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  1. Making your home more energy efficient can reduce your carbon footprint. There are some simple changes that you can make to be more efficient in your home. For a larger impact, use these solutions to make your home more green. Energy Star Appliances Appliances are scored on their annual anticipated energy usage. The Energy Star Program is run by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA looks at all models that are on the market and determines their total energy consumption. It is a completely unbiased analysis designed to aid the consumer in making a purchasing decision. Consider replacing your older appliances with ones that have a higher rating. Not only will you be helping to reduce carbon emissions, but you will be saving money on your electric bill. New Windows Older windows allow more air leakage than newer models. This is especially true if your home has single pane windows. Even windows that have aluminum frames and older vinyl windows can become less efficient over time. This is due to the seals on the windows breaking down with exposure to the elements. Not all windows are created equal. New windows are rated for certain climates. There are even varieties available that offer triple pane windows. This reduces the amount of air lost and helps with noise control. Upgrade Your Heating or Cooling System Even with routine maintenance on your AC or furnace, the parts can break with the passage of time. It may be time to consider upgrading to a more energy efficient model, like those you might get from a provider such as Cape Fear Air Conditioning & Heating Co., Inc. Something to take into consideration is the amount of usage of your system. You need to size your unit correctly based on the amount of square footage in your home. Sometimes it may even be prudent to oversize your unit if it sees heavy usage. This will allow the unit to run less while maintaining the desired temperature. Install Solar Panels For the most extreme solution for going green, solar panels are it. This is not a solution for everyone. It can be costly. There are government rebates that can be utilized to help offset the expense. Your home also needs to have a certain amount of roof square footage and sunlight exposure. With the installation of solar panels, your home can generate its own electricity. The surplus can then be sold back to the power company. This can also help to offset the major upfront expense for the installation of the solar panels. Energy efficiency in your home can be a huge expense. There are programs that can help with mitigating the cost. Consider these solutions for making your home more environmentally friendly.
  2. Organic waste refers to those waste materials that can decompose. It usually comes from either plants or animals. When disposed of, it will naturally decompose through bacterial activity. Therefore, it is a better form of waste compared to other non-biodegradable forms such as plastics. Because of its degradable nature, organic waste leads to a greener environment through several ways: Reduce Water Pollution When well-composted, organic waste reduces the need to use synthetic fertilizers and pesticides on the soil when farming. Using those fertilizers and chemicals normally leads to contamination of underground water when chemicals seep deep into the underground water levels. Flowing water also carries these chemicals into water bodies such as rivers which ends up causing pollution to our water bodies. Reduce the Effects of Global Warming When organic waste is put in landfills, it produces methane gas which is 21 times worse than carbon dioxide in its contribution to global warming. Since organic waste is not normally disposed in landfills, less methane gas is produced and this has a reduced impact on global warming. SF Gate Home Guides insists that organic waste must never be dumped in the landfills but must be composted, which not only reduces global warming but also is a big nutritional benefit to the soil. Improves Aesthetic Value When the organic waste is put in the appropriately marked green trash cans, such as those provided by Ware Disposal, it improves the aesthetic value of the environment. It makes it look neat and clean. It also reduces the probability of the waste getting into contact with, for example, children, which prevents potential infections. Improves Soil Structure Compost manure, which is formed by organic waste, helps to improve the soil structure and composition in a great way. It increases the ability of the soil to hold water in a way where it can be easily accessed by the roots of plants which as a result reduces the need for irrigation. It also adds microbial organisms to the soil such as insects and earthworms. Better soil leads to healthy plants which are important in the environmental cycles such as the nitrogen cycle. Organic waste, therefore, has a big benefit to the environment. It is always important to separate the organic from the inorganic waste when disposing and ensure that as you take the inorganic to the landfill, the organic waste should form compost manure. In this way, you will be able to realize the full impact organic waste has to the environment. It is also very economical to dispose and will, therefore, save you some money.
