Happy Earth Day! We put together some tips on ways that you can “Go Green” and reduce your impact on Mother Earth (and maybe even save a little money while you’re at it). You don’t need to go Off the Grid or give up meat to make a difference. The important thing here is the power of numbers. Little efforts can add up in a big way if everyone pitches in. Of course there are many other ways to make a difference for future generations, but this list is a good start!

REFUSE

  • Just because it is free does not mean you need to take it. How many pens does one person need anyways?

REPAIR

  • Buying new is not always necessary and in some cases may actually cost more in the long run. Why not fix that favorite pair of jeans or those shoes you love so much instead of throwing them away. Quality is key. Spend a little more now for a better quality product (and invest in repairs when needed) and it will outlast the cheap “fast fashion” items we see all too frequently today.

REDUCE

  • Pay bills online- No envelopes, no postage, and no late fee if you set up automatic payments.
  • Install a programmable thermostat- This can save you an estimated $150 a year if you preset it, such as before you get home from work
  • Upgrade to a toilet made after 1992- (When new legislation was passed) that lowers the amount of water required to flush, known as gallons per flush or GPF. Old toilets can use as much as 3.5 to 7.0 GPF! Just look for the Water Sense label as go-to.
  • Faucet Aerator- Many showerheads and faucets have built-in aerators these days (which mixes air into the water stream reducing the amount of water used while maintaining the water pressure.) Aerators can be also be purchased and fitted to most kitchen or bath faucets.
  • Breathe easy- Add indoor plants to help reduce the amount of indoor air pollutants.

REUSE

  • Reusable shopping bags- Some retailers will even give you a discount for bringing them.
  • Swap out those plastic baggies in your kitchen for a multi-purpose bag made of silicone. They are versatile and can go in the oven, freezer, microwave, dishwasher and of course the fridge. Cooking and storing just got a lot easier (and cuter!)
  • Say buh-bye to cling wrap and make the switch to bees wax wraps.
  • Give new life to containers and jars around the house- That cute tomato sauce jar can get a makeover as a flower vase or hold loose screws and nails.

RECYCLE

  • Pop a cork, save a tree- That’s the motto at www.corkreharvest.org where you can turn in your used corks to be recycled into floor tiles, recyclable wine shippers and post-consumer products. You can find a drop-off location at a Whole Foods near you. (They also make great craft projects for those savvy individuals!)
  • Don’t just throw it away- You can recycle more than just shopping bags in the bins provided at grocery, drug and big-box stores. Most will take any clean film made of #2 or #4 plastic, including dry cleaning, bread, and newspaper bags and the wraps from bulk snack and water-bottle cases and from toilet paper, napkins and paper towels. Find locations and more info at www.plasticfilmrecycling.org
  • Don’t want that old TV or computer anymore? E-scrap it! The term “E-Scrap” is applied to consumer electronic equipment that is no longer wanted. Common E-scrap items include Battery Chargers, CD Players, Radios, Cell Phones & Cords, Copiers, DVD Players, Hair Dryers, TVs, Fax Machines, Keyboards, Microwaves, Printers, Scanners and the like. Most local governments have E-scrap programs in place and Manatee County is no exception.  www.mymanatee.org/home/government/departments/utilities/solid-waste/escrap.html
  • There are other programs such as www.terracycle.com where you can pretty much recycle ANYTHING! They pride themselves on being able to recycle the “non-recyclable”. Check them out to learn more!
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