Happy April! With Earth Day around the corner, sustainability is on all our minds. If you find yourself interested in being more environmentally friendly, but not sure where to start- this blog is for you! It doesn’t take a lot of money, time, or energy to go greener every day. Try these ten tips to live a more sustainable lifestyle.
- Replace your standard lightbulbs with LED.
Energy efficient light bulbs last longer and don’t give off toxic chemicals or waste energy. Whether you do it all at once, or one at a time, replacing your current bulbs with energy efficient ones is better for the environment and for you. According to Energy.gov, LED bulbs use 75% less energy, and last 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
Composting has a reputation for being difficult, but it’s not. Beginners can start with keeping their organic trash in a rubber bin or bag. Vegetable leftovers, fruit rinds, flowers, and eggshells make great compost. It’s certainly possible to invest in expensive composting machines or large barrels that fit in a backyard, but if these aren’t possible for you, you can still compost for small gardens and windowsill plants. Try to keep an even mix of green and brown, such an equal number of lettuce leaves, watermelon rinds, orange peels, etc. as there are dry brown leaves, sticks, and mud. Aerate and turn regularly and you will have fertilizer in a few months. Watch the temperature; if the compost is too hot or too cold, it will kill beneficial bacterial. Compost will be dark brown and crumbly when it’s ready. If you’re having difficulty getting it to work, try adding worms! They turn garbage into compost the natural way.
- Solar Hot Water Heaters
According to How Stuff Work’s “Top 10 Green Technologies for the Home”, solar hot water heaters use energy from the sun to heat the water in your home. If you own your own home, solar hot water heaters can be an easy way to save money. The hot water stays in an insulated tank, ready for use. While it costs more initially to install these water heaters, water, gas, or electric bills often drop 50-80% after they’re installed. Those who require hot water late in the day often have a gas or electric backup in the evening, reaping the savings during the daytime and storing the water to use at night.
- Dual Flush Toilets
Toilets use more water than anything else in your home! But every flush doesn’t require the same amount of water, so why use the same amount? Dual Flush toilets use different amounts of water for liquid or solid waste and are more efficient at removing solid waste than conventional toilets. They cost around $270, minus labor, but there are also kits available in hardware stores and online which can convert your toilet to dual flush without a plumber.
- Geothermal Heat Pumps
If you own your own home, install Geothermal heat pumps. Central heat and cooling work by exchanging the air in your home with the air outside. In the summer, the system takes cool air and brings it inside while pumping hot air outside. In the winter, it acts in the reverse—bringing in warmer air outside and pumping cold air out of your home. It’s not a very efficient system. Geothermal heat pumps do the same kind of thing, but use air underground, where temperatures are more stable, and air is never too hot or too cold. It’s generally more expensive to install than central heat/air but will offer homeowners 30-40% savings on their electricity in the first year.
- Bring canvas bags to the store.
California charges for plastic grocery bags, but usually there are canvas bags available for sale as well. Pick up a few there or bring them from home and keep plastic grocery bags out of landfills. Over 100 billion disposable plastic grocery bags are used every year, requiring 12 million barrels of oil to produce. Fewer than 1 in 7 are recycled.
Speaking of recycling, most plastic and aluminum items in your home, from water bottles to cans, can be recycled. Look for community recycling programs. Most communities offer recycling with trash pickup and ask for recyclable items to be set out separately in a bin. Follow the directions—if they ask residents to wash out cans first, please wash them out. Stores may have recycling programs too for everything from computers to batteries to motor oil.
- Use Energy Star Appliances.
Energy-efficient technology can make a big difference in home appliances, saving about 20% over regular appliances. Don’t get rid of your appliances for no reason though, keep using them or sell them to keep them out of landfills. But when you’re ready, choose energy star appliances to keep your home greener.
- Use Smart Power Strips.
Even when TVs, computers, and video game systems are turned off, they continue to use some amount of power. They’re called energy vampires because many of these devices don’t really shut down completely, they go into stand-by mode so they can be powered up quicky. Smart power strips cut off the power source from these energy vampires so they can’t continue to sip energy at the outlet. Using one can cut down on bills and save energy. So can unplugging all devices when not in use.
- Drive an Electrical Vehicle (EV).
We may be biased but we love electrical vehicles! EV’s are better for the environment, and they also make it so you never have to worry about those pesky gas prices again! For more on why we love EV’s, check out our blog post 5 Reasons We Love Electric Cars.
Don’t have an EV? Consider carpooling. Riding together means less cars on the road and less smog in the air!
Don’t have a car, or feel like EV’s are not something you can attain? Check out our BlueLA powered by Blink Mobility (Blink Mobility) car sharing service online! Blink Mobility, operated by Blink Charging, is fully committed to providing access to affordable and clean transportation alternatives. This car sharing service is a smarter, greener transportation option in Los Angeles, improving the community and environment one ride at a time. BlueLA powered by Blink Mobility car sharing provides members with fully-electric vehicles for their everyday needs at a low cost. Clean and convenient EVs can be picked up and dropped off at 40 locations around Los Angeles, making the need for your own car the old way of getting around.
Going green can be tricky at first, but the journey to a greener lifestyle is well worth it! Give these 10 tips a try and share with anyone you think can benefit from this list.
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