  3. For many people today, green energy is a huge concern. We want it from our companies, but don’t often practice it ourselves. At home, solar panels are a great way to reduce the environmental impact your home has, with a host of other positives, like: Lower Energy Bills The most obvious boon of solar panels is reduced energy costs. Depending on the amount of sun in your area, the break-even point for solar panels can be as little as two years, though the average is six to eight. To maximize your savings, consider contacting a licensed electrician to complete the installation, as they can work to best optimize the placement and wiring to bring about the lowest costs and highest yields. Average savings number in the tens of thousands over twenty years, increasing for sunnier locations. Secure, Reliable, Independent Solar energy comes from the sun, which comes with a number of benefits besides being clean and free: it can’t be monopolized, we know when it’s coming, and no one can limit our access to it. When it comes to energy sources, it’s the only choice a homeowner can make that affords them control; once you own solar panels, you have access to energy, period. Increase Home Value Research has shown that market demand for solar panels is strong, with buyers willing to pay a premium for homes already outfitted with systems. The average increase in resale value is around $5,911 per kilowatt, putting the typical 3.1 kilowatt system at a nearly $18,000 jump. In addition, you can enjoy increased roof longevity, as solar panels provide some protection from the elements, and lowered cooling costs, as they reflect sunshine in the summer. Tax Incentives No matter where you live, there’s more than likely some sort of energy incentive. Federal tax credits are numerous and more localized government on the state, provincial, county, or municipal level. There’s also the rise of power purchase agreements to watch, as homeowners can enjoy solar panels for zero initial investment with these agreements wherein the solar company owns the panels while the purchaser pays them off monthly. In today’s eco-friendly market, solar panels are an achievable reality for more and more homeowners. Beyond the lower energy bill, they provide numerous benefits like those listed. That’s not to mention their decreased carbon footprint, enabling you to help the environment from the comfort of your own home.
  4. If you are concerned with your carbon footprint, there are things that you and your family can do to reduce it. The good news is that many of these ideas will not significantly alter your lifestyle. Therefore, you can do good for the Earth without having to go without the things that you want or need. Recycle Whenever Possible That plastic soda bottle or milk carton is likely eligible to be recycled. The same goes for the cardboard box that your cereal came in or the soup can that you just made dinner from. In lieu of putting those objects in your recycling bin, you can use them as flower pots or fill them with soapy water to use as a fly or pest trap. Find Ways to Limit Your Water Use There are many ways to limit your water usage such as washing your dishes only once a day or by taking shorter showers. You can also save water by watering your lawn once or twice a week instead of once or twice a day. Tightening loose pipes or making sure that the hose is completely turned off may also conserve water. Install Appliances That are Friendly to the Environment Appliances that have an Energy Star rating are ones worth having in your home because they use less energy. The only way to earn this label is to pass a government inspection, and there is no way for a company to buy its product onto the list. You should also look for central air units from Cape Fear Air Conditioning & Heating Co. Inc. or a similar company that have a higher SEER rating than what you have in your house. The higher the rating, the more efficient the item is. Carpool Whenever Possible Instead of having each member of the family using their own car, a family can carpool and save on gas and other emissions. It may also be a good idea to walk or bike to school or work if you live close enough. Using public transportation such as a bus or subway may also be an effective way to reduce the emissions created by your family's driving habits. If you are concerned with how society is treating the environment, you should lead the charge for change by example. By demonstrating the changes that you have made, it could inspire others to follow your lead. Over time, this could cause entire communities or even entire parts of the country to follow through on the momentum that you have helped to create.
  5. Many homeowners pay a small fortune in utility bills each month. This can be financially burdensome, and it also may be a sign that your home or lifestyle is not as green as it could be. With a closer look at some of the top green tips you can follow around the house, you may be able to make your space more environmentally-friendly and save a significant amount of money in the process. Use Low-Flow Water Features The scarcity of fresh water is a top concern for many environmentally-conscious people. Low-flow water features, such as toilets, faucets and showerheads, can be installed in your home to help you conserve water. These are specially-designed features that use less water without requiring you to adjust your water usage behavior. For example, a low-flow toilet may use half the water or less with each flush that an older model may use. Harvest Rain Water Another great idea to consider is to use gutters, such as those from Unique Home Solutions, and a rain barrel to harvest rain water. This water can be stored and used for landscaping water. It can also be purified on-site and used inside your home. For example, you may use it to wash your clothes or for toilet purposes. You may notice a dramatic decrease in your water bill each month, and you can enjoy the benefit of knowing that you are not taking water away from the public water supply through your usage. Adjust Your Thermostat Maintaining an ideal climate inside the home can be an energy drain, and this is particularly true during peak summer and winter months when your HVAC system may function most frequently. Adjust your thermostat so that your home’s interior is cooler in the winter and warmer in the summer. Use blankets, clothing, ceiling fans and more to control your comfort level without relying so heavily on your HVAC system. Upgrade Your Windows Another excellent step to take is to upgrade your windows. If you live in an older home, your windows may not be well-sealed, and they also may not be good insulators. Modern windows may be more energy efficient, and they can help you to maintain a comfortable climate inside the home without relying on regular use of your HVAC unit. These are only a few of the green tips you can follow to save money on energy bills regularly. Now is a great time to begin implementing these and other ideas you may have to improve your home.
