Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day Tips

As a self-pronounced and very proud tree hugger, I'd be remiss if I didn't send out some new tips on how to save the planet on this Earth Day. I hope all my friends and readers will take to heart what you can do to help reduce your carbon footprint - if all of us make small changes, it could add up to a great deal of difference!!! Please consider some of these things for the sake of our kids and their kids.

Love, Mer


Our daily activities have far reaching impacts on the environment ~ just driving to work today contributed to air pollution. We need the conveniences of our lives, but with them comes a responsibility to use our resources wisely. Make a commitment to make difference every day. Every person has an impact on the environment. The following lists some simple ways YOU can help change the world.


• Landfill space is running out fast – What can you do? Practice the 3 R’s: Reduce, Recycle and Reuse

• It takes 12 million barrels of oil, and 14 million trees, to make all the paper and plastic bags Americans go through each years. Next time you shop, take reusable cloth bags or bring plastic or paper bags back to the store with you.

• Choose products that feature reduced or recyclable packaging.

• Do you consistently throw away food leftovers? Up to 30% of landfill waste is food waste! Start your own composting effort for food waste, grass clippings, etc. You’ll reduce waste & get some great fertilizer for your plants.

• Avoid disposable products – they are generally more expensive and produce much more waste.

• Use pesticides and fertilizers carefully. Apply in the recommended amounts – more is not necessarily better. Read labels and buy biodegradable when possible. Follow disposal instructions.

• Except for medicines and certain pesticides, if you end up with more product than you need, give what is left over to someone who can use it – in the original container with the label intact – rather than throwing it out (Many schools & clubs may appreciate extra paint, etc.)

• Avoid buying unnecessary household hazardous waste (many of the product you use contain hazardous chemicals, for example, nail polish remover may contain acetone). Consider how you will dispose of unused portions before you buy. Check the container labels for disposal information or take it to a Household Hazardous Waste Center rather than putting it in the trash or dumping it down the drain.
• Make sure to keep your car in good running condition to reduce hazardous air emissions and save fuel.

• Plan your trips to maximize the number of errands completed.

• Pump up the tires. This improves gas mileage and reduces emissions. If all American drivers kept their tires at the recommended pressure, we could save about 4 million gallons of gas a day (and the tires would last a lot longer too).

• Walk, jog or ride a bike when commuting short distances; Carpool or use public transportation whenever possible.

• Substitute less toxic materials where possible; a mixture of vinegar & water make a great (& cheap) glass cleaner.

• Repair leaky faucets and pipes. Leaky faucets that drip at the rate of one drop per second can waste up to 2,700 gallons of water each year! Install flow control devices on faucets and showerheads to reduce water consumption.

• Caulk and weather-strip windows and doors to minimize drafts and keep your fireplace damper closed when not in use – Dad was right – no point in heating the outside air.
• Turn off the water while brushing you teeth or shaving - you can save up to 20 gallons of water.

• Sweep patios and driveways with a broom rather than hosing them off with water – not only will you save water, but can get some exercise too.

• Leave grass clippings lay – they will provide nutrients for your lawn and help reduce evaporation of moisture.

• Remember materials you put on your lawn can end up in water sources through stormwater runoff. Read product labels, use biodegradable when possible and avoid using copper sulfate based products.

• Unplug TVs, DVD players, computers and other major electronics when they’re not in use. Even when they’re turned off, the standby consumption is about equal to running a light bulb continuously. This could keep thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide out of the air each year. Plug several electronic items onto one power strip to avoid the hassle of constantly plugging and unplugging.

• Break the bottle habit. Making and even recycling plastic water bottles uses energy and releases pollution, and every year millions of them wind up in landfills and in waterways (as the bottles degrade they release toxic chemicals into the water). Use refillable containers. Did you know that about a quarter of bottled water actually comers from the tap?

• Reduce the amount of junk mail to be thrown out by requesting to be removed from mailing lists.

• Donate usable furniture, appliances, clothes and books to charities or others who can use them.


• Practice good housekeeping.

• Save a Tree – use double-sided copies, email or route items rather than making a copy for everyone. RECYCLE!! There are paper recycling bins located in the mailrooms and throughout the buildings.

• Purchase only the amount of products you need – Just in Time (JIT) ordering minimizes waste. The cost of disposing of unused chemical costs much more than you save buying in bulk.

• Substitute less toxic materials where possible to reduce the safety risk and the amount of hazardous waste to be disposed.

• Never evaporate chemicals in the fume hood. Unless you are transferring chemical from one container to another, KEEP THE LID CLOSED.

• You can reduce lighting expenses by 10 to 40% by lighting office space only when it is in use. Turn off lights when you leave conference rooms and if you are going to be away from your desk for more than 15 minutes.

• Turn off your computer on weekends

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