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  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. 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.
  7. With the average person in the United States generating over 4 pounds of trash per day, the importance of recycling should be blatantly clear. The things we discard have long been finding their way into the soil that produces our food, the water we drink, and the air we breathe. Our trash contributes to the break-down of ecosystems and directly kills millions of animals per year. Sadly, the trash itself isn’t the only problem. Not only are we throwing it out in the first place, but we are manufacturing more of the same products that we discard. When we manufacture new glass jars, aluminum cans, or paper, we are cutting down more trees, using more energy, emitting more greenhouse gases, and using more water. What is the answer to this conundrum? Yes, recycling! Start with the no-brainers: aluminum cans, plastic bottles, glass jars, cardboard, newspapers and magazines. Yet, don’t stop there—keep going! Here are 10 things that you should consider recycling the next time you’re faced with the decision of whether or not to throw them out: 1. Mattresses: When you purchase a new mattress, be sure that your retailer participates in a mattress recycling program where they will properly discard your old one. 2. Plastic Cards: For example, gift cards, credit cards and hotel keys. This year’s used up gift card can live again as next year’s gift card. 3. CDs & DVDs: With the ability to stream and download, we don’t really need these any more. That means that so many are getting thrown out. Consider donating them or taking them somewhere that will recycle them properly. 4. Writing Utensils: You can send that cup full of dried up pens, markers, highlighters, mechanical pencils, and even those stray caps for recycling. 5. Packing peanuts: The Styrofoam variety are a big no-no for the landfills, but can be recycled into many different products. 6. Trophies: Your old high school trophies can be made into shiny, new trophies through special programs. 7. Electronic waste: Electronic devices should always be disposed of properly. Ware Disposal and other recycling companies actually specialize in depositing these items safely. 8. Auto fluids: If you change your own fluids, proper disposal is a must. Most automotive stores have a recycling program, and so just make sure that you ask whether or not they have one before you go to them for services. 9. Toothbrushes and razors: These and many other personal care products can be dismantled and recycled so that they don’t pile up in the landfill. 10. Christmas Trees: Most communities have recycling programs that will turn your holiday tree into anything from erosion barriers to fish habitats, which means that things that come from nature can go right back to benefiting the earth again. Most of these ideas are fairly easy to accomplish and really only the beginning to all of what you can do. Doing a quick internet search for recycling centers in your area will get you started, though. A little bit of knowledge and a few extra minutes of your time is all it takes to make a lasting impact on our planet for generations to come.
  8. Green living is finally starting to move from the fringes and into the main stream. More and more people are starting to understand that if we don't make changes, our future generations won't have a planet left to call home. One huge step we can take is to ditch the gas guzzling SUV sitting in the driveway. Here are 4 reasons you should invest in a green family car. Because PZEV Cars Are Good For The Air We Breathe What is PZEV you ask? That stands for Partial Zero-Emissions Vehicle, which means that a car has zero emissions that evaporate from its fuel system. The reason it's considered partial is because it's not utilizing a different technology. These cars are surprisingly easy to find you could even look at the St. George Subaru Dealership in Utah! All you have to do is some research and price checking and you should be able to find the best possible green car for you and your family in no time. Can You Say Tax Incentive You can get money back when you buy a hybrid. According to IRS.gov, you can get as much as $2,000 back when you buy a new clean-fuel car. Don't worry if you've recently bought a green car and didn't take the deduction. The IRS allows you to take the deduction on an amended return. The general rule of thumb is that you can file an amended return up to three years after the original return was filed. You do have to file the longer 1040 Form as opposed to one of the shorter forms, but for $2,000, the longer form is worth it! Green Cars Drive Just Like Conventional Cars Believe it or not, but a green car can go from 0 to 60 just as fast as your gas guzzler. The ride is smooth and the engine is quiet, and no you don't have to plug it in. The design of the car creates a seamless transition between electric and gasoline, so when your electric motor is engaged it acts as a generator that powers the batteries as you drive. Hybrid cars use the same type of gasoline as conventional cars so you don't need to worry about paying more or trying to find a special gas station. Save On Gas With gas prices averaging above $2.00 per gallon, the idea of having to spend more money on gas just to buy a new car is terrifying. With a green car, you can put those fears to rest. Green cars can actually save you money on gas. The fuel efficiency in a hybrid car will allow you to drive more than 600 miles between filling the tank. Of course, every car has a slightly different average miles per gallon rate, but regardless of which green car you choose, you could be looking at a savings of around $700 per year! Any one with kids knows an extra $700 could go a long way. The Environmental Protection Agency created a chart so you can quickly see the MPG's you can expect and compare the potential savings. Whether your goal is to live a completely green life, or you just want to get the best car you can for your family, a green car is where it's at. The expense for a green car is comparable to a conventional car, the gas mileage is tremendously better and the benefit to the environment is undeniable. By 2025, all cars sold in America will have the PZEV technology in keeping with the EPA's vehicle emissions and fuel standards program. This is proof that the green technology is not just a passing phase, it's the future.
