Posts Tagged ‘reduce’

Steps Gwinnett Can Take To Go Green

December 8, 2010

Waste Creation and Reduction Facts
There are over 100 million homes in the United States and about 400 thousand tons are waste are produced each year in the US. Since over 75 percent of waste is recyclable, if each home recycled 10 percent more of their waste than they do now, 40 thousand tons of waste would be saved each year.

Recycling at Home

Recycling is the most common way for reducing waste and can be easy to do at home. Several states and cities have a recycling program in place and all it takes is requesting a recycling bin. Go to the specific state’s recycling website to see how to get a recycling bin for the home. Not all states and cities provide curbside pickup. There are many different kinds of recycling programs.
Here are some examples of products frequently used in the home that are and are not recyclable. Note that this list differs in different ares.
Recyclable Goods
  • Paper towel rolls
  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Plastic food containers
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Anything with the recycle symbol
  • Notebooks and printer paper
  • Phonebooks
  • Paper grocery bags

Non-Recyclable Goods

  • Paper towels
  • Toilet paper
  • Paper food containers
  • Pizza boxes
  • Wax paper and glossy paper
  • Caps to bottle containers
  • Plastic grocery bags

Reducing Waste at Home

Reducing waste is another great way to minimize the harmful effects excess waste has on the earth. Buying products with less packaging is a creative way to reduce waste. An example of this is buying a two liter bottle of soda instead of a six pack. When it comes to junk mail, unsubscribe to unwanted mail so there is less paper being sent out. This creates less waste on time and resources.

Plastic Bag Consumption and Solutions

Plastic grocery bags are another huge waste problem. The Wall Street Journal reported that the US uses 100 billion plastic shopping bags per year which takes 12 million barrels of oil to produce. Reduce grocery bag waste by bringing reusable bags to the grocery store.

Reusing Products at Home

Reusing products can be a resourceful way to reduce waste and save money. Reusing those plastic grocery bags is an original way to reuse products. These bags can be used in a number of ways like lining small garbage bags in bathrooms, holding wet clothes after a day at the pool, holding dirty clothes after a vacation, or carrying food and drinks to a party or barbeque.
Plastic food containers, such as soft serve butter containers, can always be washed out and used as food storage containers instead of buying more plastic containers. A more creative way to reuse household items is keeping envelopes sent inside unwanted junk mail. These will reduce having to buy more envelopes.

Recycling, Reducing, and Reusing Goods at Home

Implementing these easy and useful tips at home can make a big impact on the amount of waste produced each year. Composting can revitalize soil instead of throwing the food in the trash where it will never decompose. Reusing plastic grocery bags or not getting those at all will cut down on the amount of landfill waste and save millions of barrels of oil each year.
Here is a list on other easy ideas for cutting down on waste of all kinds in the home:
  • Turn off lights in rooms that aren’t being used
  • Take shorter showers to reduce water waste
  • Keep the A/C on 78 in the summer and the heater on 68 in the winter
  • Wash only full loads of laundry
  • Wash only full loads of dishes
  • Sweep instead of vacuuming
  • Put a sweater on instead of running the heat
  • Don’t let the water run when washing hands or brushing teeth
  • Only take out the trash when the bag is full
  • Turn off TVs when not in use
  • Use environmentally friendly cleaning products
Green In Gwinnett Area – Keeping Gwinnett Green and Sustainable
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Getting Started Going Green in Gwinnett

