I’ve been thinking about some easy ways to go green for 2009. Not that I want the easy way out but it’s a change in routine and I figure baby steps will get me to my goal without getting myself overwhelmed. Just a few thoughts that come to mind…
1. Use reusable shopping bags. I know they have a few varieties at Trader Joes, including an insulated one. Keep them in my car and remember to carry them with me into the grocery stores.
2. Cut back on the driving – walk or bike more, consolidate trips and errands so that you can drive less, and investigate telecommuting and public transportation opportunities – even carpooling or taking public transportation one day a week can make a difference. I carpooled this last summer for a while from Carson to Reno, it saved a lot on gas (and that was when it was over $4) and I made some new friends!
3. Drive smarter to help reduce the amount of fuel that you use when you do drive. Proper maintenance on your car can make driving safe, use less fuel, and make your car last longer. So I guess that means cleaning my trunk which is full to the brim with boxes of books.
4. Replace old appliances with more energy efficient ones, including Energy Star certified appliances. OK, this one is not necessarily budget friendly, but it’s on the to-do list!
5. Buy locally grown and organic produce – look for local farmer’s markets and stands, organic sections in your grocery store, locally grown produce signs and labels, and natural food and coop stores in your area. You’ll eat healthier plus you’ll benefit your local economy with food choices from local growers.
6. Recycle – learn about local recycling programs. You can find local recycling centers in the United States at Earth911.com. Most neighborhoods in the Reno/Carson/Tahoe area offer recycling with your Waste Management.
7. Donate unused and reusable items to your local thrift shops or other places that can use them. Give others the chance to use those clothes that no longer fit you, those toys your children no longer play with, those strollers and cribs that you no longer need, those books that you’ve read and won’t look at again, and many other items around your house that you may have stored away and won’t use again. Yikes, I guess I have to attack my garage.
8. Get informed about, and use recycled paper products for your home and for your office. Dickson has committed to using only recycled paper products in all of its offices.
9. Use green and non-toxic cleaners for your house, your clothes, and your car.
10. Learn about and participate in community conservation and cleanup projects. Check out your city sites: Reno, Sparks, Carson City, South Lake, North Lake, Truckee.
11. Adopt a park or outdoor place to keep clean.
12. Start a garden, even if its just growing your own herbs for your apartment, and learn how to compost. Find out if you city has a community garden.
13. Insulate your home hot water heater – save money and energy.
14. Fix leaky water fixtures and investigate low flow toilets and showerheads.
15. Replace water system filters your home as recommended. The water pressure in your home will be stronger, and the water you drink will be safer.
16. Replace light bulbs with more energy efficient and longer lasting bulbs such as compact fluorescent light bulbs or LED light bulbs. And learn how to properly dispose of them.
17. Stop receiving junk mail using a free service like Catalog Choice, and paid services such as Green Dimes or 41pounds.org.
18. Use less water. You can do things like take shorter showers, turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth, and watch how much water you use when washing dishes, but you might want to measure your water footprint first. And read this CNN article on Measuring your Water Footprint to learn why this is so important.
19. Conduct a home energy audit
20. Calculate your Carbon footprint.
21. Unplug or use power strips that can be turned off for appliances and electronic devices such as computers, chargers, printers, televisions, cable set top boxes, microwave ovens, and coffee makers, to avoid energy vampires.
22. Learn about local, regional, national, and global environmental issues, and participate through donations, advocacy, volunteer efforts, and employment.
Any others that you would suggest?