By Ginger Reid, Guest Columnist
Reducing your impact on the environment is easier than you think. Chances are that not only will you feel better about preserving the natural landscape, but you’ll save money doing it. Here are some environmentally-friendly changes you can make at home and within your community to help stop climate change.
Consider installing low-flow sinks, showers and toilets to save water. Post Consumer asserts that you won’t actually lose any water pressure by doing so, as they use a “high pressure technique to create the same water pressure level while using less water than other, less efficient models.” Though there aren’t any low-flow dish- or cloth-washing machines, you can still opt for more energy-efficient models and not run them unless they’re full.
Switching to LED or CFL lights is one of the easiest things you can do to make your home greener. LED bulbs tend to last longer and will likely fit in the fixtures you already have, while CFL bulbs are less harsh and cheaper, but contain mercury that is hard to dispose of.
According to MatterOfTrust.org, “Generation of energy using water, oil, coal, and natural gas leads to water, soil, and air pollution through industrial effluents and emissions.” However, there are many energy-efficient appliances available that will help curb this. If you are in the market to update your refrigerator, stove, microwave, air conditioner, furnace, water heater, or dryer, opt for one that minimizes the amount of energy used. These are machines that get most of their energy from renewable resources, such as solar energy, and conserve natural resources.
Save on electricity on warm sunny days by opening your curtains and blinds to utilize natural light and heat. Stop receiving so much paper in the mail by paying your bills online. You should also unplug any electronics that aren’t regularly being used, and shop at your local farmers market instead of bigger stores that transport items in from faraway places.
Instead of routinely shopping for new items, donate or sell your old ones and shop at thrift shops and yard sales in return. Also avoid paper towels and napkins by using rags and cloth, as they are less disposable. The same can be said for shopping bags and water containers, where reusable options are more earth-friendly and easier on the wallet.
Start a compost bin to reduce the amount you’re contributing to the local landfill, and use it as a natural fertilizer for your backyard and garden. Instead of tossing cans, boxes, paper and plastic, find your local recycling plant and make regular drop-offs. You may even live in an area where your city will pick up your recycling for you. If you have batteries or old electronics laying around, make sure you find the proper site to recycle them as well. Many companies will pay you for aluminum and electronic devices.
Remember to do your research as a consumer so you avoid products that are harmful to the environment. Additionally, teach your kids to help so they learn the importance of responsibly caring for the earth. You can reduce the amount of pollution by carpooling, taking public transit, biking or even walking places instead of driving alone whenever you can. With just a little bit of effort, you can make small changes that will have a big impact on the health and well being of your community.