Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Honest to goodness useful Earth Friendly Tips

In our household, we have been taking steps for quite awhile now to be more earth friendly. Since today is Earth Day I thought I would share some "Earth friendly" tips that I came across and that you might be able to use.
  1. Use water and white vinegar to wash your vegetables and produce. A few squirts will get rid of the nasty stuff (like pesticide residue) that you don't want. Not buying store-bought washes means that you don't have to recycle the bottles they come in (not to mention the energy and materials needed to make and ship them in the first place). Of course, you'll still need to buy bottles of vinegar, but you'll buy fewer of them. Mix water to white vinegar 3:1 in a spray bottle (if you've already got a bottle of the premade stuff, use it up and reuse the sprayer). Rinse with water after you spray.
  2. Try the Eco-friendly equivalent of your regular cleaner and reduce the amount of toxic chemicals released into our waterways. Here's a list of a few you might try on the Ideal Bite website. For more information on the hazards of chemicals in cleaners and make your own alternatives, check out the Worldwatch Institute website.
  3. Install compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) when your older incandescent bulbs burn out. Buy household items, like detergent and cleaning supplies, in concentrated forms so that you get more product per package.
  4. Unplug appliances when you're not using them. Or, use a "smart" power strip that senses when appliances are off and cuts "phantom" or "vampire" energy use.
  5. Make sure you have a faucet aerator on each faucet. These inexpensive appliances conserve heat and water, while keeping water pressure high.
  6. Use a water filter to purify tap water instead of buying bottled water. Not only is bottled water expensive, but it generates large amounts of container waste. I recently purchased a PUR water pitcher dispenses flavoring into the filtered water and now even my kids come in and grab a glass of water.
  7. Borrow from libraries instead of buying personal books and movies. This saves money, not to mention the ink and paper that goes into printing new books.
  8. Buy your produce locally. Not only are you supporting your local farmers but reducing the gas emissions that are produced by the trucks who haul these. We joined a CSA this year and it has been a wonderful experience. Not only are we trying vegetables that we might never have tried, we are helping support our local farmers.
  9. Use reusable containers rather than plastic bags to pack lunches and store foods. Also try reusable sandwich wraps such as those by Kids Konserve.
  10. Take reusable bags with you to the store rather than using plastic or paper. The bags from Envirosax are not only Eco-friendly but Tres Chic.
  11. And perhaps the most obvious (so why doesn't everyone do it?) is to RECYCLE. The average person creates 4.5 pounds of trash per day. Think how much is going into the landfills if you are not re-cycling. For more information on recycling check out

Happy Earth Day!