  9. Having mature trees on your property can increase the value of your home by as much as 10 percent, but they also create a number of unique risks. A falling branch or uprooted tree might cause thousands of dollars in damage in the blink of an eye, and your insurance is not necessarily required to cover the repairs. Here are some tips for keeping your trees healthy as well as a look at a few signs that it might be time to remove a tree. Identify Your Trees Correctly identifying all of the trees on your property is one of the most important steps in this process. Once you know what type of trees you have, then you will know how to properly care for them and what they look like when damaged. Most trees can easily be identified with a few key features such as their leaves, bark, fruit, flowers, cones, and general size. Schedule Extermination Services Extermination services aren't just about keeping bugs out of the inside of your home. Certain species such as termites, carpenter ants, and bark beetles will wreak havoc on your trees and the rest of the plants on your property. Within just a few months, these insects can damage and weaken your trees to the point that they must be removed entirely. Regularly Check for Visible Damage As a general rule, families should regularly inspect any trees that are within close proximity to their home at least a few times a year. During these inspections, you should be trying to find clear signs of damage such as cracked limbs, holes from insects, leaning trunks, and roots being pulled out of the ground. Discolored bark and leaves are two signs that your trees might be infected with a disease. Also, if any branches are hanging too close to the roof of your home, then that is a clear sign that your tree needs some pruning done. Consult With an Arborist A professional arborist, like those at Smitty’s Tree Service Inc, can certainly trim and prune trees, but that is not all that they do. These specialists can help with issues such as stabilizing trunks, identifying signs of disease, and relocating trees when necessary. Just as with many other maintenance projects around your home, it is a good idea to schedule preventative services well before any major damage occurs. Arborists can also fertilize your trees so they continue to thrive for years to come. Homeowners are responsible for the safety of all family members and guests on their property, and that is why it is so important to keep a close eye on any trees that could create a dangerous situation or expensive damage.