February 26, 2009

You’ve decided you want to live a more eco-friendly life? Great! Are you feeling a little overwhelmed? Maybe you see all of the things you can change to be more green, and you don’t know where to start. Or maybe you’re on a tight budget and you simply don’t have the money to completely revamp your life. That’s okay! There are some simple, inexpensive things you can do to live a little more green. The first step is to decide why you want to go green. What is your main concern? For many people, they are worried about carbon dioxide and climate change, and they want to reduce their carbon footprint. Others are concerned about waste filling up landfills and want to start recycling. Still others are worried about chemicals in their home environment and want to start using green cleaning products or buying organic food. You might be concerned about all of these issues and more, but there is probably one thing in particular that has really convinced you it’s time to go green. Start with that one and you’ll be able to stick with your lifestyle changes easily, because they will be important to you.  Let’s look at some of these green goals and see how to get started.
So you want to reduce your carbon footprint
With carbon, climate change, greenhouse gas, and “carbon neutral” being such popular buzzwords these days, you can’t help but think about how your lifestyle is affecting the planet. A great place to start is with a Carbon Footprint Calculator. This will estimate how much carbon you personally put into the air each year. There are tons of calculators on the Internet, I like the one at http://www.climatecrisis.net/takeaction/carboncalculator/.
Now, that you know your carbon footprint, how do you make it smaller?
  • Adjust your thermostat. Is your AC set so low that your family wears sweaters around the house in August? Using less energy to heat and cool your home can definitely change your carbon output, AND save you some money. You can also open blinds in the winter to let the sun heat your home naturally, and close them in the summer to help keep it cool. When it’s nice outside, open windows and screen doors can let in fresh air and nice temperatures. A programmable thermostat is an investment in your home that will pay for itself in energy savings. They are very simple to install yourself.
  • Drive less. This one can save you money as well! Remember this summer, when gas was scarce here in Georgia, and we all tried to drive as little as possible? You don’t have to go to those extremes, but being mindful of how much you drive is important. Could you walk to any of your destinations? Can you carpool with anyone? My husband drives from Duluth to Athens for school, carpooling has saved us a ton of money! When you go out to run errands, take a minute to plan the most efficient route. It will save you both time and gas. If you’re lucky, you could even talk to your employer about working from home once or twice a week, and see the gas savings really add up!
  • Turn it off. How many lights are on in your house right now, in rooms that no one is occupying? I will admit, I am terrible about leaving lights on! Turning them off can save your electric bill and the planet. Also, you’ve probably heard that some of your electronics use “vampire power”. This means they continue to draw electricity even when they’re switched off. TV’s are notorious for this one. Unplugging these power hogs can save a lot of money. You can also plug them into a surge protector with a switch so you can turn several items off at once (for instance, if you turn off your TV, you can also turn off your DVD player and video game console).
  • Recommended reading for footprint reduction: An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore.
What if trash is your main concern…
Landfills take up huge amounts of space, and a lot of perfectly good stuff ends up in them. How can you cut down on the amount of garbage you send to them? The three R’s, of course!
  • Reduce. This is really the most important thing you can do to cut down on waste. Think about ways you can create less garbage in the first place. Are you using disposable plates and cups just for the sake of convenience? Using paper towel for household jobs that could be done with a washable, reusable rag? If you don’t make any other green changes, then at least start bringing tote bags to the grocery store instead of getting plastic bags. Trust me, you’ll be glad when you don’t have a giant pile of plastic bags sitting in the garage! Some stores, like Whole Foods, give you a credit for bringing your own bags ($0.10) while other stores like IKEA charge for using plastic bags. Reusable totes are $1.00 at many stores, but I bet you’ve got tote bags sitting around in a closet that would work just fine.
  • Reuse. It’s easy to find ways to reuse things around the house. Pasta sauce jars can be washed and used to store rice and pasta. Yogurt tubs and even toilet paper rolls can be used to start seeds. Every time you throw something away, try thinking of a way to reuse it. Remember that if you don’t have a use for something, someone else might. For instance, UPS Stores (in Dacula, Snellville, Lawrenceville and many other places in Gwinnett) will take foam packing peanuts for reuse.
  • Recycle. Recycling has never been so easy! Most, if not all, garbage haulers in Gwinnett offer some sort of curbside recycling for items like cans, bottles, and newspaper. The Recycling Bank of Gwinnett should reopen soon, and they accept many items that curbside recycling doesn’t pick up. There are a lot of other places in town that accept various things for recycling. The post office in Duluth, for instance, has dumpsters to recycle phonebooks and magazines. Many groceries stores accept things like plastic grocery bags and egg cartons. Visit http:arth911.com to find out where to recycle near you. You’d be amazed at all the recycling going on in Gwinnett! I found ways to recycle ink cartirdges in Buford, car batteries in Lawrenceville, and newspapers in Grayson.
  • Recommended reading for recycling fans: Living Like Ed by Ed Begley Jr.
Are you worried about chemicals all around you…
This seems to be an especially big concern among parents. Folks who never thought about what was in their cleaning products or food realize, when they have children, that they don’t know what most of these chemicals are or how safe they are.
  • Switch to green cleaning products. There are so many eco-friendly options out there, and they work just as well as traditional cleaning products. These days there are also plenty of green options that aren’t too expensive either. Detoxing your home can get overwhelming, the trick is not to replace everything at once. Use up the cleaning supplies you have, and gradually replace them with greener options as you restock.
  • Organic foods. Organic foods can be pricey, but you can prioritize your purchases. You can find out which foods tend to have the most pesticide residues, and which ones have the least. That way you know which foods it’s more important to buy organic and which ones you can probably stick to conventionally grown. Try this guide for starters http://www.foodnews.org/walletguide.php .
  • Beauty products.  Natural beauty products have gone mainstream, with both Target and Wal-mart selling many brands of bath and beauty items with natural and organic ingredients. Trust me, this stuff will work just as well, if not better than their chemical counterparts, plus you’ll be able to pronounce all the ingredients! I visited the Wal-Mart in Suwanee just this week and I was really impressed by the natural and organic beauty brands they carry.
  • Recommended reading for a non-toxic home: Organic Housekeeping by Ellen Sandbeck.
I hope this guide will give you some good suggestions of easy ways to go green. Do you have anymore easy green tips? Post them in the comments!