  6. Solar energy has gained incredible momentum in the last few years. More homeowners and businesses than ever before are using solar energy to lower their electric bills and contribute to environmentally friendly practices. There are many advantages to going solar for middle-class homeowners, and the government has an interest in developing a stronger solar economy. Massive Decreases in Solar Prices When residential solar panels were first introduced to the market, they were, like most new technologies, prohibitively expensive. It could cost over $70.00 per watt to install a solar system. Only very wealthy homeowners could afford such a system, and only a small segment of the most environmentally conscious would be likely to invest. Today, the price of a solar system hovers closer to 60 cents per watt. This massive price decrease makes residential solar affordable to a broader range of consumers, especially homeowners in the middle class. While many government incentives and subsidies exist to lower the cost of solar further, the government is obviously hoping to phase out these expenses. Subsidies are designed to stimulate a new industry. The more people who install panels and stimulate the production of solar energy, the cheaper it will become and the less reliant people will be on government assistance. Solar is Good for the Economy States that make solar energy attractive have reaped significant economic benefits. These include the creation of new jobs and small businesses as well as new manufacturing and production. The growth of solar as a widespread industry is excellent from a government standpoint because it provides more tax revenue, a healthier job market and local economy and possibly less reliance on government assistance. Solar energy also represents an important shift away from imports. Renewable energy is one commodity that is always domestically produced. This allows money spent on energy to remain in the local economy or at least in America. This decreases reliance on foreign sources of energy, especially oil. Less Strain on Municipalities Residential solar creates the possibility that each home is like a miniature power plant. The vast majority of residential solar systems, such as those with Blue Sky Solar Energy, are tied into the energy grid. This benefits the homeowner because they have a reliable source of energy and don’t have to worry about expensive backup or off-grid battery systems. This also benefits everyone connected to the energy grid. More solar means lower demands on the centralized power infrastructure, meaning less operating costs for primary utilities and a more stable power grid in general. Power companies commonly over produce so they can meet peak energy demands. This expense is then wasted during off-peak times. A large-scale development of residential solar would lower the peak demand on the power company and reduce that waste and expense. Clean Energy Policies Many states are adopting stricter clean air and water policies and goals. Investment in clean energy is often a critical part of reaching these environmental goals. Solar power may reduce the need for dirtier sources of electricity. Increased adoption of solar energy may also have an environmental ripple effect for homeowners who adopt it. A strong tie-in is the link between home solar and electric vehicles. When a homeowner is producing their own electricity at home, they may be more likely to purchase an electric vehicle to go along with it. There are many widespread benefits to solar systems for homes and businesses. The government has a vested public interest in increasing the adopting of this technology. Homeowners can still act to take advantage of price decreases and incentives being offered.
