Say Goodbye to the Plastic Bottle
I can understand why you may not like drinking tap water and that's why you may feel compelled to buy flats of bottled water at Costco. Even if you recycle all of those bottles, you are still leaving a large and unnecessary footprint on the environment.
Instead, it is much more efficient to invest in something like the Pur or Brita filtration systems to get better-tasting and cleaner water from the tap. The same idea can be expanded to many of the bottled beverages that you purchase from the grocery store; if you must, buy the bigger bottles and pour into glasses rather than using individual bottles. In like manner, bring a reusable mug to your favorite coffee joint. Some places even give you a discount if you do.
At home, investing in a water filtration system like those offered by Brita that mount straight to the tap can give you weeks of clean water between filter changes. You can also use that same water for cooking, making things not only greener but healthier at the same time.
Use Cold Water Instead
While we're on the subject of water, there is a lot that you can do on that front to minimize your impact on Mother Nature as well. It has been said that using a dishwasher is still more efficient than washing your dishes by hand, but you don't need to use piping hot water.
Most dishwashers heat up the water that they use with an electronic mechanism and this consumes unnecessary electricity. I was taught that I should use hot water to clean my dishes, but some reports are saying that this isn't completely necessary in all instances. By using a cold water cycle, you save power.
In like manner, you can do the same when it comes to washing your clothes. You may feel compelled to use a warm or even a hot water cycle in your washing machine, but the cold water cycle can be just as effective in getting your clothes clean. Just pick up a detergent that works properly in cold water and you'll have clothes as clean as the ones you wash in warm.
Hang Your Clothes to Dry on the Line
Much more so than your computer and television, home appliances consume a great deal of electricity. Your best bet is to try minimizing their use altogether, using non-powered alternatives whenever possible.
If your space allows it, try hanging your clothes out on the line to dry rather than using the clothes dryer. Again, this saves you a great deal on your power bill and the planet will love you for it. Unfortunately, you don't get that fresh laundry scent that everyone loves. A small price to pay to protect the environment.
Harness the Natural Power Around You
As I mentioned, you should use natural light to illuminate your home instead of relying on artificial light all the time. You can take this idea one step further with solar lighting.
I'm sure you've seen some of these garden lights in your local supply store. They're great for lighting up your walkway at night, since they charge up during the day and illuminate in the evening. Your net power bill for these is effectively zero. As mentioned earlier in the lighting section, LED lights are very efficient and the majority of these devices use LED elements. With a combination of these types of garden lights and outfitting your home with LED lights, you can save a ton of electricity and reduce your power footprint substantially.
The Green Luck of the Irish?
St. Patrick's Day is more than an excuse to dress up like a leprechaun and chug back on a pitcher of green ale. You can do so much more by choosing to go green in so many different ways. If everyone makes a few small adjustments to how they live day to day, I'm sure Al Gore will smile a little more often. And that's one way to get a happy St. Patty's Day, right?
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