Earth day is quickly approaching, and what better way to celebrate it than to make yourself a tiny bit less of a nuisance to the planet. Instead of just thanking mother earth on April 22nd, get her something really special this year: less waste. Following are five easy ways to greatly reduce the detrimental impact that you have on the environment.
1. Use rechargeable batteries
If you live in California, you might not even be aware that throwing away batteries has been illegal since 2006. However, this virtually unenforceable law shouldn’t be your sole motivation to keep your batteries out of regular trash cans. Batteries contain a litany of acids and other toxic substances such as lead and cadmium, causing a wide range of ailments in your brain, kidney, and liver, as well as birth defects if ingested while pregnant. It’s always better to use rechargeable batteries versus regular ones, but when it comes time to throw them away, make sure you drop them off at a local household hazardous waste center.
2. Switch to fluorescent lights
Fluorescent lights use a quarter of the amount of energy that incandescent lights use, not only cutting you a break on your power bill but reducing the amount of fossil fuels that power plants must burn to generate the electricity in the first place. Although fluorescent lights contain mercury, it is only a few milligrams, and is compensated for by their much more efficient use of electricity. Just be sure to drop them off at a household hazardous waste center along with your batteries.
3. Stop using water bottles
We all love to get a giant pack of water bottles from Costco, but the truth is that even though the plastic is recyclable, most of us will throw them in regular trash cans, sending them away to take up more valuable space in already packed landfills. Instead, try using a tap water filter… not only does this save you money and eliminate plastic waste, but it also discourages the amount of water (albeit in a very small way) that the water bottle companies are taking out of the environment.
4. Get new internet
No, that wasn’t a typo. Although it’s not one of the first things you think of when someone tells you to “go green,” the type of internet that you use does have an impact on the environment. If you have cable or fiber optic internet, then chances are that someone has dug miles upon miles of holes in the ground to lay copper or fiber glass wire just so you can check your facebook. However, if you switch to internet like this , you almost completely eschew the use of landlines, saving miles of earth and future plant growth from being destroyed.
5. Use less paper
This is one that has been hammered into our head since most of us were in elementary school. However, people still are a lot less than efficient when it comes to being conservative with their paper use. If you carry a notepad, try using the one on your phone or tablet PC. An average person uses about 700 lbs of paper a year – this is not only as bad as it sounds, but is really quite ridiculous in a day and age where everything is digitized.
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