  7. Spring weather has a tendency to motivate us to straighten our yards or do a major cleaning in the house. Not only are cobwebs noticeable in the corners but every speck of dirt in your home is visible In fact, now is the time to open the doors and windows, let the house air out and do some major spring cleaning. If you are reluctant to bring out the harsh and toxic chemicals, there are more Eco friendly options. In addition, many of the green solutions actually do a great job disinfecting and cleaning. For instance, one of the best natural cleaners is vinegar. In truth, it is almost the only cleaner you really need. Vinegar is a multi-purpose product that can be used for laundry, getting rid of bugs, as a disinfectant, an antibacterial and as a cleaner. As a Disinfectant Most disinfectants are quite toxic such as bleach (chlorine), ammonia and hydrochloric acid. In truth, these cleaning agents are not the best to have around, especially if you have children. Thankfully, vinegar is an excellent alternative as a disinfectant. Not only is it a safer but it is also much cheaper. Plus if the smell of vinegar bothers you, just add a little bit of your favorite essential oil to the mix. The ideal solution for a disinfectant is half water and half vinegar. Just remember, the more you dilute the solution the weaker disinfectant you will have. Add the mixture to a spray bottle to make cleaning easier. For Cleaning Windows Vinegar and water is one of best solutions for cleaning windows. Not only does the vinegar cut through dirt and grime but it leaves your glass shiny. A basic solution would be one part water and one part vinegar. The mixture can also be made ahead of time. If your windows are brand new, like those from Gilkey Windows, then it’s important to make sure that you clean your windows regularly to keep them looking new. An All-Purpose Cleaner The recipe for an all-purpose cleaner is similar to the disinfectant except it is diluted. Add 1 ½ cups water, ½ cup vinegar, 2 teaspoons lemon juice and 3-5 drop of essential oils such as orange or lemon to a spray bottle. Use for cleaning around the house like the walls, counter-tops, blinds, door knobs and other surfaces. Floor Cleaner Vinegar is one of the best floor cleaners around. It disinfects, cleans and cuts through grime. In addition, vinegar leaves a nice shine to your floor without being slippery like some floor cleaners. In a large bucket, add ½ gallon of warm water and 1/3 to ½ cup of vinegar. Soak a sponge or mop with the solution making sure to wring out any excess water. Clean the floor and rinse the mop when needed. Allow to dry. Vinegar has numerous other uses for the household like getting rid of stubborn odors in a room, , cleaning the toilet, removing stickers from the wall and for cleaning various metals such as copper, brass, silver and pewter.
  8. Becoming more energy efficient isn't just about preserving the environment. It can also provide substantial savings on your monthly power bills. You may have decided it's too much trouble, or costs money for greener technologies. There are really a number of simple, affordable things you can do. Here are four ways to start saving energy. Efficient Kitchens Kitchens are one of the most energy-intensive areas. You can save power by cooking more than one meal at the same time, so that tomorrow's dinner only has to be warmed up. When cooking meals or desserts in cold weather, let the heat circulate to the rest of the house to reduce the burden on home heating. Wash the dishes on warm instead of hot, and avoid pre-rinsing dishes that don't need it. Don't cook small pans on big burners, or vice-versa. Heat and AC HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems shouldn't be turned on if you don't need them. Even slight adjustments could be wasting money over the course of a day. Put on a sweatshirt instead of turning up the heat, or a pair of shorts instead of turning up the AC. It's also important to have your AC system checked by a professional, such as those from Cape Fear Air Conditioning & Heating Co., Inc. before peak summer temperatures. Inefficient operation or clogged ducts forces the AC to work harder and wastes electricity. Efficient Cleaning Saving energy with household chores just takes a little effort and common sense. Don't use warm water where cold will do, or hot water where warm will get the job done. Try to use appliances like washers, dryers, and dishwashers at full capacity in order to avoid wasted electricity. Consider hanging up your laundry rather than using the dryer, or removing it before it's fully dry. Use dust mops and brooms instead of dragging out the vacuum cleaner. Energy-Efficient Homes Fans and dehumidifiers can help to reduce AC costs. Letting in the sunshine will reduce heating and lighting expenses. Additional insulation and sealing of window or door gaps will help save money on both. Also add insulation around your hot water heater and hot water lines. Get everyone in the household into the habit of turning off anything that isn't being used. Consider solar-powered lights for the exterior. Saving electricity is just a matter of a little proactive planning and developing good habits. Start with the easy and affordable solutions. In time, you might be ready to move up to solar panels or smart thermostats to save even more.
  9. If you or your family members have trouble breathing when you're outside or even inside your home, then you might want to think about the local environment. The air that you breathe can affect almost every aspect of the body. It can even affect your moods and how you feel on a daily basis. Keep in mind that it's not just one thing in the environment that impacts the health. It's a culmination of variables that you need to be aware of so that you can take care of your family. Here are just a few things that you need to take into consideration: Air Quality When you go outside, you might sense a heavy feeling in the air. This is a sign of poor air quality for the day. Everything from high humidity to smog and pollution from local businesses and cars can create a poor air quality. One of the things that you can do to help this situation is to carpool or use public transportation instead of driving every day to work, especially in the summer when air alerts are higher. Staying Hydrated If you have water through a city or county supply, then you probably know that there are times when the water can taste more like chemicals than tap water. Some areas add chemicals to the supply to filter out bacteria and other items that might be unhealthy. A wastewater treatment plant often filters the supply before it's delivered to homes, but there are times that contaminations still get through. If you feel like any contamination is getting through, though, you should contact your city to make sure that the water source is going through proper and efficient waste and water treatment. Meanwhile, you can boil water that you think is unhealthy or contact your local government office to make a complaint. Don’t hesitate, however, to keep looking into the issue and researching more info about it. What You Eat Some people might not think that the food that you eat is a part of the environment, but where do you think that you get the meat, vegetables and fruits that you consume? If there are pesticides or bacteria or any other items that interfere with the food that you eat, it can make you sick. There are even times when these contaminants can cause death. This is why you want to clean the foods that you prepare and shop from local farmers as much as possible. Trash Compacting When you walk along the streets and sidewalks in your town, you can sometimes see litter along the way. Some towns have more trash on the ground than others. Living in a town that doesn't seem to care about the appearance can take its toll on your mental health and make you want to move if it gets too bad. Do your part by picking up trash that you see and putting it in a proper disposal. The environment can do more harm than good for the body and mind if there are negative aspects. There are groups that you can join to positively change the environment so that it's healthier for you and the family. If necessary, stay inside as much as possible on days that just aren't ideal to be outside.