  10. Taking care of a home can be expensive. Help cut your home's maintenance costs with these 7 tips to make your home more energy efficient. Decrease Water Heater Temperature It may be necessary to crank your water heater temperature up during the winter, but during the summer, you may notice you can get by with a much lower hot water temperature. Experiment with lower temperatures and see what is comfortable for you while still saving you a little money. You may not be able to tell the difference, and it'll be a big savings on your power bill. Replace or Caulk Old Windows Old windows can be a frequent cause of increased utility bills. Gaps and cracks can let air conditioning out, and let cold winter breezes in. Put caulk adhesive in the cracks to seal up what you can. You could also consider replacing your old windows with new, energy efficient windows. There are many different styles of windows to choose from, like bay windows, casement windows, and awning windows. If you're replacing windows, you might as well choose a window style that will increase the value of your home. New windows can take years off of a home, and can brighten and refresh your curb appeal. Hire a realtor and figure out how much new windows will affect the value of your home. Realtors are experts in determining home improvement projects that produce high returns for sellers. Consider hiring a realtor to help you determine if new windows could improve the value of your home. Change Air Filters Regularly Make sure you are buying air filters for your HVAC unit that are properly sized, and that you're changing them frequently. Leaving dirty filters in place can put a strain on your HVAC unit, and cause more expense in the future. Invest in a Programmable Thermostat Don't pay money to heat or cool your home when nobody's there. Invest in a programmable thermostat that can adjust the temperatures based on the time of day. Set the thermostat to bump the heater down a few degrees when you know you'll be gone, and have it turn back up before you get home. Increase the Insulation in Your Attic In a lot of homes, there is blown-in insulation in the attic space of your home. Over time, this can get compacted, and lose some of its R-value. Blow more insulation into your attic to help your home maintain your desired temperature. Buy Energy Efficient Appliances Modern appliances are required by the government to operate within certain parameters, which use considerably less water and power than appliances built even just a few years ago. Consider replacing one of your older appliances with a newer one. Shop around, comparing the yellow utility usage tags to be sure you get the most efficient one available. Use Power Efficiently Pay attention to your power usage, especially during peak months. Turn off lights, and unplug items you're not using. Many things use power even when you don't think they are. A good way to identify how many items are using power is to look around at night and see how many glowing lights you see. These items are still using power even in the middle of the night. Unplug items that are unnecessary. Keeping a home maintained can be an expensive and costly prospect. There are many easy ways to keep your home using energy more efficiently. The experts from Statewide Energy Solutions suggest replacing old windows, radiant barriers, AC & Duct Sealing, sealing plugs, light switches, doors, and plumbing and pipe entrances. Following the tips discussed can keep your energy costs down and help make your home more environmentally friendly and energy efficient.
  11. Many Americans might have long assumed that as the richest country in the world, at least measured in terms of private wealth, the United States also has the best drinking water. While the Flint water crisis may have disabused many of that notion, it still seems reasonable to assume that most municipalities have good drinking water. However, there are other countries with water that may be superior. Switzerland The tap water in Switzerland is so good that it is considered to be superior to the mineral water sold in the country. This makes sense; after all, Switzerland is a land of mountains, and mountain streams are often associated with pure water. While it can be safe to drink directly from some of these natural water sources in Switzerland, it is the strict regulations around drinking water in the country that have led to its superior quality. Canada A town in British Columbia has won the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting competition multiple times, and water throughout the country is of a high quality. In Toronto, the drinking water is tested every four hours, and the water is high quality throughout the country. In the US, the responsibility of testing water is often up to individual citizens to contact services, like Johnson Water Conditioning, that analyze water to help better it. Of course, your own municipality may have its water treated and tested, but they are probably not as vigilant as Toronto and that’s why many need to seek out such services themselves. New Zealand The tap water in Auckland, New Zealand's capital city, is so safe that it can often be used in place of distilled water. Throughout the country, regulations are high. There is little water pollution throughout the country, and some of the aquifers are so deep in the ground that the resultant water does not need to be treated. Austria Like Switzerland, Austria has high mountains and many pristine bodies of water. The water in Vienna comes directly from areas in the Alps with no industry and a very low population. Throughout Austria, the water is high quality and tastes delicious. Luxembourg Around 66 percent of the tap water in Luxembourg comes from underground aquifers, and this means high-quality water. Luxembourg also has very strict standards around its pumping stations and in the areas where the water travels to those stations underground. Providing fresh water for an entire country is a huge undertaking, and any country might run into a contamination problem under the right circumstances. For example, Auckland had to treat its water after a major earthquake. But starting with a good supply of clean water and having strict regulations in place along with high-quality technology are all important in providing the best water in the world to citizens and visitors.
