We all have to start doing our part for the planet somewhere and what better place to get going than with some simple suggestions from organizations like the National Recycling Coalition, The Conservation Fund and other bright lights in the sustainability movement.
Be Energy Smart
tips provided by the Alliance to Save Energy
- Turn off your lights when they're not in use.
- Use compact fluorescent light bulbs.
- Cut cooling costs by as much as 30 percent with high-performance ENERGY STAR windows.
- Close blinds or shades on the south- and west-facing windows during the day, or install shading devices such as trellises or awnings to avoid heat build-up.
- Tune-up of your heating and cooling system each year to improve efficiency and comfort.
- Clean or replace filters monthly or as needed.
- Seal your heating and cooling ducts and improve the efficiency of your cooling system by as much as 20 percent.
- Cut your air conditioning load and reduce pollution by planting leafy trees around your home and installing reflective tiles on your roof.
- Install a programmable thermostat and cut summer AC bills by about 10 percent.
- Seal up your home and install the proper amount of insulation.
Learn more at www.alliancetosaveenergy.org
Reuse and Recycle
tips provided by the National Recycling Coalition
- Rinsing cans and keeping boxes out of the weather makes them easier to process (keeps costs down).
- Take it upon yourself to be an accurate recycler. A cereal box is probably great, but a greasy pizza box may not be. Maybe milk jugs are good, but not the caps. Check the lid of your recycling bin for guidelines, or make a call or visit your municipal Web site to find out the rules. Then, follow them.
- Steel cans, aluminum cans, newspapers, magazines, catalogs, junk mail, plastic beverage bottles, milk jugs, glass bottles and jars, cereal boxes, other clean and dry cardboard boxes.
- Recycle your old computers and cell phones. Check out Dell, Staples, and Waste Management/Recycle America websites for information on how you can recycle these items.
- Household hazardous wastes like paint cans, motor oil, antifreeze, car batteries, pesticides, pool chemicals, etc., usually need to be disposed of separately. Again, check your community resources and guidelines.
Learn more at www.nrc-recycle.org
Offset Energy You Can't Reduce
tips provided by the Conservation Fund
- Calculate your carbon footprint: and then "zero it out" atwww.conservationfund.org/gozero
- Decrease your carbon footprint whenever possible:
- Walk, bike, carpool, use mass transit, when possible.
- Check your car's tire pressure regularly; it will get better gas mileage when the tires are fully inflated.
- Plant a Tree for Me: The next time you make a purchase on www.Dell.com, you can help address two of our planet's most pressing environmental challenges: habitat loss and climate change.
Learn more at www.conservationfund.org
Reduce Your Impact on Endangered Forests
tips provided by Forest Ethics
- Believe it or not, paper and wood are still being made fromendangered forests. Avoid such products by using less paper and wood, and by buying products that are post-consumer recycled and/or from Forest Stewardship Council certified forests.
- Businesses can provide guidance to their employees and suppliers by adopting a sustainable wood and paper procurement policy.
- Climate changes also threatens forest ecosystems—and deforestation and other logging contribute roughly 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions. You can help by reducing your carbon footprint and supporting more effective climate policies.
- Consumers should also contact www.CatalogChoice.organd www.GreenDimes.com to avoid unwanted junk mail.
Learn more at www.forestethics.org