  10. Going green can seem a bit daunting, especially if you don’t know how to apply these principles at home. At first, it might seem like everything is trying to destroy the planet. However, these four tips will help you make the difference that you’re looking to make right from your own home. Grill One appliance that may use propane or other forms of energy is the grill, but that no longer has to be the case. It might be a good idea to consider a solar-powered grill that will not use up electricity or force you to purchase propane. These grills can fry, bake, boil, and grill by using the power of the sun. This is a tasty way to help the earth! Generator One way to power your small appliances is by using generators. Solar-powered generators will allow you to use your basic appliances without plugging them up to electricity. Generators do not last too long, but it should provide enough energy throughout the day. This is really what you want since most of the electricity produced by factories ends up releasing unnecessary carbon into the atmosphere. Hot Water Everyone knows that water heaters work with gas or electricity, but did you know that you can install a solar-powered hot water system? Yes, and it should work just as efficiently as any other hot water appliance would work. It is estimated that about 80 percent of the annual cost associated with hot water can be cut using a solar-powered hot water heater, like those you can get from Degree C Pty Ltd. This also means that electricity use will be down, reducing your carbon footprint. Solar Panels This is perhaps the most expensive option, but it is one worth mentioning. These panels are installed on the roof of your home by professionals and are meant to provide the house with a sufficient amount of energy. Think of it as installing a large-scale generator that will power up your entire house. The expense is one reason why some do not opt for this choice while others do not want to install these panels above their roof due to several reasons like aesthetics or the stability of the roof. Nevertheless, it is a good option for those who would not mind installing these panels. These are just four ways that you can go green by using solar-powered appliances or making additions to your home. There are more ways that you can harness the power of the sun. Do not be afraid to make the switch that will help you save some cash and help the planet
  11. Recycling isn't just about tossing your plastic and glass into a blue bin at the end of the week. There are many different ways to limit the amount of waste that you and your family send to the landfill. A few changes to your daily habits could help you reduce your carbon footprint and protect the environment around you. Put an End to Water Waste A single leaky pipe or running toilet can waste over 200 gallons of water per day. That amount of wasted water will put quite a bit of strain on your local aquifers and other water sources. Homeowners should constantly check their water meters to see if they might have any leaks that are affecting their utility bills. You should also consider updating your plumbing system so that your greywater is reused in your toilets or out on your lawn. Read the Labels on Your Electronics Electronics can be incredibly devastating to the environment when they are not properly disposed of. Many of them contain harsh chemicals and acids that might not decompose for hundreds of years. If you are unsure of what to do with your old electronics, then you should call your local trash company to see if they have a program to recycle old devices. Recycle During Your Larger Projects Quite a bit of waste is created during most home renovations. Before starting your next project, you might want to consider renting a dumpster, such as one from Lakeshore Recycling, instead of leaving piles of debris in your yard or filling up your regular trash bin with potentially hazardous materials. This is especially important if your home is more than a few decades old. Many older homes are filled with toxic materials such as lead and asbestos. Compost Your Food Even though your food products will quickly decompose in a dump, you can actually improve the health of your local plants by composting at home. Compost bins and holes can be filled with a wide variety of leftover materials including egg shells, coffee grounds, bones, fat, and the skin off of fruit. When left for a short period of time, it will turn into a natural fertilizer that is extremely good for your trees, plants, and grass. Those who spend more time learning about the recycling process might find out that they can recycle or reuse many of their everyday items. Not only will that help your local environment, but it will also slow down the rate at which manufacturing plants must continue to use natural resources.