  12. Learning earth-friendly habits at a young age can set your kids up for a lifetime of environmental awareness and a healthy mindset. As a parent you help your kids understand the world around them, and teaching them to care for it and to be considerate of their surroundings is a great way to help them in their future. Help them understand the concept of earth-friendly habits using these activities and other ideas. Go Camping Instill a love of nature in your kids by going camping on a regular basis. Maybe you encourage scouting trips or go as a family every summer. During your camping trips, talk about how litter and garbage can make plants and animals sick, and how to build fires by only using dead, fallen wood. This is a great opportunity to explore wildlife, talk about taking care of nature, and living green. Visit a Recycling Center Take your kids on a field trip to your local Main Street Fibers recycling center. Teach them about recycling and how it helps the Earth stay healthy. After your trip, go home and show them how to sort recyclables and discuss reducing, reusing and recycling. Make Recycled Art Show your kids that reusing materials can be a great way to help the environment, and a wonderful way to create artwork or new useful containers. There are many art projects that can be created using plastic shopping bags, string, wire coat hangers, and more. Your kids will have a blast, and will learn about reusing materials to keep them out of landfills. Plant a Garden Give your kid a spot in your backyard, or a window planter where they can grow their own plants. Talk with them about how plants help produce clean oxygen, and how planting an organic garden can help plants stay healthy and happy. Giving them their own spot in the garden and making it their responsibility not only teaches them a useful skill, it can also help them learn to love taking care of the Earth. Praise them for jobs well done, and your kids will learn to love the sense of accomplishment they get with each new vegetable or herb. Adopt a Public Place Find a park or other public land that is victim to a lot of litter. Make this place your family's spot to go and clean up together. Your kids will have fun taking care of a public place, and they will develop a passion against litter and harmful dumping. Teaching your kids Earth-friendly habits now can help them see the importance of taking care of the Earth in which we live. Use these great activities to help your kids understand the value of their contributions to the health of the Earth, and that living green can really make a difference.
  13. You don't need to make the biggest adjustments to your life or even spend a lot of money to live a greener lifestyle. There are tons of little and simple things that you and your family can do for cheap or even for free. It really is amazing how much of a difference just your family can make when it comes to saving the environment. Here are six simple ways you and your family can contribute to a healthier environment. Bring Your Own Grocery Bags Many grocery stores bag your items in either plastic or paper bags, which are not the best options for saving the environment. Bringing your own reusable grocery bags is a much better choice, especially since some retailers pay you for every plastic bag you don't use. This may seem like such a simple little thing, but it can really be worthwhile. Brewing Morning Coffee If you and other members of your family like to drink coffee in the morning, make sure you're buying brands with a USDA Organic certified label, for this ensures that it was grown with natural substances and by sustainable standards. Not only is this good for the environment, but it can be good for you too! It is definitely worth a try! Unplug Devices You Aren't Using Electronics like your fully charged laptop, printer, the kids' video game consoles, and the TV should truly be turned off when not in use. If they are plugged into a power strip, the whole group of devices can be switched off during the evening so you can prevent electricity still being drawn through them. This can really help save you a lot of energy and a lot of money. Avoid Plastic Bottles, Invest in a Water Filter Plastic bottles are one of the biggest threats towards our ecosystem, especially in our oceans. Instead of spending money on packs of water bottles, consider investing in a water filter for your home which in turn can save you hundreds of dollars and reduce the use of plastic. Here's an Idea, Switch to Energy-Saving Lightbulbs Standard bulbs can suck up a lot of energy making your electricity bills horrendous. Energy-Star rated CFL lightbulbs use 75% less energy so they last up to 10 times longer than regular bulbs. You'll surely see a reduction in your electricity bill and your wallet will thank you. Water Saving Shower Heads and Less Shower Time Certain showerheads come with a water flow reducing switch which is ideal for the environment particularly if you have members of your household who like to take long showers. To avoid high water bills, consider implementing a shower time limit where each member should try only showering for 5-10 minutes, also turning off the water when they are applying body wash or shaving. How Can You Start? A common first step to families living greener is recycling, and with the help of services like Main Street Fibers, you’ll be on your road to recycling in no time! There are tons of great companies and resources out there for you to help you and your family figure out the best possible green living plan for you. This is definitely not something that has to be a lot of work or super overwhelming. If you do your research and utilize the right resources you should be able to really start making a difference in no time.
