Peruse these spring-themed and year-round green tips for ways to make even a small difference in helping to save our environment.
This year, consider opting for recycled papers and green cleaning supplies while you start on your spring cleaning. Avoid cleaners containing phosphates, which are extremely toxic to the environment, as well as cleaners containing bleach or chlorine, which tend to be harmful for similar reasons. Vegetable-based cleaners have become increasingly popular and available to consumers across the country. You can also use vinegar as a completely natural way to clean almost anything.
Exercise Outside for a Green Workout
Instead of hitting the gym or using your exercise machines at home, take your daily workout outside for the spring weather. Unplugging saves energy as well as money. You can also combine your commute with your workout by taking a bike instead of other, energy-consuming transportation.
Taking a Spring Vacation? Look into some of the coolest Eco-tourism locations.
Eco-tourism has been an increasingly popular trend amongst the environmentally consciousness, so intrepid spring vacationers should definitely check out this growing industry. Eco-tourism involves select resorts and vacation locales which run and operate green facilities. By purchasing locally they benefit native peoples, and give tourists the opportunity to explore the unique and exotic biospheres that surround these sites.
Many exotic locations, such as Costa Rica and Kenya, have developed flourishing eco-friendly tourist industries and attractions.
As everyone this spring starts spending more time in the sun, pay increased attention to the contents of your sunscreen. Sunscreen has recently been linked to damage of the coral reefs, which are extremely important to the biosphere and are adversely affected by the heavy amount of sunscreen use in the regions where they can be found. They also promise to be an important potential source of future health solutions, information, and disease cures. On top of that, most sunscreen has been found to contain oxybenzane, a substance linked to low birth weight, allergies, cell damage, and hormonal disruption. Avoiding sunscreens which contain these or nanotech substances, which have been associated with deleterious environmental effects and whose effects on the human body may be harmful, is also advised. For more information on smarter consumption of sunscreen, check out one of the many guides for buying sunscreen that are available online through many on many environmental advocacy websites
Eating Green: Superfoods for Spring
One of the best ways to eat green is to buy more local foods, particularly healthier, in-season fruits and vegetables, at your local farmers’ market. Some great nutrient-packed superfoods in season for spring include artichokes, asparagus, spinach, strawberries, blueberries, avocado, and fava beans.
Wash Your Clothes in Cold Water
Up to 90% of energy consumed by washing machines can be attributed solely to heating the water, even though most loads can run with cold water. Washing most of your clothes in cold water, and, whenever possible, hang-drying certain items, can drastically reduce your energy consumption.
Opt for Professional Wet Cleaning
In addition to being one of the most unsustainable practices around, dry-cleaning involves many dangerous chemicals and toxins, including the carcinogen and neurotoxin PERC, which is used by approximately 85% of dry cleaners. So what should you do with all those dry clean only items?
Opting for Professional Wet Cleaning, which involves careful, computer-controlled, item-specific laundering and more eco-friendly chemicals and cleaners, is one of the better alternatives to traditional dry-cleaning. On top of that, equipment and operating costs are actually lower than for traditional dry-cleaning. Another alternative is Liquid Carbon dioxide cleaning, which utilizes no new carbon dioxide emissions, but can be much more expensive than professional wet cleaning.
Commercial Car Washes
Commercial Car Washes are actually greener than opting to wash your car at home. Visiting a local car wash reduces water consumption by 50% or more; on top of that, commercial car washes are required to properly drain chemical-ridden waste water directly into the sewage system, and thus reduces the land’s exposure to harmful chemicals.
Use More Off-Peak Energy
Especially as the weather gets warmer, running high-energy appliances and other energy-guzzling devices at night can have a dramatic environmental impact. Even refueling your car at night is more environmentally friendly than doing so during the day, since gasoline evaporates much more readily into the atmosphere while the sun is still out. Increasingly, energy providers are adopting more flexible energy-rate policies, in order to encourage consumers to use more off-peak energy in lieu of peak-rate energy.
Control Your Thermostat!
Heating and Air Conditioning consume a huge amount of energy and drive up the cost of your energy bills, so adjust your room temperatures, and turn off your heater/AC while you’re away during the day.
One of the best alternatives to an AC that you can turn to is the “swamp cooler,” which consumes up to 75% less energy by using an evaporative air-cooling process.