This Thursday is St. Patrick’s Day – a day to celebrate Irish pride, eat a boiled dinner, have a drink with friends and – of course – wear green!
This year we would like to take the wearing of the green a step further and go green. If we all make small changes the overall result will be a big difference.
Here are a few simple adjustments that are easy to make, and quickly make an impact on the health of the environment:
1. Rid your home of energy vampires. Unplugging unused electronics (think of cell phone chargers, ‘sleeping’ computers, LCD monitors, printers, etc…) can save you 10% on your monthly electric bill!
2. Compost your uneaten food. In the US we waste up to 40% of our food supply every year (that’s about 20 pounds of food per person per month!). Help cut down on this waste by composting food scraps at home.Composting not only reduces landfill waste, but it is also good for your yard and garden!
3. Be sure to recycle at home.The national recycling rate is only 30%. By joining in the effort you’ll save money, reduce landfill waste and help save natural resources.
4. Bring your own mug to get your morning (or afternoon!) coffee. This will reduce waste…and most coffee shops will offer a discounted rate for using your own mug!
5. While you are at it, bring a reusable tote (or totes) when you go out shopping. Plastic bags are everywhere – and they are also very bad for the environment. They can take between 400-1000 years to break down and nearly 90% of the trash found in the Earth’s oceans are made of plastic.
6. Pay your bills online. Cutting down on snail-mail is an easy way to go greener. Plus, once you make the switch you’ll find it to be easier!
7. Plant your own herbs. Potted herbs can add a beautiful look (and smell!) to your garden while saving you money on groceries and reducing your impact on the environment! Also, buy from local farmers when you can – this helps to support the local economy, will give you access to fresher produce and will reduce the environmental impact of buying produce that needs to be shipped to your local supermarket.
8. Turn off the tap. Always turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth. This can save up to 5 gallons of water per person each day!
9. Wrap up your water heater. Insulating your home’s water heater can save you up to 10% of it’s operating costs. While you are at it, set it to a max temperature of 120 degrees – this will add to the savings while reducing your carbon footprint!
10. Walk when you can, carpool if possible. And don’t speed – this will not only increase your risk of an accident, it increases your vehicle’s emissions.