Monthly Tips / Info

Monthly Recycling Tips and Information

 


Hot Water Heater Savings
Lower the water heater thermostat to the lowest level that meets your hot water needs (midway between ‘low’ and ‘medium’ settings on many units). Each decrease by 5º C in water temperature can save you 5%.



Reduce the Number of Lights
User fewer bulbs in multi-bulb fixtures. Most users don’t realize that one strong bulb is more efficient than several weaker ones. (ie: a single 100-watt bulb uses the same amount of energy as four 25-watt bulbs, but emits about twice as much light.) And it uses less energy than two 60-watt bulbs, but yields approximately the same light.



Use Natural Light
Make the most of natural daylight. There is no better source of light than natural daylight. You may need to rearrange some things to make the best use of daylight, but its well worth the change. Consider adding a skylight to bring more sunshine to dark areas.



Care For Your Hot Water Tank
Drain a pail of water from your natural gas hot water tank every 3 months, or as recommended by the manufacturer, to remove sediment that prevents heat transfer, lowering the unit’s efficiency.



Use Fewer Bulbs
User fewer bulbs in multi-bulb fixtures. Most users don’t realize that one strong bulb is more efficient than several weaker ones. (ie: a single 100-watt bulb uses the same amount of energy as four 25-watt bulbs, but emits about twice as much light.) And it uses less energy than two 60-watt bulbs, but yields approximately the same light.



Help Recycle Paper
By recycling 1 ton of paper: you reduce water pollution by 35% and air pollution by 74%; you save 4,800 kWh of energy, the equivalent of the average power consumption of one household over a seven-month period; you save 16,330 gallons of water; you can make 11,324 simple rolls of bathroom tissue or 3,569 rolls of paper towels.



Save Water
Check toilet for leaks by dropping dye tablets or food colouring into the tank. If colour appears in the bowl without flushing, there’s a leak that should be repaired (saves 200 gal./mo.) It is not uncommon to lose up to 100 gallons a day through a leaking toilet.



Decorating for Christmas
Decorate your home with all natural ornaments such as holly, cedar boughs, cranberries, popcorn and fruit. They are all compostable, plus they look very festive!



Rain Barrels
Collect rain water in an old barrel or other large container that is outfitted with a spigot and a suitable cover, and use the water on your garden. Use this water as an alternative to turning on the hose for newly transplanted material, window boxes, flower pots and container gardens. Rain water is actually better for your plants as it does not contain any chlorine and is at ambient temperature. Keep your rain barrel covered to prevent mosquitos breeding and for safety reasons.



Switch to Compact Flourescent Bulbs
Change the three bulbs you use most in your house to compact fluorescents. Each compact fluorescent bulb will keep half a ton of carbon dioxide out of the air over its lifetime. And while compact fluorescents are initially a lot more expensive than the incandescent bulbs you’re used to using, they last ten times as long and can save $30 per year in electricity costs.



What to Look For
Look for recycled content in the products you buy. Better yet, look for items that use post-consumer content, which means the item is made from materials found from community recycling programs – maybe even yours!



Cutting the Grass the Easy Way!
When you’ve finished mowing the lawn, relax! By mowing regularly at the proper blade height you can leave the clippings on the lawn. They will disappear and enrich the soil. No more bagging and dragging!



A Different Kind of Air Conditioning
If you have west-facing windows use window tints, blinds, deciduous trees or trellises to help keep out the intense summer sun. You will also lower your summer air-conditioning bill by planting trees and bushes along the west side of your home.



Standby Power
Reduce "standby power" (this is the energy used while an appliance or a piece of electronics is switched off or not performing) at home and at work. The easiest way is to unplug appliances that are not being used. You can also plug your appliances into power surge protector strips (with multiple electrical outlets) and turn the power off at the strip.



Buy in Bulk
Try to avoid products that are packaged for single use (canned cat and dog food, juice boxes, school lunches, candy, salad dressing, etc.). Instead, buy in bulk and transfer the products to your own reusable containers. Many health food stores have bulk bins where they sell everything from cereal to grains to cleaning products.



Paper Choices
In general, try to buy products/containers made from recycled material as often as possible to support the recycled product market. When purchasing paper products (toilet paper, etc,), look for paper that has been recycled using a minimum of 50% post-consumer waste. Also, purchase from companies that do not use chlorine to bleach their paper products.



Think Before Buying
Think before you buy any product. Ask yourself do you really need it? How did the manufacture of this product impact the environment and what further impacts will there be with the disposal of the product (and associated packaging materials)? When you are thinking about buying something, try the 30-Day Rule – wait 30 days after the first time you decide you want a product to really make your decision. This will eliminate impulse buying.



Shopping Bags
If you have to bring home a shopping bag, use them as garbage bags, or donate to a businesses that will reuse like thrift stores. Don’t just throw them away. Get into the practice / habit of carrying your own bag (preferably a cloth or mesh one) with you when you plan to shop.



Reduce Your Holiday Waste
Avoid buying food or presents with excessive packaging, don’t accept a plastic bag every time its offered, and use rechargeable batteries – not disposables – for all toys, electronics and other battery-operated gift.



Precycling
Precycling is the step before recycling. This is the process of making a conscious choice to purchase or use products and services which will have a less harmful effect on the Environment.



Halloween Recycling
Once Halloween is over, recycle your pumpkins, the straw you used to build scarecrows and any other organic material by composting it. The compost can be used as fertilizer for your garden.



Recycling in Schools
Urge schools to provide environmental education and to teach about source reduction, recycling, and composting. Also, where available, use recycled paper for letters home, trip diaries, homework drafts, toilet paper, etc.



