1) Place buckets under your gutter spouts or runoffs to collect rain water for gardening.
2) Learn to grow something you buy. Herbs are very small and can grow on windowsills, but they are super expensive for those tiny little bunches at the grocery store. Seeds are about $1.50, buy a pot from the dollar store, get soil from your yard = money saved and plants are so good for the air you breath inside the house.
3) Buy a wide mouth reusable water bottle and ditch the disposables! A wide opening is important so you can clean it easily. You can get a baby bottle brush to clean it from the dollar store. If you must have filtered water get a Brita water bottle. They are not expensive compared to a couple cases of water!
4) Switch to reusable bags. I have these coming out my ears! Seriously, every event gives them out now and I'm sure you have at least a few. Stick them in your car or truck right now, because you can't use them if they're not with you! I know they're not always practical, but use them as much as you can and you'll cut down on your carbon footprint.
5) Now that winter is over it's time to go through your winter clothes and get rid of everything you didn't wear all year. Donate it to a thrift shop or shelter or give it away on Freecycle, Facebook or Craigslist so it can be reused.
6) Get a timer for the bathroom and make sure everyone knows how to set it and stick to it. Shorter showers for everyone!
7) Quit letting the water run while you brush your teeth. Just turn it back on when it's time to rinse. Think about this: faucets can run at a rate of up to 5 gallons per minute and we're suppose to be brushing our teeth for 2 minutes each time.
8) Make 1 reuse/reduce/recyle switch. This year I will stop buying garbage bags for the bathroom trash can and use extra grocery bags instead. I'm also going to look for a local place to buy the Non-Paper Paper Towels I used before.
9) Plant something perennial. Trees are the most common earth Day choice, but shrubs, ornamental grasses and flower bulbs are all great choices too.
10) You know they quit making those old style incandescent light bulbs right? Well, it's time to bite the bullet and switch to fluorescent bulbs. They're not as expensive as they used to be and you'll easily save that money on your electric bill.
11) Go for paperless billing. It's super easy, especially if you're already paying your bills online. Many companies offer incentive for this too!
12) Change your air filters. A clean air filter put less stress on your heating and cooling system. It uses less electricity when it's running efficiently.
13) Clean your window screens. Brush gently with a scrub brush, soap and water. Remove the grime so air flows through freely. Better air flow in summer means a cooler house without clicking on the AC.
14) Quit charging things overnight. It only takes about 2 hours for a phone, I-device, laptop or tablet to become fully charged. When you plug it in at night it sucks energy for the full 8 hours you're sleeping! Plug in after dinner and unplug once charged.
15) Take a few minutes to spruce up your outdoor living areas so you'll enjoy spending time outside. Sweep the porch, make new cushions for the patio swing, add a few potted plants or an end table. It's much easier to appreciate this world we live in when you can sit out there and watch it go by!
Just a few small steps can make a big difference if everybody just gives it a try! Happy Earth Day!
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