  12. More often than not, pest control methods involve toxic chemicals and other substances harmful to people and the environment. However, this is not the only solution to keeping unwanted pests away from farms and gardens. With some ingenuity and exploitation of nature, there are safe ways to effectively remove pests, and they can actually be quite a bit cheaper as well. Here are four effective methods to try. Prevention One of the easiest ways to avoid pest damage to plants is to prevent them from coming in the first place. In order to create a strong, pest-repellent environment, • Keep soil healthy and rich with nutrients. Try adding compost and mulch • Remove infected, or weak plants. Pests target these plants more often • Keep up with weeding. These are breeding grounds for many insects • Interplant your crops. Pests generally are specific to a plant and this will lessen their impact Traps Another method to get rid of pests is to trap them in the same way you catch mice. For many insects, putting flypaper in your fields or garden is enough to catch a great deal of them. Other traps include using pheromones to attract insects to a sticky substance they get caught in. Barrier paper may also be used to protect seedlings from insects until they are strong enough to resist them. Other Insects Insects, not considered pests, can be introduced into fields and gardens as a natural way to combat these pests. Introducing natural predators can help control and possibly eliminate many garden pests. Ladybugs are a very common option. They attack aphids and mites. A praying mantis is another option, and they will eat most any pest. Non-Toxic Remedies Another safe pest control technique is to spray plants, as you would with pesticides. However, these recipes involve safe, natural ingredients that will not harm your plants or the environment. Depending on the pests, you will need to use different mixtures. Here are some examples: • A mix of vegetable oil and mild soap will kill a variety of insects like aphids and mites • Neem oil, extracted from the neem tree, is another option that kills a broad spectrum on pests • A spray made from a tablespoon of chile powder in a quart of water with mild soap will also kill a broad range of pests These are only a few of the ways to prevent and eliminate pests without using toxic chemicals and pesticides. Whether you have a small garden or a large farm, these techniques can help you control pests in a safe way. When you use quality products from places like Central Farm and Garden on your farm or lawn and garden, you have to protect them in the most safe and efficient ways. Just be sure to take the time to look into a lot of different products so that you can find the best possible options for you.
  13. Your actions will always have a huge impact on the local environment and the world as a whole. That is why it is so important for everyone to continue looking for ways they can become as eco-friendly as possible. Here is a closer look at some of the common ways people are wasteful and what can be done to change those habits. Eating Too Much Meat According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the livestock industry is responsible for 51 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. Even if you are not ready to give up meat completely, you should try to buy local chicken and pork. These animals produce less waste than cows, and they are also easier to transport. Trashing Recyclables Very few people realize just how much of their trash can actually be recycled. Every item that you send to the landfill could sit there for hundreds of years, and that is why you should familiarize yourself with all of the products and materials that can be recycled. Many waste disposal companies, such as Ware Disposal, now offer residential recycling services for products such as laptops, batteries, old smartphones, coffee grounds, egg shells, and rotten produce. Leaving Electronics Plugged In Another common mistake that you might be making is leaving your electronics plugged in even when you are not using them. Just because these devices appear to be turned off does not mean they aren't drawing a current. Attaching all of your electronics to power strips in each room and then turning the strips off whenever you leave the house or go to bed is a great way to get rid of these phantom loads. Leaving the Water On The average family wastes thousands of gallons of clean water every year in their showers, baths, sinks, dishwashers, and washing machines. In addition to installing low-flow fixtures, you should also want to invest in high-efficiency appliances. To conserve even more water, homeowners can inspect their plumbing systems once or twice a year to find any leaks. Not only will this allow you cut back on your water consumption, but you might even lower your utility bills by quite a bit. You will never able to completely eradicate your carbon footprint, but that doesn't mean your efforts are being wasted. Every small change you make for the better will have a lasting impact on the world for generations to come.
