Going Green! Tips
Adjust your thermostat. Set your thermostat a degree higher for air-conditioning and a degree lower for heating. You could save $100 per year on your utility bill. Keep adjusting and you’ll save even more. If everyone in America turned the dial, we could save more than $10 billion per year on energy costs, enough to provide a year’s worth of gasoline, electricity and natural gas to every person in Iowa (the green book, The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen).
Install programmable thermostats for your heating and cooling systems. A programmable thermostat can save you about $100 every year in energy costs. (www.energystar.gov)
Plant trees to shade the west and east sides of your home. You could save more than 20 percent on your air-conditioning bill per year by planting two twenty-five foot shade trees on the west and one on the east side of your home. If shade trees were planted around just 25 percent of dwellings with air-conditioning, the energy savings would be enough to shut down three coal-fired power plants. (www.lowimpactdevelopment.org)
Plant a Tree. A single tree will absorb one ton of carbon dioxide over its lifetime. (repoweramerica.org)
Replace weather-stripping around windows and doors. Test windows and doors to see if they need new weather-stripping by lighting a candle and moving it around the perimeter of the window or door. If the flame flickers, you need to install new weather-stripping. Don't put the candle near curtains or blinds though. (National Wildlife Federation)
Set your refrigerator to 40º F and freezer to 5º F. (www.energystar.gov)
Fix the leaky faucet. A faucet that drips once each second can waste 10 gallons of water a day.
Lightbulbs. Dust your light bulbs and change them to compact fluorescent when the original bulbs burn out. You can save $35 annually if you replace just four standard incandescent lamps with compact fluorescent lamps which use 66 percent less energy. If every American home changed out just five regular light fixtures or the bulbs in them with more energy-efficient compact fluorescent ones, we’d keep more than one trillion pounds of greenhouse gases out of our air – equal to the emissions of eight million cars. That’s $6 billion in energy savings for Americans. (www.energystar.gov)
Shades and drapes. Close the curtains when it’s sunny in the summer. In the winter, leave curtains open during the day to let sunlight in and close them at night. You could reduce your energy needs by up to 25 percent. If every house in America kept the curtains closed for additional insulation, the total energy saved annually would be as much as the entire nation of Japan uses in a year. (www.eia.gov)
Washers. Set warm wash and cold rinse cycles, and save 90 percent over the energy used when machine washing in hot water only. Together, all U.S. households could save the energy equivalent of 100,000 barrels of oil a day by switching from hot-hot to warm-cold cycles. (the green book, The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen)
Water Heaters. Wrap your water heater in an insulating blanket to store heat. Then set the thermostat no higher than 120 degrees to conserve energy. (the green book, The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen)
Unplug your TV when it’s not in use. You’ll save money and energy. Between 10 and 15 percent of a TV’s energy is still used when it’s powered “off.” TV use accounts for more than 10 percent of household electricity bills. (the green book, The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen)
Unplug your power. Ten percent of the electricity used in your home is from communication devices and appliances – when they are turned off. If every household just unplugged its computers and cell phone chargers when they were not being used, collectively we’d save $100 million! (the green book, The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen)
Clean for under a buck. Did you know that you can clean most of your house with a non-toxic cleaner that usually costs less than a dollar? That magic bullet is baking soda. A little water and baking soda makes a terrific cleaning paste for tubs, sinks, stoves, and other surfaces. Its whitening effect is great for cleaning grout. Add a handful to your whites in the wash for brighter clothes. (www.disney.com)
All purpose cleaner
1 quart warm water
1 teaspoon liquid soap
1 teaspoon borax
¼ cup undiluted white vinegar
Mix ingredients and store in a spray bottle.
Use for cleaning countertops, floors, walls, carpets, and upholstery.
…in the kitchen
Buy local. It's fresher: Produce shipped from outside the country travels up to two weeks before it arrives in grocery stores. Plus it takes four to 17 times less oil to produce local food compared to nonlocal. Local farmers’ markets: Find details here
- Canton Farmer’s Market
- Jackson Township Farmer’s Market
- Massillon Farmer’s Market
- Maize Valley Market (Hartville)
- Canal Fulton Farmers’ Market
- Alliance Famers’ Market Saturday
- Tuscawaras Valley Family Farm Market
Use cloth napkins. Americans use an average of 2,200 paper napkins per person per year. It's actually cheaper to throw cloth napkins in the wash than to buy paper ones. (www.green-networld.com/tips/paper.htm)
Use the microwave instead of an oven. Microwaves are between 3.5 and 4.8 times more energy efficient than traditional electric ovens. If it cost 10 cents to cook one item in a microwave, it would cost 48 cents to cook the same item in a standard oven. (www.energyhawk.com)
Keep condenser coils clean on the back of your refrigerator. Gently wipe and vacuum them once a year. Many fridges have a removable panel around the coils. Keep the back of the fridge at least four inches from the wall. (National Wildlife Federation)
… in the bathroom
Turn off water while brushing. Turning off the water between rinses can save at least two gallons in one brushing session. (www.epa.gov)
Take a shorter shower. Every two minutes you save on your shower can conserve more than 10 gallons of water. That can add up: If everyone in the country saved just one gallon from their daily shower, over the course of a year it would equal twice the amount of freshwater withdrawn from the Great Lakes every day. (www.epa.gov)
Use a water-efficient showerhead. If your shower fills a one-gallon bucket in less than 20 seconds, replace the showerhead with a water-efficient model. Water-efficient, low flow shower heads are inexpensive, easy to install, and can save you up to 750 gallons a month. (www.wateruseitwisely.com)
Don't trash your meds. When we flush meds down drains or send them to landfills, they make their way into rivers and even drinking water. Take unused meds to your next pharmacy visit.
