Today is St. Patrick’s Day, March 17. While it is a day to celebrate all things Irish, I can also be a day to learn how to live GREEN. Here is a list of 17 ways you can expand your green living skills.
1. Do you recycle? If not, research recycling opportunities in your area. Call your municipality to find out. If recycling is not collected in separate bins on trash day, find out where to bring it.
2. Research how to separate recyclable products in your area. Some places comingle all recyclables for collection and separate them later. Others want them separated first: paper goods (newspaper, pressboard, junk mail), metals goods (cans), plastics (milk jugs), cardboard, etc.
3. Even if you recycle, do you know all the items your area will take? There may be more than you think. Often missed items include batteries and trash glass (broken windows, light bulbs).
4. Some items must be recycled in special ways due to the contents. Fluorescent bulbs are one. Return used ones to big box home improvement or hardware stores for free recycling.
5. Electronics: E-waste contains many valuable, recoverable materials such as aluminum, copper, gold, silver, plastics, and ferrous metals. In order to conserve natural resources and the energy needed to produce new electronic equipment from virgin resources, electronic equipment can be refurbished, reused, and recycled instead of being landfilled.
6. Hazardous liquid waste (old gasoline, oil, paint, paint thinner, turpentine, mineral spirits, etc.) must never be flushed or added to the household waste system or poured out on the ground. These chemicals are flammable and leech into groundwater polluting it and poisoning soil and clean water sources. Most service stations will accept used car related liquids for recycling. Call your municipality for information about other items. Many places have liquid waste recycling days, particularly in the spring when people clean out winter garage accumulations.
7. Salvage yards are great places to take metal waste. You will get cash for many items. They take metal items such as appliances, copper pipes, radiators, bath tubs, sinks, and more. Most are weighed and paid out by rate per metal type.
8. Before tossing out something you think you don’t want any more, can it be fixed up and reused? Repaint the metal patio furniture and give it a new, modern look.
9. Recover footstools and make new cushion tops for benches for prolonged their life. How to information all over the internet gives easy instructions and it saves money.
10. Scrap wood from left over projects can be made into garden trellises or outdoor plant stands. Pinterest has many beautiful and inexpensive ideas.
11. If you aren’t into handyman projects, call a home restorer, artisan, or woodcrafter and donate your unwanted wood scraps, doors, window frames, and other wood scraps. They are geniuses at repurposing molding, fence boards and cabinets into period pieces for ongoing projects.
12. Donate “broken” appliances to re-use stores. Often a small repair will fix a toaster or other kitchen appliance, lamp, table leg or chair arm that can then be sold inexpensively as a used but working item.
13. Reducing use of natural resources helps us leave a smaller footprint on the planet. Turn off water faucets while brushing teeth.
14. Wash only full laundry loads to save water and electricity.
15. Fix any dripping faucets or toilet mechanisms that don’t completely shut off, etc.
16. Turn off and unplug any electrical items not being used. Cell phone chargers and “instant on” appliances often keep using current even when not in use.
17. Designate a “no electricity” day once a month at home. Except fo the refrigerator, and other really essential household items, spend a day away from the TV, computer, stove, cell phone. Simplify your life. Grill dinner. Read or play family games. Go for a hike.
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