25 Ways to Go Green and Stay Healthy

August 19, 2009 at 12:04 am

We’ve all heard the terms “Ecological Footprint” or “Carbon Footprint”. There’s mass consumption of many varieties, outrageous waste of our natural resources and carbon emissions slowly choking us. Literally, from sea to shining sea. The impact is enormous, becoming evident even before the next generation is born into the ecological indifference that has prevailed.

There’s an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality that’s been an integral part of how we have come to where things are today. Just because its hidden in a trash bag and hauled away doesn’t mean it it’s not still there to leave another kind of “footprint”.

Green home decoration 1 25 Ways to Go Green and Stay Healthy

More and more, people are starting to understand the long-term affects, not only to the earth, but also to our physical well being. As a result humans everywhere have already begun to clean up and reduce, reuse, recycle. Finding along the way that not only does it feel good joining in a worthy fight, but enjoying better physical health in the process. Here are 25 ways to get you started in shrinking your very own footprint, one step at a time!

Let’s talk WATER: It’s easy to just turn that faucet on and forget the water flowing could actually run out. It’s in our best interest to remember that the human body is made up of about 60-70% water and we need that water to stay alive.

1. Think about that while you’re brushing your teeth. Shut off that faucet until you’re ready to rinse. Try putting a bowl under the faucet and see how fast the bowl fills up as you brush.

2. When running water in the sink to rinse a dish or wash your hands, turn the stream down until it’s about the diameter of a straw. The affect is still the same, using far less water.

3. Change out your shower heads to a low-flow design. It costs a little bit more than standard models, but will save more in water and dollars down a short road.

4. Wait until you have a full load of dishes before running the dishwasher. It’s easier to run one large load than several small ones. Not only will this save more water and the energy/money to run it, but time as well.

5. Educate yourself in how to harvest rainwater for your lawn and garden, it’s a very satisfying practice. Also keep in mind when planting that it saves even more to choose plants that are native to your area.

Let’s talk ENERGY: Most everyone has complained at one time or another about that astronomical energy bill. Not allot of folks think about the carbon emissions resulting from everyday uses such as electronics, appliances and lighting, just to name a few. Studies are showing this is having an affect on the human body as well as the environment.

1. Here’s a pleasant idea! Line dry your clothing outside in the sunshine, for free. Clothes last longer, there’s no artificial smell generated by a factory somewhere (also emitting carbon) and by doing so you have doubled the good for your efforts.

2. When you’re not using appliances or electronics, unplug them! Consider that the average home has 15-40 electronic devices and appliances consuming 35% (or more) in energy, even when they’re turned off.

3. Speaking of appliances, check the temperature of your refrigerator. Keep it between 37 and 40 degrees F and your freezer at 0-5 degrees F. Also check your seals, make sure there are no leaks. A good way to do this is take a piece of paper, shut it in the door and tug. If it comes out easily, you have leaking, which can also add up in energy costs and waste.

4. Install ceiling fans. This is another cheap trick with savings that pays off quick. Be mindful of the rotation of your fans and the time of year. In the summertime you want it rotating counter-clockwise and the reverse during the winter months. A good way to remember when to change is by putting it on your calendar.

5. Change your window dressings. Double-sided curtains or heavy draperies will keep the heat and cold at bay. In the summer, when the sun is shining in, close the curtains to cool things down. In the winter, open them for the opposite effect.

Let’s talk RECYCLING: There is a myriad of ways to recycle and the number of items to recycle seems endless! Everything from clothing to something as simple as your toilet paper rolls are a candidate for reuse. Even your fish tank water can be reused in watering your houseplants with an extra benefit to the plants in terms of nutrients.

1. The easiest to start with is paper. Every piece of paper you don’t need can be recycled. To protect yourself from identity theft, be sure to shred anything with personal information. There are local charities that collect both shredded and bundled paper for recycling. Find one near you and use this practice to help them too.

2. Start using recycled cloth or canvas bags when you go to the grocery store. A plus, is that you can express your personal style as there are tons of choices in designs to choose from. A good way to make a trip to the store fun for the kids too! Check to be sure the bags you choose are made from recycled materials. If you forget the bags at home, request paper bags and use those to haul your paper for recycling.

3. You can even recycle your food. Grow your own garden and learn to compost. By doing this you’re saving wear and tear on your vehicle as well as fuel costs since you’ll be making less trips to the store. The greatest benefit to this practice is your overall physical health improves. You are on the move in a peaceful daily habit and in the end you reap the rewards with healthier fruits and vegetables on your table.

4. Did you know that aluminum is 100% recyclable and has a short turn around time for reuse? If you live in a small space and have to pick and choose what you have room for, cans are a good choice. Get a can crusher, they’re inexpensive and can be found in most stores easily. Check your phone book (which is also a candidate for recycling) and find a salvage center that will pay for those cans.

5. Instead of buying bottles of sports drinks, find a plastic or stainless steel bottle that you like and use that. You’re less tempted to drink those sugar filled drinks when you consider all the alternative choices. If you want a fizzy affect like soda, crush some raspberries into a half & half mix of water and sparkling water. Discovering combinations and the fun in experimenting is another plus for getting kids involved in this healthful habit.

Let’s talk EXTRAS:

1. Volunteer to do trash clean up along highways and in parks. Take bags for actual trash and bags for items you find that can be recycled. You will easily fill twice the recycle bags as the ones for trash. To top off your good will is the physical benefits to you in exercise.

2. Remove excess weight from your vehicle. Check your trunk. Does it contain heavy tools you never use? This helps reduce fuel costs and usage.

3. Carpool it to work or use public transportation. Better yet, if you need to go somewhere near home, ride a bike. More and more cities and towns are accommodating bicyclist by creating bike lanes and making drivers more aware of your presence on the roadways. There’s a fantastic way to get in your workout while saving more than just money.

4. If you must drive, do regular oil changes and tune ups. It is a proven fact that a well maintained vehicle uses less energy and emits less carbon. Check to be sure that the business you take your car to recycles that oil.

5. Volunteer to help plant trees. Another way to a healthful workout that creates more than double the benefits.

6. Change to natural cleaning products for your home. Find a company that concentrates their products, creating less packaging. The advantages to your health are numerous with this change alone.

Green home decoration 25 Ways to Go Green and Stay Healthy

7. Make a list of the products you buy, then check to see which companies are committed to recycling and which ones aren’t. Support the ones that do as much as possible.

8. Buy “green clothing” made from natural or recycled fibers.

9. For a safer alternative to chemical laden beauty products, try natural oils such as, olive oil or jojoba for skin care and even hair conditioning.

10. For holiday gifts, give memberships to any number of organizations fitting the personality of the person you’re gifting to. Health clubs, museums or even classes at the local college. Perhaps a magazine subscription (on recycled paper, of course). Give memories, not commercials!

Now watch as your electric meter slows, your energy bill drops and your physical wellness escalates. All the while knowing that the good you do extends beyond your personal realm. Can you feel your foot getting smaller already?

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