  14. Land contamination affects us all in many different ways. The pollution that results from urbanization, industrial activities and waste disposal can have detrimental effects on human health as well as the ecosystem as a whole. Health Hazards Pollution has long been linked to certain health problems in humans, but you may be surprised to learn about some of the less obvious problems that are caused by pollution. The Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics states that the pollution from land that gets into drinking water sources is linked to bladder, kidney and stomach cancers when consumed by humans. Land contamination may also cause you to develop skin and respiratory infections. Diminished Food Supply Contaminants that get into the soil can also prevent certain crops from growing, and this can greatly diminish the food supply. According to Conserve Energy Future, widespread famine may result in areas where massive crops die off because of pollution. Farmers who use hazardous pesticides on their crops may further contribute to this problem. Furthermore, land contamination is known to kill animals before they are able to grow strong and healthy enough to be slaughtered for their meat. Less Suitable Land for Living Heavily contaminated land is unsuitable for humans, and this can make it impossible to develop new communities to accommodate the world’s growing population. The lack of suitable land for development can cause existing urban areas to become overcrowded. An article published by the Daily Mail states that cities with high population densities often experience increased poverty and pollution. To tell whether or not the land you are living on is suitable, make sure to have specialists from a service like Geotech Testing who are capable of giving environmental assessments. What We Can Do The problem of contaminated land may never be fully resolved, but there are things that we can do as a society to reduce some of the effects. Recycling certain household goods is one of the easiest ways to limit the waste that ends up in landfills and negatively impacts the land. Relying on organic farming instead of using methods that involve the use of hazardous pesticides can also reduce land contamination. Using solar energy and other greener energy sources to power homes and businesses is another way to combat this problem. Land contamination can be further lessened by disposing oil and other liquid chemicals safely instead of dumping them down drains or onto the ground. If widespread land contamination is allowed to continue, it could negatively affect many generations to come. Fortunately, there are steps that we can take to limit this problem and build a better society for everyone
  15. As recycling technology has improved over the past decade, it has led to some confusion regarding what can and cannot be recycled. Can you throw plastic bags in the recycling bin? Do you have to wash out jars and bottles before recycling? What about Styrofoam and used paper towels? These tips can help you better understand what is recyclable and what should be tossed into the trash. Plastic Bags Although most recycling facilities have the ability to recycle plastic bags, most prefer that they not be included in a recycling container other than those designed for plastic bags. Bags can wrap around and jam recycling equipment and they can contaminate paper bales, according to some recycling companies. Instead of tossing them into your recycling bin, take them to specialized locations for recycling. Many grocery and department stores now have bins available for plastic bag recycling. Plastic Bottle Caps Although caps and plastic bottles are made from different types of plastic, both are recyclable. Keep the cap on the bottle as a loose cap can slip through the sorting lines at a recycling facility and end up in the trash accidentally. Separated caps are also difficult to spot as the recyclable material is sorted going into the machinery. Styrofoam In most cases, Styrofoam is still not recyclable. Styrofoam, which is actually expanded polystyrene, can be contaminated easily. Since recycling facilities do not deep clean the items they process, dirt can be embedded into the recycling material. Styrofoam is also a petroleum product, making it flammable and difficult to break down. However, some recycling companies do have special Styrofoam recycling technology, so you should check with your recycling center to know if they accept Styrofoam. Although people don’t tend to have a ton of Styrofoam piling up, they are more likely to accumulate a ton of it when they are moving or renovating. This is because it is in the packing supplies or in the boxes of new appliances. If you ever find yourself in this situation and cannot find a place to recycle it, make sure that you get a trash bin from a company like Kingston Skips that specializes in disposing of different types of rubbish so that you can make sure that it is properly taken care of. Pizza Boxes Most people believe that pizza boxes, which often have the recyclable symbol imprinted on them, can be tossed into the recycling bin. However, most programs do not accept pizza boxes due to the food and grease that can accumulate on the box. In fact, most food containers that contain greasy foods are not recyclable, such as Chinese take-out boxes. Because materials are not cleaned at the recycling center, you should rinse food residue from jars and bottles as much as possible. The jar or bottle does not have to be spotless, but most of the food left on the inside should be rinsed. Used napkins and paper towels are not recyclable for the same reasons. Juice and Milk Cartons Although juice and milk cartons are mostly made of paper, they often have a thin coating on the outside. In addition, some juice containers have an aluminum foil lining to keep the juice fresher. Although all three of those items are recyclable, it can be difficult for the center to separate them. Check with your recycling center to be sure that they have the equipment available to separate the different components from juice and milk cartons. Recycling is one of the best ways to protect the environment. By understanding what is and is not recyclable, you will not only make it easier on those who must collect and process recyclable items, you can also make adjustments in your daily life, avoiding those items that are not recyclable in order to reduce landfill waste.