  14. Composting is the perfect way to replenish your garden with natural minerals and nutrients. It allows you to not only give back to the Earth, but to fertilize your garden without adding all those harmful chemicals. Here are some tips to help you get started. What Not To Compost What you don’t add to your compost pile is just as important as what you should add. One of the biggest things you want to avoid placing into your compost pile are fruit peels. Orange peels, banana peels, and peach peels may contain pesticides. Because it can be difficult to tell if any pesticides are on them, you should leave them out of your compost pile. Additionally, you want to avoid any meat, bones, or fish. These can attract pests and cause your compost to smell. Green Material When composting, you need a balance of green and brown material. Green material consists of grass clippings, table scraps, and manure. The nitrogen you need for your compost is found in the green material. If you do choose to add grass clippings to your compost pile, it is important you make sure there are no chemicals on the grass clippings. This can cause your plants to become diseased. Brown Material Just as you need green material in your compost, you also need brown material. Brown materials often include paper products, straw, wood chips, ash, and hay. Make sure there is no ink on your paper products when placing them into your compost pile. Brown materials are important because they contain carbon and make the soil more nutrient rich. Healthy Balance Now that you know what types of products and materials can be composted, it is important to understand the mixture of these two. Because all products decompose at a different rate, you want to make sure you have an even weight of brown materials and green materials. While storing your compost, you want to keep the green materials on the bottom and a layer of brown material on the top to keep the flies and insects away. It also helps control the odor surrounding the compost. You can also visit your local Central Farm and Garden store to get some soil to help mix in with your compost if needed. As the landfills fill up with recyclable materials, it is important to do your part in making the environment better. As you do this, you are also helping to condition your soil and help your plants grow healthier.
  15. It may surprise many business owners that there are many simple tips they can use to get a company on a greener track. Usually, the impetus to consider going green occurs when there is proof that eco-friendly methods are also more economically advantageous. The first step to get your company looking a little greener is to start with a plan and to learn your most local resources for basic assistance and information to make your plan more efficient and cost-effective. Tips to a Greener Track You probably already think about how much waste comes out of your company. Disposing of waste may incur unnecessary costs and is a huge burden for some types of industries. It is important to begin your plan by studying where, when, and how waste occurs within your company. For example in small offices, paper waste is usually a major source of unnecessary costs. This can be avoided by redesigning the office system so that less paper is used. This will also provide the added benefit of less problems with paper dust and paper mites. Look at how much food waste comes out of company provided lunches and see if a potluck or different catering service might be a better option. Saving Energy With the numerous advancements in using more modern energy, all businesses need to rethink their energy use. In a business with minimal hours of operation, install a programmable thermostat to save on the cost of energy and by association, contribute to a greener environment. Spend time reviewing energy upgrades from your local energy company. This offers a greener solution and lowers your energy costs. Companies like Lumo Energy can help you compare different electricity and gas packages so you’ll know if you really are saving money. Simple Tips for a Greener Track In most cases, businesses can encourage their employees to choose the newest, greenest products for home and business use. Purchase recycled paper and paper products like recycled coffee filters for business coffee makers. Use recycled paper towels and toilet tissue in company bathrooms. Opt for liquid soap made from natural ingredients rather than synthetics. There are many other small tips you can use as well so research well to see what work for your business. Recycling Recycling is a major step forward to put your company on a greener track. Many items in companies today are recyclable. This includes plastics, glass, aluminum, and colored and printed materials. Create a regular schedule of recycling for your company by engaging the services of a local recycling facility. Most of these facilities offer pickup services. The fastest way to implement a recycling program in your company is to provide recycling receptacles that are readily accessible at various locations within the building. Employees quickly adapt to recycling programs in your company when they have quick access for disposal of the most frequently used items. Helping your company go green really doesn’t have to be a huge paradigm shift, or even very expensive. Simply use what you have and the local resources available to make better overall choices and make more energy saving possible.