giving back

Green Living: 20 Simple Ways to Reduce and Go Green

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As part of this series, I'm featuring tips, ideas, and strategies for going green as well as how these changes affect other aspects of our lives. Why is there a need for a more eco-friendy way of life?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the amount of waste that is generated by United States citizens continues to increase each year. Between the years of 1960 to 2010, the amount of waste that was generated by each person in our country increased from 2.7 pounds per day to 4.4 pounds per day. This adds up to about 25o million tons of waste generated in 2010! These statistics indicate that decades of environmental campaigns have not been successful.

 

3 Easy Steps to Go Green

The good news is that going green begins with three easy steps... Step 1: Reduce. Step 2: Reuse. Step 3: Recycle. When we reduce the amount of waste that we generate, it makes steps 2 and 3 easier to accomplish.  Just by being aware, making conscientious choices, and seeing the world with fresh eyes, we can all reduce the amount of waste we generate on a daily basis.

20 Simple Ways to Reduce and Go Green

Here are a few easy strategies that each of us can utilize in an effort to reduce the 4.4 pounds of waste we generate each day:

  • Buy products with little or no packaging.
  • Buy products in bulk.
  • Learn to cook from scratch.
  • Remove your name from junk mail lists.
  • Stop printing emails, files and documents from the internet.  Store them digitally as files or bookmarks.
  • Compost your kitchen scraps and yard waste.
  • Bring your own bags to the store or use resuable bags.
  • Bring your own coffee cup to work and/or to your favorite coffee shop.
  • Buy products made from recycled materials like pencils, printer paper, paper towels (if you absolutely need paper towels) etc
  • Donate clothing, shoes, toys, outdated electronics, and appliances to charity.
  • Filter your own water instead of buying water in plastic bottles.
  • Don't use paper plates and cups or plastic eating utensils.
  • Never buy or use anything made from styrofoam (it takes 500 years to begin to break down)
  • Try to limit your use of paper towels.  Use cloth napkins and dish towels instead.
  • Shop locally to reduce the amount of waste incurred as a result of packaging, cardboard boxes and those styrofoam peanuts that take 500 years to break down.
  • Consider using cloth diapers for your baby or disposable diapers that are biodegradable.
  • Have your printer ink cartridges refilled instead of throwing them away.
  • Send unwanted cds, dvds and their cases to be properly recycled.
  • Reduce your waste by reusing and recycling.
  • Bring your own grocery bags when grocery shopping.

Not only can we reduce the waste we accumulate as consumers, we can also learn how to reduce our carbon footprint. Each of us has a carbon footprint which can be concisely defined as the measurement of "how much waste you leave behind after directly or indirectly consuming energy".To learn how to calculate and reduce your carbon footprint, use this free interactive calculator provided by Nature.org.

Next week, we will explore Step 2: Reuse. This step is the most fun of all because reusing includes repurposing, refurbishing, reclaiming, and many other creative adventures that can serve as meaningful projects for the whole family!

How are  you reducing and going green this year?

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

Tracey Lenac is the founder, editor and publisher of Raising California, an online magazine that highlights elements of holistic, organic, GREEN lifestyle choices along with homeschooling and spirituality.   She is also the founder of Soul Centered Kids in Los Angeles, California, where she teaches soul centered skills such as meditation, reiki and yoga to children of all ages and developmental abilities and the founder of The Souls of Boys, an online store specializing in non violent, non toxic, soul centered toys, books, media and resources for boys.  Tracey has a Master of Arts degree in Education and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. She is also a registered Reiki Master/Teacher, organic gardener, the mom of two boys and a secular homeschooler.

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