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Protecting the environment and green living are phrases that are becoming more prevalent in our common speech. This idea of living in a manner that helps our environment is everywhere. It is present in print, online news, articles and books and is included in conversation with friends.
But what does green living mean in practical terms? We may believe only businesses and corporations can affect the environment, either by good business processes or by monetary
donations, or that only people with a large amount of personal monetary resources can make an impact.
However, there are many things that we all can do to live environmentally responsible lives.
Here are some tips that can help us make good choices.
Avoiding waste is a good place to begin. Food can be reimagined as leftovers and reused. When trimming food during food preparation, make sure that nothing usable is discarded. Only buy enough fresh produce that can be used before spoiling or freeze the produce. Choose food with less packaging. Buy fresh or organic products when possible. The Huffington Post has a helpful article about food wastage.
Take a bag to the store instead of using plastic bags. When feasible, use storage containers
and reuse plastic storage bags. When warming the shower, save the initial shower water for
later use. Use washing machine cycles that use less water. Plastics, glass, and cardboard
can all be recycled by taking to a site or by having them picked up.
Buying used items is an excellent way to prevent waste and keep these items from going to
a landfill. This also cuts down on energy used to make new products. Used items can be
bought at thrift stores, secondhand stores, and online sites.
A good way to help the environment is by saving energy in the home. Sites such as Energy
Australia offer useful information on ways to cut down on energy.
Turn off the lights when leaving the room and unplug electronics when they are not in use.
Use cycles on the washer that require less water and time and choose cold water settings.
Set a short time on the dryer or try hanging out clothes to dry.
Place the refrigerator thermostat at a lower temperature. Use the microwave and range top
versus the oven when possible and combine cooking items in the oven. If new appliances are
needed, buy energy efficient appliances.
Use less energy on the road by driving less. Combine errands and other trips. Depending on
whether living in an urban setting or not, some people can commute by public transportation
if available. In some areas, people can use bicycles to commute to work or to local stores. In large cities, walking may be an option. The Australian Government site offers information
and links to help drivers save energy.
Many of the items we use can have a toxic impact on the environment. Cleaning solutions
like bleach can be toxic and pollute waterways. However, there are several recipes for
making cleaning solutions at home. Phosphates can increase the number of algae in
waterways, so try to use soaps that do not include phosphates. Eating organic can cut down
on pesticide usage.
Recycling electronic waste can help tremendously, as many electronic components are very
toxic due to the lead, cadmium, and mercury commonly used in these items. Take these
items to a business that will accept and process these items, such as SUEZ Australia.
We all can help protect the environment by following these small steps. Try incorporating a
few at time, then add more as time goes on. Everyone will benefit.
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