast, and bacteria from old groceries are a health risk! (For more on this, see http://www.enn.com/business/article/40007)
- Pay bills online and put a stop to junk mail!
- Another obvious one—Turn off lights, electronics, and appliances when you leave a room.
- The five- minute shower. Can you do it?
- Wear jeans as much as possible. They can be worn multiple times without washing because they are durable and hold their shape well. Save water and heat energy by doing less laundry!
- Eat less meat—you will save money and make a gradual environmental impact even if you only limit your consumption a little. Beef has a massive carbon footprint (larger than auto emissions).
- Almost anything can be recycled and turned into something else. Old clothes to dishrags, egg cartons to paint sinks, jelly jars to vases, etc. Be creative, save money, and stop contributing to landfills.
- Instead of working out on a treadmill or elliptical, run outside or hike for exercise. Help nature while experiencing it. Or make clean fitness fun by joining a local soccer, rugby, basketball, or touch football league.
Have any more tips for your fellow ENN readers or want to comment on one of ours? Want to tell a success story or air an utter failure in your quest to go green? Share it all here!
by M. Molendyke