Pack a Waste-Free Lunch
Many of the pre-packaged lunch items available today offer a convenient way of getting lunch made, but they come with the environmental cost of lots and lots of packaging.  Instead, purchase (or rummage around your house to find) a reusable lunch bag or box, and reusable containers for the food and drinks.  (When looking for backpacks and lunchboxes, avoid PVC plastic, which may contain lead.)  

Then get creative and make fresh, healthy lunches for your kids, using items from your own garden or the local farmers’ market.  Get the kids involved in planning and preparing.



Let the Sun Shine In
Rather than using electricity – open curtains and let the sun shine into your home during the day. The sun is the brightest and least expensive source of light available.



Rain Water Collection
We all know that when it rains, it pours; but with the right rain barrel, all that rainwater can be saved! Water conservation is important because it decreases the high demand for domestic water in which residential irrigation can account for up to 40% of consumption. By collecting rain water and storing it in rain barrels you’ll have water for future use, whether it’s for watering the garden or just keeping it handy for emergency situations. 



60 Ways to Go Green
Want to know how you can reduce your carbon footprint and be more ecologically friendly as a family? Although this is a UK based guide, it still has some practical tips that will help the environment!

60 ways to Go Green



The Green Guide
Looking for a site that explains how you can make a difference day to day? The Green Guide from National Geographic does just that. It offers a good balance between indepth articles and simple tips.

Visit the Green Guide



Natural Easter Egg Dyes
Easter is coming and you’ve got your free-farmed or organic eggs—so why not dye the shells naturally, too? There are a number of vegetable- and fruit-based dyes that offer a broad range of beautiful colors and are better for you and the environment than artificial colors.

The following materials will give a range of intensities and surface textures to create a unique Easter egg basket or tree. Measurements where given are approximate; play with additional spices, vegetables and fruits for different results. Canned vegetables will work in place of fresh or frozen, but their colors will be paler. Also, herbal and black teas will give you varying shades of greens, reds and browns.

Pink/red:
Pomegranate juice, red onion skins, beets or the juice from pickled beets, pickled red cabbage juice, chopped rhubarb stalks, cranberries or cranberry juice, raspberries, red grape juice

Orange:
Yellow onion skins, paprika

Dark orange:
Chili powder

Yellow:
Orange or lemon peels, carrot tops or shredded carrots, celery seed, ground cumin, ground turmeric

Green:
Spinach

Greenish yellow:
Yellow Delicious apple peels

Blue:
Red cabbage, canned blueberries or blueberry juice, blackberries, purple grape juice

Lavender:
Small quantity of purple grape juice, violet blossoms plus two teaspoons of lemon juice, small quantity of red onion skins

Brown/tan:
Dill seeds, black walnut shells, strong or instant coffee, tea



The Month of Love
February is the month where love is celebrated, usually in the traditional way of red roses, red-ribbon wrapped chocolates, and red heart-shaped Valentine’s cards. Here a few more tips.

    • Instead of driving to a restaurant for a Valentine’s Day dinner, take mass transit or cook a romantic dinner from home.
    • Bake cookies or other goodies for your valentine and package them in reusable and/or recyclable containers as gifts.
    • Buy cards that use recyclable paper, send e-mail cards, or make your own.
    • Buy organic flowers or live bushes, shrubs, or trees that can be planted in the spring.



Treecycle
Christmas trees can also be recycled to use as mulch around the landscape. You can chop or grind smaller branches for wood chips to use in flower, tree and shrub beds. Larger branches can be cut into smaller bundles for winter protective mulch around newly planted perennials and small shrubs. Be sure to remove the branches in spring, when the plants begin to grow again.

Many communities have special pick-up service for discarded holiday trees. The trees are usually chipped up for use as mulch in parks and other city properties. Check local newspapers, or call the local street department for specific information in your area.



Reduce Your Waste
Avoid buying food or presents with excessive packaging, don’t accept a plastic bag every time its offered, and use rechargeable batteries – not disposables – for all toys, electronics and other battery-operated gift.



Precycling
Precycling is the step before recycling. This is the process of making a conscious choice to purchase or use products and services which will have a less harmful effect on the Environment.



Enjoy Autumn
Spend time in nature – it not only reminds us what we’re fighting to protect, but it boosts serotonin levels and has been proven to speed recovery among the sick and improve attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in kids.



Avoiding Harmful Substances
Cut out toxic pesticides, carcinogenic and hormone-disrupting chemicals by buying organic food, shampoos, deodorants, etc.



Strike a Match
Just the thought of flicking a Bic is enough to make Willie Nelson drive his biofuled bus off a cliff. The plastic casing and butane in lighters are made from Petroleum. Matchbooks are made from recycled paper.



Reducing Dependance on Batteries
Reduce toxicity. Recycle your batteries and use batteries with reduced mercury. Try to use rechargeable batteries or eliminate use of batteries entirely e.g. use a wind up or solar flashlight or radio.



Recycling in Schools
Urge schools to provide environmental education and to teach about source reduction, recycling, and composting. Also, where available, use recycled paper for letters home, trip diaries, homework drafts, toilet paper, etc.



Being Careful with Water
Pay attention to how you use water. The little things can make a big difference. Every time you turn off the water while you’re brushing your teeth, you’re doing something good. Got a leaky toilet? You might be wasting 200 gallons of water a day.



Let the Sun Shine In
Rather than using electricity – open curtains and let the sun shine into your home during the day. The sun is the brightest and least expensive source of light available.



All Purpose Cleaner
Use hot water, soap and borax, or use 1/2 cup "washing soda" per bucket of water. Avoid ammonia, which attacks your lungs, and chlorine which forms cancer causing compounds when released into the environment.



Glass Cleaner
Use alcohol to remove residue commercial glass cleaner. Then a mixture of 50% white vinegar and 50% water. Glass cleaner emits ammonia mist, which you breathe. Ammonia is a poison that usually has no warning label.

 

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