21. Take your dry cleaning to toxin-free dry cleaners
I first heard about perchloroethylene (PERC) when a guest speaker in my environmental health class asked students if they keep dry cleaning in the bag until they use it. "Well, sure" one student replied, "I like to keep that clean smell on the clothes as long as possible." What was surprising is that the "clean smell" she referred to was actually PERC, and harmful to your health
, according to the EPA.
So instead of trying to keep that smell, instead take your clothes out and let them air out as soon as you get them. Better yet, take your clothes to toxin-free dry cleaners
22. Bypass the trash and save it for compost
Something friends commonly ask me is: isn't the garbage dump like one big compost where all of our food goods we threw away will decompose anyway?
The answer to that is no.
According to Composting101.com
, conditions have to be just right in order for the material to be broken down correctly. Plus, the whole purpose of composting is to enrich soil without buying fertilizers that have massive amounts of phosphates and nitrates in them. Who wants to garden in a landfill?
23. Check your sprinklers and sinks for leaks
Not only is the drip, drip sound an annoyance, but it leaks money from your wallet. Even a slow drip such as 20 drips/minute can waste five gallons of water a day.
To find out how much water you are wasting with your leaky faucets, check out the USGS calculator
24. Turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth
I feel like I shouldn't even have to address this one because it's been ingrained in our heads since elementary school. But really, what is the purpose of having all that water run while you scrub those pearly whites?
Still need proof? The EPA estimates
you can save up to 240 gallons per month just by adopting this easy habit.
25. Replace your old toilets with low-flow models
In the same EPA link mentioned above, it is stated that a low-flow toilet can save a family $2,400 in the lifetime of the toilet because it uses 60 percent less water than a standard toilet.
26. Restock your fridge with organic food
The benefits of buying organic are for personal health and for the health of the agriculture workers. It is hard to convince people to buy organic because it is typically more expensive, but fruit especially should be organic simply because it retains more water. Most pesticides are water soluble. So when you are biting into that apple, you may also be consuming trace amounts of pesticides. Not cool, is it?
27. Use low- or no-VOC paints
VOC stands for volatile organic compounds
and they are a big problem with indoor air pollution. Always use chemicals in a well-ventilated area.
28. Adjust sprinkler timers to water only in the early morning or at night
This is better because you lose less water due to evaporation, so you're not wasting water.
29. Buy energy efficient appliances
Energy efficiency, and unplugging those appliances when not in use, can add up to big savings for you and your family. Be sure to look for the Energy Star
sticker on appliances for best results.
30. Plant drought tolerant native plants
This is a big issue we face in Florida. Many people want to have plants that take up obscene amounts of water despite the state constantly being in a drought. Typically, native plants are cheaper because they don't have to be shipped in, and they reduce the amount you have to water your lawn by a considerable amount.