Celebrate Earth Day by Recycling
There are simple ways you can conserve energy and Earth Day, which is celebrated on April 22nd, is a perfect day to begin.
Whether you choose to recycle, plant a tree, use less water or turn your lights off, you can help the earth in many ways.
Ideas for Recycling
Use a Recycling Bin
Purchase a special recycling bin and encourage family members to recycle paper, glass and plastic. The recycling bin should be placed in a separate area and clearly marked that the bin is to be used for recycling. If your area requires you to separate your glass, plastic and paper, consider having a multiple compartment bin for recycling. This is assuming your area does recycling pickup, separate than trash pickup. In some cases, the same company will do both. Once your recycling bin fills up, you can transfer the contents to your outdoor recycling bin, which is normally provided by your recycling company for weekly pickup.
Buy and Use More Energy Efficient Light Bulbs
Are you still using incandescent bulbs? They are slowly being phased out all over the world. Some countries started phasing them out as early as 2005. In the United States, Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act in December, 2007. The purpose of the act is to promote clean renewable fuels, protect consumers, increase the efficiency of products, building and vehicles, as well as improve energy performance. As part of this law, 40 and 60-watt incandescent light bulbs can no longer be manufactured in the U.S. because they don’t meet federal energy efficient standards.
Instead of incandescent bulbs, consider Compact Fluorescent Lights, or CFLs. Although CFLs are more expensive, they use less electric power and they last a lot longer, up to 15 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
The Downside to CFLs
Like all fluorescent bulbs, CFLs contain mercury, so disposing of them poses a concern. It’s best to check manufacturer instructions for proper disposal or recycling.
Some CFLs are not dimmable and aren’t as bright as incandescent light bulbs, but you may have to do some caparison shopping to find the right CFLs to meet your needs.
LED’s - Another Light Bulb Alternative
Another light bulb option is the LED bulb. According to Reader’s Digests, LED’s, or Light Emitting Diodes, use 80% less electricity than incandescent light bulbs. The positive side to using LED’s is that they contain no mercury and they are dimmable. LED bulbs are also expensive, but the price is expected to drop-down as technology improves.
Ways to Conserve Energy
- Turn off lights when leaving a room.
- Turn off computers, or put them in power save mode when not in use.
- Consider walking, biking or carpooling with someone when going to work, or doing errands, which saves you money, and reduces air pollution and traffic.
- Consider having an energy audit in your home to see where you can save money, such as installing solar panels, or replacing drafty windows.
Ways to Use Less Water
- Don’t pre-rinse your dishes and glasses before putting them into the dishwasher.
- Take shorter showers.
- Install a water-efficient shower head, to save energy and money.
- Only use the dishwasher or clothes washer when you have a full load to wash.
- Replace old appliances with new energy-efficient appliances which will save you money in the long run and conserve energy in the process. Look for the Energy Star label.
Other Recycling Ideas
- Invest $5-10 and buy reusable grocery bags
- Reuse plastic bags as garbage bags, and when have too many plastic bags, take your bag of bags to the plastic bag recycling center (which most grocery stores now have) and recycle those bags!
- Set a good example – break down boxes from food items and teach children and younger adults to place paper and recyclable plastics in the recycling bin.
- Although you may still need to use paper towels occasionally, consider adding a small towel holder next to your sink for cloth hand towels for drying hands.
- Pay bills online and opt to not have paper bills mailed to you.
Start Recycling Today!
Out with the old, and in the with new.
What can you do starting today to conserve energy?
Look for Old Electronics Collection Programs in your area to properly dispose of, and recycle old electronics including:
- Cell Phones
- VCR/DVD Players