Lifestyle Denver’s 8 best tips for contributing to the environment by staying green.
1. Use Reusable Shopping Bags
Switch from paper and plastic and bring your own bags. This one change will have the most immediate and dramatic impact on the environment.
Check out: www.reusablebags.com and www.betterbagscolorado.org. If you’re a client of mine, I have Kentwood reusable bags for you! Just let me know how many you need.
2. Replace Your Light Bulbs with Compact Fluorescent (CFL) Light Bulbs
They last 10 times longer and use 1/4 less energy. Dispose of the CFL bulbs properly, they contain trace amounts of mercury. You can take them to Ace Hardware stores. Also try LED’s (Light Emitting Diodes) – no mercury. Remember to turn off the light when you leave the room.
Start with your porch: www.porchbulbproject.org.
3. Use Earth Friendly Cleaning Products
The EPA says air pollution indoors may be 2-5 times higher than outdoors. Try making your own cleaning products to cut down on chemicals.
All Purpose Cleaner: 1/2 cup Borax (look in the laundry aisle) to 1 gallon hot water, mix in a pail or use smaller amounts in a spray bottle (1/8 cup Borax to 1 quart hot water). Dissolve the Borax completely and wipe surfaces clean. This also works with Arm & Hammer washing soda to 2 cups very hot water.
Glass Cleaner: 1/4 cup white vinegar or 1 teaspoon lemon juice to 2 cups water in a clean spray bottle. Wipe surfaces with newspaper.
Soft Scrub: Mix liquid detergent to 1/2 cup baking soda until it’s the consistency of frosting. Use on sinks, showers and stainless steel.
Buy Seventh Generation or Clorox Green products.
4. Save Water
Turn off the water when brushing your teeth and you’ll save about 25 gallons of water a month.
Limit your showers to 5 minutes.
Implement xeriscaping (not zero scaping!) 35% of our water is used for lawns.
Check out low flow shower heads, toilets and faucets.
Only run your dishwasher when it’s full.
5. Calculate Your Carbon Footprint
What is it? How big is it? Flying, driving and tossing out garbage emit greenhouse gases. You can measure your household’s impact on the environment and learn how to reduce it.
Learn more at: www.carbonfootprint.com and www.begreennow.com.
Take advantage of your neighborhood recycling programs and buy recycled products whenever you can.
Here’s more: www.rbrc.org and Colorado Recycles.
7. Conserve Energy
Turn down the temperature on your hot water heater to 120 degrees. Unplug your appliances or plug them into a “smart” power strip and turn it off when you’re away.
Clean your furnace and change the filters, and consider having your home audited for energy use.
Park your car for one whole day a month.
Set your thermostat at 68 degrees or cooler in the winter and 78 degrees or warmer in the summer.
Find additional savings and rebates at: Energy Star and Excel Energy.
8. Gardening Ideas
Find a place in your garden to compost your trash. Compost helps keep weeds at bay and saves water. Water lawns early in the morning and mow late in the day.
Look for xeriscape plants.
Avoid synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
Have fun being green ~ it’s good for you and not as hard as you may think!