Green Living Tips for Earth Month

  1. Concerned about dust and toxins in your household? Dust with a damp cloth to ensure that household dust, the final resting place of many toxins that enter our homes, is removed and not stirred back into the air.
  2. Open windows and doors occasionally (even in winter) to bring in fresh air and rinse out pollutants that have accumulated inside.
  3. Look for deodorizers or other air "freshening" products that list their ingredients on the product label. Some ingredients in air sprays, like propane and butane, and contribute to poor indoor air quality.
  4. Try organic food. It is grown without synthetic pesticides.
  5. Clean and inspect combustion devices like furnaces, stoves, and hot water heaters to make sure they're functioning properly and not venting hazardous gases into your home.
  6. Have your water tested for chemical pollutants like pesticides and chlorine. Install a filter on drinking water taps if pollution is found.
  7. Houseplants may help improve indoor air quality. A couple of well chosen houseplants and your Spring cleaning freshness will last a lot longer. Check out these 15 houseplants on NASA's list of air purifying plants.
  8. Choose Energy Star, HE Washing Machines. The efficiency of these machines is amazing. They require about 40 percent less water per load, consume up to 60 percent less energy, and are more effective in removing water during the spin cycle -- so less time in the dryer.
  9. Wash full loads of laundry. Sort clothes and schedule laundering so you can wash only full loads. It takes almost as much electricity to run a small load as it does to run a full one, and it is better for the machine to have a full load during the spin cycle so it doesn't fly off balance.
  10. Wash your clothes in cold water. Every once in a while you may have a load that requires hot water, but washing just the majority of your laundry in cold water for a year could save energy costs.
  11. Follow directions. Use the amount of laundry detergent that the manufacturer recommends. Using more detergent than necessary actually gets in the way of effective cleansing of the fabrics, which will then require an extra rinse cycle, which uses more energy and water.
  12. Wash Less. Your clothes will last longer. Some clothing belongs in the wash after only one use, but many garments can stand two or even three wearings before they need washing.
  13. Don't Overload or Underload Your Dryer. Dry a full load in your dryer, but don't overload. It uses way too much energy, and it causes excessive wrinkling, which in turn may force you to iron your clothes, using even more energy.
  14. Turn off the iron. Go ahead and turn off the iron a few minutes before you finish. The iron takes a while to cool, so you'll be able to complete the last bunch of your clothes with the heat remaining.
  15. Did you know that some toilets use as much as 19 liters of water in just one flush? To reduce the amount of water your toilet uses, install a water displacement, water retention, or alternative flushing device.
  16. Did you know that the refrigerator is the household appliance that uses the most amount of energy? Set your refrigerator to between 35 and 38° F  -- optimal energy use temperatures.
  17. Grow your own herbs, fruit, and veggies. Even if you live in an urban area or an apartment, try indoor gardening or container gardening, or rent a plot in a community garden.
  18. Don't forget to bring your own bags to the grocery store. Leave some in your car or work bag so you'll always have them on hand.
  19. To decrease the amount of waste, avoid buying individually wrapped items like prepackaged snacks and drink boxes.
  20. Composting is an easy way to reduce your household waste by 50%. It's natural recycling that converts organic waste into hearty, garden-growing soil and it doesn't take up space at a landfill. If you don't have compost collection where you live, consider composting your food scraps in your backyard or try vermicomposting (composting with worms) indoors.
  21. Run your dishwasher only when there's a full load.
  22. Don't leave the water running for washing or rinsing dishes. For a two-sided sink, use one side for washing and one for rinsing. If you have only one sink, put the washed dishes in a dish rack and rinse them with a sprayer, or rinse in a pan of clean water.
  23. Ever wondered how much water a 5-minute shower uses? 20 gallons! Install a low-flow faucet aerator and showerhead. You'll save about 12 gallons of water on that shower.
  24. Turn off the tap. Save about 8 gallons of water a day by turning off the tap when you brush your teeth in the morning and at night. Do the same when you shave or when you wash your face.
  25. Swap all your non-stick cookware for cast iron. Properly seasoned cast iron will provide much the same results and won't leach perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) or toxic fumes.
  26. Buy paper-towels and toilet paper that contains recycled content to reduce the amount of virgin (new) paper harvested from trees.
  27. Look for cleaning products that use ingredients from plant-based, rather than petroleum based sources, to help decrease dependence on fossil fuels.
  28. Look for product packaging that uses post-consumer recycled plastic to help give a second life to plastic packaging and divert waste from landfills.