Clean and Green

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maintain our environment clean and green
Keep plants around the house. Plants are amazing at cleaning their environment. Having them in your house can reduce indoor air pollutants by more than half. Great choices are English ivy and peace lilies, which absorb toxic gases like benzene and formaldehyde. Just be sure that if you have pets and/or small children that you opt for plants that are not poisonous.

Never flush your old medications. In almost everyone’s medicine cabinet there is expired medications. But whatever you do, do not flush them! That puts them into the water, which can be dangerous. Instead inquire at your pharmacy about whether they will take them and dispose of them properly. If they cannot handle them they will at least be able to tell you where you can take them.

Don’t waste heat when the fireplace is on. An open fireplace wastes up to 85% of the gas it uses because, like a wood-burning fireplace, the fire sucks heat from inside and sends it out through the chimney. Direct-vent gas fireplaces burn more efficiently and can save you money.

Use less water when you bathe. Baths typically use less water than showers. So whenever possible opt for a soak in the tub. If you prefer showers keep them short. Ten minutes is way too long. And be sure to install a low-flow showerhead and faucet to reduce the amount of water. You can cut back nearly 50% of the water used and barely even notice the difference.

Install new toilets. Newer toilets use significantly less water than older ones. And the low-flush toilets not only conserve water but they actually reduce the greenhouse gases produced in the water-purification process. If you can’t afford to buy a new toilet, a great alternative is to place a plastic water bottle – with the cap on – in the tank. Doing so means less water is used for each flush.

Have it fixed instead of throwing it out. With the price of many consumer goods getting less and less every year, it’s tempting to simply replace old electronics and appliances when they break. But often they can be repaired for a fraction of the cost. Not only do you save money, but you’re keeping that item out of the landfill.

Hang your clothes to dry. The average household does more than 400 loads of laundry in a year. That is a lot of electricity to dry all those clothes! You can cut this down dramatically by hanging your clothes to dry. In the winter months opt for an indoor drying rack. When it’s warm outside you can move your indoor rack out to a deck or patio, or use an outdoor clothesline. There are many new styles of clotheslines available now that are easily removable when not in use or that can be elevated to keep them out of the way.

Reduce the waste when giving gifts. Instead of wrapping paper, choose newspaper (the comics work great when they’re in color), reusable gift bags or even leftover wallpaper. When you receive a gift packaged in a reusable material be sure to save it for later. Also save your greeting cards and recycle them into gift tags.

Reuse products whenever possible. Have you ever looked at just how much waste your family generates in a one week period? Manufacturers use so much packaging that it is easy for a family of four to have several bags of waste come garbage day. Next time you’re thinking of throwing something out, try and think of ways you can reuse it instead. For example old containers can be used for storage, stained clothing can be used as rags for cleaning and broken hockey sticks make great garden stakes. If you get creative you may be surprised how many new uses you can find for items you thought were trash!

Donate things you don’t use any more. Instead of throwing out items you don’t use anymore, give them to charity. Old clothing, shoes, home décor items, sporting goods and toys are all happily accepted by charities such as the Salvation Army. You’ll have less clutter in your garage and your donation will help families in need....
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