You can make a difference in protecting our environment by following these blue tips. Challenge yourself to try as many as you can!
- Trees are essential to the planet and to humans. Plant a tree and reap the many benefits!
- Get a green bin and start collecting organic waste.
- Avoid waste by using reusable cloths and rags instead of paper towels to clean.
- Instead of using chemicals and paper towels to wash your windows, try 125 millilitres of vinegar (half cup), one litre of water (four cups) and a squeegee.
- If space is limited, try growing organic vegetables in containers or window boxes.
- Have a garage sale to help recycle your unwanted items. Someone's trash is another's treasure.
- Just because you throw something away does not mean that it is gone for good. You have only just moved it to a landfill. Instead of throwing old homework papers, cardboard and newspapers in the garbage, you can easily recycle them!
- Donate electronic equipment to specific recycling groups or recycle them. This will help reduce pressure on landfills.
- When buying wooden fencing and garden furniture, consider whether the wood is from a well-managed forest. Deforestation is a serious problem in some areas of the world, leading to loss of topsoil and flooding, among other problems.
- When boating, avoid stirring up bottom sediment with propellers. Keep personal watercraft out of shallow areas that are critical habitat for spawning fish, aquatic plants and aquatic invertebrates.
- Your appliances need a tune-up too; clean all filters and coils.
- When replacing hard-to-reach light bulbs, such as exterior porch lights, switch to energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs. You will not have to change them for up to seven years!
- Use your window coverings to help warm or cool your house.
- Make your home more energy-efficient through improved insulation, caulking and weather-stripping. The less energy you use, the less impact you have on the environment.
- Install and use a programmable thermostat. For every degree Celsius you lower your thermostat, you can save two per cent on your heating bill. A reduction of three degrees Celsius at night and when you are away during the day provides optimal savings, and can reduce your greenhouse gas emissions by half a tonne.
- When buying a new appliance, choose an energy-efficient one.
- When not using devices that have a 'phantom load,' unplug them, or plug them into a power bar and turn that off.
- Hang your clothes to dry. The lint collects in the dryer's filter because your clothes are slowly disintegrating!
- Kids: Energy efficiency can be practised at home, at school and during recreational activities – in fact, practically anywhere and any time in our day-to-day activities. This may be as simple as turning off the lights when leaving a room, or bicycling to school instead of asking mom or dad for a ride. Encouraging energy efficiency reduces the use of fossil fuels, thus reducing emissions of harmful pollutants into the Earth's atmosphere.
- Compost your leaves and brush. Burning them will increase carbon dioxide emissions.
- Use potpourri instead of aerosol-based sprays.
- Buy a push lawn mower. It is good exercise and reduces carbon dioxide emissions.
- Do not blow your leaves - rake them instead. Your ears and your neighbours will thank you, and you will reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
- Make sure your car is properly tuned up and your tires are at the right pressure to ensure optimal fuel efficiency.
- Encourage carpooling when possible!
- Use a broom rather than a water hose to clean walkways, driveways and sidewalks.
- Collect and use your rainwater for your lawn and plants. It is free and better for your plants.
- Avoid cleaners containing phosphates. When they get into rivers and lakes they cause algae blooms, robbing the water of oxygen and ultimately killing aquatic life.
- Fix that leaking hose and dripping nozzle. It will help keep your shoes and shirt dry and save water.
- Keep the septic system working smoothly! Pour 250 millilitres of baking soda down any toilet or drain once a week. Baking soda creates a favourable pH environment for optimal bacterial action.
- Install water-saving showerheads.
- Do not run the water running when you brush your teeth, shave, wash dishes or clean vegetables.