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Earth Day Checklist

posted: 05/15/12
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DCL | Getty Images

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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