Volume V, Issue 5
It's Natural to Go Green this Spring
The spring season brings
welcome sunshine, flowers in blooms and an excuse to get back to nature.
What better way to take care of the season we love than to make
simple changes this month to reduce your carbon footprint and save money.
Start spring right by
de-cluttering, not only your closets but your desk, kitchen, junk drawers,
attics and garage. Remember the rule of thumb that if you have not used it in
the past year, you'll probably not use it again. Keep your favorite wrought-iron
skillet and wicker basket but do your part to donate, recycle and trash items
that are no longer important.
Before you donate,
take inventory of your belongings. This will demonstrate your tastes and the
upgrades made. Keep items out of landfills by donating books, magazines and
clothing. Consider that a family of four uses 1.25 tons of paper per year on
average and the US EPA reports that recycling one ton of paper saves 3.3 cubic
yards of landfill space and enough energy to power the average American home for
six months. There are also ways to reuse everything from single mittens and
broken guitar strings to holiday greeting cards and ceramic tiles.
Landfills should be
used for items that truly have no other useful purpose. Be cautious when
disposing of hazardous materials, as inappropriate distribution can cause toxic
components to leach into the soil and groundwater. But even if something isn't
recyclable, chances are it may be reused in some creative capacity.
Another tip is to
clean the greenest way possible. While preparing to clean countertops and
hard-wood floors remember harsh fumes from traditional cleaners may
do more harm than good. In fact, they can be responsible for around 10-percent
of toxic exposures reported to poison control centers and are difficult to
dispose of properly.
Here's a way to save
money by making your own cleaning product from supplies you may already have.
For spray cleaner, combine and store in a spray bottle
2 cups water; 1/4 cup white vinegar; 1/4 tsp. tea tree oil and 1/4 tsp. lavender
oil. For deodorizing cleaning, mix one part vinegar and one part
water in a spray bottle to clean countertops, floors, stovetops and other
appliances. Scrub dishes, surfaces and stains with a lemon that has been cut in
half and sprinkled with baking soda on the flat side.
windows.While the sunlight is refreshing in the summer, using
light-colored blinds and drapes, which reflect light instead of absorbing it can
save you up to $210 per year on heating and cooling costs.
When it's time to wash
your car, do yourself a favor and use an automatic car
wash. According to the International Car Wash Association, car
washes use less than half the water (45-gallons) compared to washing your car at
home (80-140 gallons). Commercial car washes often reuse water and send the
runoff to treatment centers instead of nearby lakes and streams. They also use
high-pressure nozzles that require less water usage.
If you're dead-set on
washing your car at home with the kids, keep the impact at a minimum by parking
on gravel or grass so soapy water soaks into the ground, becomes filtered and
recharges groundwater. Avoid soaps with labels that say "harmful, danger or
poison." And be sure to turn off the hose when you're not using the water.
During a 15-minute car wash, you could use 150 gallons of water if there isn't
an automatic shut-off nozzle.
When the spirit of
spring hits you this month, take a few minutes to preserve the planet that gives
us the natural beauty of the