Earth Day Checklist

posted: 05/15/12
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Going green is the first step, but staying green is key. Conserving water and energy, cutting down on waste, and abolishing the use of products with harsh chemicals are just a few ways to help make the environment a safer place, not just for you but for animals as well. Practice Earth Day efforts all year long with this eco-friendly checklist of simple, everyday tasks that will go a long way to make a big difference!

- Turn the faucet off while brushing your teeth — a family of four can save up to 800 gallons a month by doing so.

- Decrease shower time, or take it one step further by installing a water-saving showerhead, which cuts down consumption by 10-50 gallons for every 10-minute shower.

- Skip the dryer and air-dry clothes whenever possible — same goes for your hair dryer as well. Plugged-in appliances still use energy, even if turned off — unplug any items not in use, especially when you leave the household (this will help prevent fire hazards as well).

- Replace light fixtures with energy-efficient bulbs.

- Switch to paperless for bank statements and all household bills.

- Recycle whenever possible, including junk mail, magazines, newspapers, and all cardboard and paper packaging.

- Separate fruit and vegetable waste, along with coffee grounds, to use for composting outdoor soil.

- Consider investing in a trash compactor — this will help minimize the space of non-recyclable waste that ends up in landfills.

- Opt for reusable bags and totes when shopping, whether it's grocery, retail or otherwise. Many reusable bags tuck inside themselves, making it easy to stash one or two into a purse, briefcase or backpack so you have one on hand at all times.

- Shop for groceries in bulk at a wholesale club — this will not only cut down on packaging that needs to be disposed of, but will also reduce the number of trips to the store.

- Purchase products with minimal or eco-friendly packaging — for example, skip the six-pack of soda (animals often get caught or choke on the plastic rings that hold them together) and buy the 12-pack in the recyclable cardboard sleeve instead.

- Select organic foods that are grown and harvested in ways that help sustain the environment, as well as eco-friendly household cleansers.

- Commit to using public transportation, biking or walking whenever possible, even if it's just once a week.

- Organize appointments and errands to streamline the number of days transportation is required.

- Pick up litter and dispose of trash properly to prevent non-biodegradable items from making their way into water sources.

- Eliminate the use of pesticides from your lawn or outdoor areas, and opt for natural products instead or hand-weeding.

- Limit lawn watering to early morning, when the grass will absorb more moisture.

- Use push lawn mowers as well as hand-held rakes and shovels — this will eliminate unnecessary gas and electric usage while also giving your body a healthy workout.

- If space allows, plant trees near your house — the shade will help keep things cool on the inside, cutting down on the need for air conditioning, while also providing a new habitat for birds, insects and other creatures.

- Create additional backyard habitats with the addition of bird houses, baths and feeders.

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