Go Green – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

// April 1st, 2012 // Go Green, Uncategorized

Many people are under the impression that it has to cost a lot to go green at home. While some things like solar panels, skylights and LED lights may be quite expensive, there are other ways to go green by simply changing the way you do things around the house.

Here are some ideas, on how you can help our environment:

  • Turn off lights when you leave the room.
  • Don’t turn on lights at all for as long as you can – open your curtains and enjoy natural light.
  • Switch your light bulbs to CFLs (compact fluorescent light bulbs).
  • Do an energy audit of your home (go to www.energysavers.com for ideas and advice).
  • Click here to see if you can sign up for green power from your utility companies.
  • Switch one appliance to an energy efficient model (look for the “energy star” label).
  • Turn off your computer completely at night.
  • Unplug unused chargers and appliances.
  • Lower the temperature on your hot water heater.
  • Wash laundry in cold water instead of hot.
  • Line dry your laundry.
  • Fix leaky faucets.
  • Buy an inexpensive reusable water bottle, and stop buying plastic disposable bottles.
  • Make a goal for yourself to strive for five-minute showers.
  • Drive the speed limit, and combine all your errands for the week in one trip.
  • Even better than driving the speed limit, walk or ride a bike to do errands that are two miles or closer.
  • Support your local economy and shop at your farmer’s market.
  • Use cloth rags, instead of paper towels to clean your kitchen (you can use old towels, or t-shirts to make the rags).
  • Pay as many bills as possible online.
  • Put an end to unsolicited mail – click here sign up to opt out of pre-screened credit card offers. While you’re doing that, make sure you’re on the “do not call” list (www.donotcall.gov), this will not only save trees, but it will make your life less stressful.
  • Donate to, and shop at thrift stores (not only will you be recycling your usable items, but you will also be helping support community programs and your local economy).

When you hear the term “Going Green”, it is almost always followed with “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”. To “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”, is simply a system of waste management. Let’s take a look at each of each of those activities, and what they mean to you.

For starters, you should start by Reducing your use.

  • Simply things- keep only what you use on a regular basis. Take all your unused items and donate them, sell them, or give them away. By simplifying your life, you naturally reduce what you buy and in turn, reduce what you waste.
  • Buy used products. Purchasing used products eliminates waste because the packaging has already been disposed of.
  • Reduce your use of “disposable” products. While these things may be convenient, they produce a lot of waste. Purchase reusable items instead (like razors, containers, bags, diapers, etc.)
  • Borrow things. Instead of purchasing something like a tool, borrow it from a neighbor or friend (just make sure to return it).
  • Share with others. Take magazines, newspapers, and books that you have read to work, or give them to a friend.
  • Go “digital” – instead of buying books or newspapers, look for on-line alternatives. Consider downloading your movies or music, instead of buying CD’s or DVD’s. Pay bills on-line, instead of writing and mailing a paper check.

After you have found ways to reduce your use, find ways that you can Reuse your waste. The possibilities are endless, but here are a few things that you can reuse:

  • Plastic bags
  • Plastic water bottles
  • Plastic containers
  • Aluminum foil
  • Freezer bags
  • Cardboard boxes
  • The blank side of a piece of paper that you previously printed on
  • What about reusing your food scraps for a composting bin?

The last part of the program is Recycling. Not only can you help the environment, but you can also put extra cash in your pocket by doing some research and recycling such items as:

  • Aluminum cans
  • Plastic bottles
  • Glass bottles
  • Printer cartridges
  • PC’s, laptops, and other office equipment
  • Cell phones
  • iPods and MP3 players
  • Car batteries
  • Digital cameras
  • Game consoles and games
  • CD’s of DVD’s
  • Books
  • Copper
  • Brass
  • Just about any type of scrap metal can bring you money

Now that you are interested in going green, here are a few websites that have some fun, helpful, interesting, and even fashionable ideas:

http://hautenature.com
http://www.swapstyle.com
http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/green-guide
http://www.freecycle.org

Why Recycle Electronics ?

Most people understand that our landfills are getting bigger and bigger and are currently filled with many items that have no hope of decomposing in the next few hundred years! However, another significant problem is toxic waste from electronic equipment dumped in landfills.

Nearly 2 million tons of used electronics, including computers and televisions are discarded each year. An estimated 128 million cell phones are retired from use annually and the trend shows no signs of slowing! As a result, electronics have become one of the fastest growing portions of our trash!
This waste can cause terrible health problems in humans and animals. These devices contain various levels of toxic substances such as lead, cadmium, mercury and chromium. They also may have heavy metals and chemical flame retardants in them.

The health problems caused by these substances as they leech into the groundwater, surface water or the air (if illegally dumped and burned) can range from brain damage, developmental problems, cancer, nervous system damage and endocrine disruption.
So the question is, “What to do with old useless televisions, computers, cell phones, ipods, digital cameras?” and the list of electronic items goes on and on! These products can be taken to a variety of local drop off recycling sites in Indianapolis where the recyclers take the items apart and separate out plastic, metals, electronics, batteries, aluminum and copper. After separation each distinct type of recyclable is sent to a different processing center to be remade into new components using their individual materials.

There are various drop-off sites depending on what you are trying to recycle. Simply doing a Google search of “recycle Indianapolis” will lead you to many topics and local recycling opportunities.

If you are looking for an easy place to drop off your electronic things for recycling see Mark Killgo at: E-Green Recyclers 5240 Crawfordsville Road, Indianapolis, IN 46224 (about 1/2 mile west of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway) or phone them at 317-328-0766. If you are a business with a large amount of used electronics you can call Mark and arrange for them to come to you to pick up a truck or trailer load of recyclables.

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