By Barbara Pronin
Most people are aware that Mother Earth needs all the help it can get to avoid running out of resources. But going green doesn’t have to be a daunting task, ecologists maintain.
We can all lend a hand to help the planet beginning with these 10 simple tactics:
Launder in warm/cold water – If every U.S. household switched the washer from hot cycle to warm/cold, we would save energy comparable to 100,000 barrels of oil a day.
Recycle glass – Recycled glass reduces related air pollution by 20 percent and related water pollution by 50 percent. (Glass that isn’t recycled can take a million years to decompose.)
Go vegetarian one day a week – It takes 25,000 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef.
Rethink bottled water – It’s convenient, but 90 percent of plastic bottles are not recycled and can take thousands of years to decompose. Buy a reusable container and use it. (Surprise: EPA standards for tap water are stricter than FDA standards for bottled water.)
Use both sides of paper – American businesses throw away 21 million tons of paper annually. Before you pitch it, turn it over and use the reverse side as scratch pads – and when you’ve used both sides, don’t forget to recycle.
Use your cruise control – You paid for the extras, so use them. Using cruise control can save you up to 15 percent on gasoline, saving you money while you help the planet.
Recycle old cell phones – The average cell phone lasts around 18 months, which means 130 million phones will be retired each year. In landfills, these phones and their batteries introduce toxic substances into the environment. Retire yours into one of many reputable phone recycling programs, many of which benefit good causes.
Recycle old wire hangers – Many recycling programs won’t accept steel wire hangers – but the many dry cleaners will gladly take them back to use again.
Go to a car wash – They make more efficient use of water than we do when we wash our cars ourselves. We could save more than 8 billion gallons of water annually if we all used the car wash.
Use cotton swabs with paperboard spindles – If 10 percent of households switched back from plastic-spindled cotton swabs to those with paperboard spindles, the petroleum energy saved per year would be equivalent to150,000 gallons of gas.