Thursday, April 15, 2010

Green Tips for Your Home

In honor of Earth Day on April 22, here are some tips to help you make an impact-on our planet:
  • Lower your thermostat by a few degrees in the winter and raise it a few degrees in the summer.
  • Say goodbye to bottled water by purchasing a reusable water bottle.
  • Install low-flow faucets and showerheads. If your budget allows, purchase a water efficient toilet-you may even get a rebate from your local water company.
  • Start a compost in your backyard.
  • Buy foods locally at a nearby farmer's market. It's good for local economy and saves gas.
  • Bring reusable shopping bags to the grocery store.
  • If you don't have your resuable shopping bags with you at the grocery store and are given the choice of paper or plastic, choose paper.
  • If you like using plastic grocery bags, recycle them to be used as doggie bags, dirty diaper storage or for small trash can liners.
  • Install compact fluorescent light bulbs throughout your home.
  • Turn off lights and electronics when you leave the room. Likewise, unplug electronic items, energy strips and protectors when not in use.
  • Recycle newspapers, cardboard, paper and plastic items.
  • Carpool to work more often or take mass transit when available.
  • Recycle your old cell phone.
  • If you live within close proximity to your work or downtown community, ride a bike or walk.
  • When washing dishes by hand, don't let the water run the whole time.
  • Go to your local library instead of buying new books.
  • At holidays and birthdays, give your family and friends the gift of saving the earth by donating to their favorite environmental group, foundation or organization.
  • Remove yourself from junk mail lists by going to For a small fee, you'll be removed from junk mail lists, and Precycle will even plant five trees for you!
  • Whenever possible, purchase products that use recyclable materials.
  • Adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk or street.
  • Use organic cleaning products.
  • Collect the water you use for rinsing fruits and vegetables and reuse it to water houseplants.
  • The next time you are getting ready to purchase a new car, consider buying a fuel-efficient car or a hybrid.
  • Landscape with native plants.
  • Buy organic milk.
  • Cut down on paper waste. Get online subscriptions for your newspaper and magazines. Switch to online banking and opt to have your bills sent to you electronically.
  • Teach children about the importance of being good to the environment.
  • Take your batteries to a recycling center.
  • Turn your car off if you're going to be idle for more than one minute.
  • Do full loads of laundry and set the rinse cycle to "cold."
  • When buying new appliances, consider those that are water and energy efficient, and offer cycle and load size adjustments.
  • Reuse. Plastic food containers make good crayon and marker holders. Use padded envelops more than once. Buy your toddler or preschooler's clothes from a thrift shop and give away items that don't fit to friends.
  • Limit the length of your showers. Even better, take a "navy shower," shutting off the water while soaping up and shampooing.
  • Turn off the water when brushing your teeth.
  • Wash towels only after several uses.
  • Put a damper on things by installing fireplace draft stoppers, attic door covers and dryer vent seats that only open when your dryer is in use.
  • Seal off drafts around your home and save 5-30 percent in energy costs.
  • Recycle your technology. Dell, Hewlett Packard, Apple, and IBM, among others, offer recycling programs.
  • When purchasing paint, opt for zero or low VOC paint, made by most major paint manufacturers today.
  • Keep your house cooler during the summer by closing shades, blinds or curtains during the hottest times of the day.
  • Line dry your clothes whenever you can.
  • Drop your tissue in the trash instead of flushing it and save water every time.
  • Plant trees and shrubbery around your home to help keep your home cooler during the warm summer months, and help you run your air conditioner a little less.
  • The next time you make improvements to your home, use green materials.
  • Run your dishwasher only when it is fully loaded and turn off the dry cycle and air dry dishes instead.
  • Wash your pet(s) outdoors in an area of your lawn that needs water.
  • Go paperless at work and avoid printing whenever possible.
  • Apply sun-control or other reflective films on south-facing windows.
  • If your budget allows, install solar panels on your roof and see your energy savings soar.
  • Bring your mug to your local coffee shop, or keep one on hand at work for coffee fill-ups.
Recycle Cell Phones, computers and electronics
The City of Gilroy has recycling information including information regarding the following items:
Recycle old paint
Recycle oils
Recycle paper, plastic and aluminum


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