… in the office
Pay bills online. It's usually free, and you'll never miss another payment. If all U.S. households viewed and paid bills electronically, we'd save 18.5 million trees and 15.8 billion gallons of water per year. Plus, save up to $148 per year on stamps. (www.bai.org)
Stop junk mail. It consumes more energy than 2.8 million cars every year and uses 100 million trees annually. Americans waste about eight hours per year dealing with junk mail. (https://www.catalogchoice.org)
Zap phantom loads. 40% of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while they're turned off. Plug devices into power strips and switch off each night.
Don’t take the ATM receipt. ATM receipts are one of the top sources of litter on the planet. If everyone in the United States left their receipt in the machine, it would save a roll of paper more than two billion feet long, or enough to circle the equator fifteen times. (the green book, The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen)
Request automatic deposits for your paychecks. Not only will you get your money faster, but you’ll reduce the time and fuel you spend to go to the bank. More than seven billion checks are written annually that could be replaced by automated deposits. (www.nacha.org)
Double-side your copies. Whether printing or copying, use both sides of a piece of paper. If just one in four office workers made all of their copies double sided, the annual savings would equal 130 billion sheets of paper – a stack thicker than the diameter of the earth! (the green book, The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen)
At the store
Buy recycled products. The recycling loop isn’t complete until the materials collected at curbside and drop-off sites are remanufactured into new products and purchased by consumers. The fewer “virgin” resources that go into products, the better.
Avoid excess packaging. When given a choice, select the product that is sensibly packaged, not over-packaged. Whenever possible, reuse or recycle packaging. You can save 1,200 pounds of carbon dioxide if you cut down your garbage by 10 percent. (repoweramerica.org & www.eia.doe.gov)
Soda. If you have the choice, buy soda from the fountain in a paper cup instead of from a can or plastic bottle. You’ll reduce the amount of aluminum cans and plastic bottles that are wasted.
If you’re asked, “paper or plastic?” at checkout, choose paper. While neither is an ideal choice, it’s best to sack your groceries in reusable cloth or canvas bags – grocery baggers usually fill paper bags with more items than they do plastic bags, and paper bags can be easily reused. Moreover, paper bags have a better chance of being recycled. (thegreenguide.org)
Buy in bulk. Consider buying items in bulk. You will pay up to 50 percent less and significantly reduce the amount of energy needed to transport all that extra packaging waste to landfills and recycling facilities. If by buying in bulk every U.S. household generated 10 percent less packaging waste, the volume of diesel fuel saved by garbage trucks annually would be enough to take a busload of schoolchildren on a field trip to the moon and back every day of the school year. (the green book, The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen)
Buy block cheese instead of presliced individually wrapped servings. The energy used to make the plastic wrappers for slices of American cheese amounts to the equivalent of more than 13.8 million gallons of gasoline per year. (the green book, The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen)
Farmer’s market vs. supermarket. On average, U.S. supermarket good travels 1,500 to 2,500 miles before it reaches the family table. Buying local food can reduce the amount of petroleum consumed to transport your dinner by a much 95 percent. (www.worldwatch.org)
On the road
Check your tire pressure. Increase your gas mileage by keeping your tires properly inflated. If all the cars on U.S. roads had properly inflated tires, it would save an estimated 2 billion gallons of gasoline per year and improve your gas mileage three to seven percent. Every gallon of gasoline saved keeps 20 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Your tires also will last longer! (www.fueleconomy.gov & repoweramerica.org)
Drive efficiently. Below 45 mph, open your windows instead of using the air conditioning. At 45 mph and above, save gas by rolling your windows up and cranking the air conditioner.
Turn off your car engine instead of idling. It takes less gasoline to restart your car than it does to let it idle for more than a minute. An idling vehicle emits 20 times more pollution than one traveling 32 miles per hour. (the green book, The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen)
When it’s time to buy tires, consider retreads. Retread tires are equal in safety and performance to new tires but use only one-third of the petroleum resources to produce and cost roughly $48 less per tire. (www.epa.gov)
Recycle. If everyone in America simply separated the paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum products from the trash and tossed them into a recycling bin, we could decrease the amount of waste sent to landfills by 75 percent. Currently, it takes an area the size of Pennsylvania to dump all our waste each year.
Recycle more. You can save 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide per year by recycling just half of your household waste. (repoweramerica.org)
Use a ceramic mug for your coffee. Americans use more than 14 billion paper cups every year, enough to circle the world 55 times. The Styrofoam kind will stay on the planet for nine generations, enough time for your great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandkids to be born. (www.greenbiz.com)
Especially for kids
Use non-toxic art supplies. Many paints and art products use asthma-inducing chemicals. Let your budding artiste make masterpieces with nontoxic supplies like veggie-based paint for art that screams like Munch but smells like Monet's garden.
Head to the dump. Each of us creates 4.6 pounds of trash per day, and 55% goes to landfills (the other 45% is recycled or incinerated). Take kids to see where their trash goes post-can.