Happy Earth Day!
What are you doing to celebrate? Even if you just adopt one thing to change in your everyday habits (like vowing to let your hair dry naturally once a week or making sure to unplug your phone charger after every use), you’ll be making a difference.
INTERESTING & HEART ACHING “EARTH DAY” FACTS:
- 14 billion pounds of trash is dumped into the ocean every year
- It takes 90% less energy to recycle aluminum cans than to make new ones
- 84% of all household waste can be recycled.
- Each year billions of used batteries are thrown away in the United States. This constitutes 88% of the mercury and 54% of the cadmium deposited into our landfills.
- The garbage in a landfill stays for a for about 30 years.
- In 1995 over 200 of the world landfills were full.
- Each person throws away approximately four pounds of garbage every day.
- Most families throw away about 88 pounds of plastic every year
- Each gallon of fuel releases 20 pounds of carbon dioxide into the air.
- Recycled paper requires 64% less energy than making paper from virgin wood pulp, and can save many trees
- Approximately only 10 percent of every landfill can be cleaned up.
- Fur coats often come from endangered animals, it’s best not to buy them.
- We each use about 12,000 gallons of water every year
- Here is an example of the water we use everyday:
- 3-7 gallons for toilet
- 25-30 gallons for tub
- 50-70 gallons for a 10 minute shower
- 1 washing machine load uses 25-40 gallons
- 1 dishwasher load uses 9-12 gallons
- Here is an example of how long it takes some things take to break down:
- plastics take 500 years
- aluminum cans take 500 years
- organic materials, take 6 months
- cotton, rags, paper take 6 months
(Thanks to www.planetpals.com for the interesting facts)
HERE ARE SOME FUN AND CREATIVE WAYS TO REUSE, REPURPOSE, AND REFURBISH:
- Bring paper & plastic bags with you to the store to use again. Or purchase a couple different fabric bags; one for meats, one for veggies, one for others.
- Shop at thrift stores or consignment stores to create your dream wedding with re-used vases, bird cages, candles and china and much more for wedding decor.
- Reuse boxes and shipping materials to package gifts or to ship other items.
- Reuse paper as scratch paper. Always write on both sides. Set your printer to print on both sides.
- Rinse plastic storage bags with soapy water and use them again (turn them inside out to rinse and let them dry inside out). My mom taught me this one!
- Save rainwater and the water from kids’ swimming pools to water your garden and lawn.
- My favorite: Shop at thrift stores and yard sales to buy gently used clothing, furniture and various accessories.
- Buy used books.
- Keep your handsoap dispenser and refill it when it is empty.
- Save pasta sauce, jelly, pickle and olive jars (and their lids) to use them to store sugar, flour, pasta, leftover soups, stews, pasta meals, art, or office supplies.
- Save tin cans to use as planters for kitchen herbs and/or other smalls plants or to store screws, nails, nuts, bolts, etc. in the workshop or garage.
- Don’t throw out your children’s stained and/or outgrown clothing. Jeans and sweats can be made into cutoff shorts. Shirts can be set aside to be used as painting smocks and clothing to get dirty in when doing household chores.
- When doing home improvement projects, go to a building materials salvage yard to reclaim needed materials. Habitat for Humanity has hundreds of ReStores across the country that specialize in building materials and appliances that have been salvaged from homes that have been remodeled and/or rebuilt.
- Use wood from old barns, mills, and houses as flooring, trim, furniture, etc.
- Use broken pieces of concrete in a similar fashion as flagstone for pathways.
- Use environmentally friendly products to strip and stain furniture that has been scratched or damaged.
- Update outdated furniture and kitchen cabinets by upgrading the hardware (knobs, drawer pulls, hinges, etc.)
- Use slipcovers to enliven sofas and chairs.
OTHER FUN WAYS TO GOING “GREENER”:
- Follow fun green blogs to learn how to turn trash into artistic treasure, to learn about fun ideas to decorate your home, or what creative things can be re-cycled and re-purposed for wedding decor and can be multi-functional by incorporating it into your home.
- Host SWAP parties. My friends and I do this and it’s fantastic. Get together and bring all your “unwanted items” (clothes, frames, shoes, dresses, lotions, house hold items) and trade out with other people’s things you want. Beyond being economical, this is a great excuse to clean out your closet, and a swap party with your friends is more fun than a yard sale with a stranger.
- Switch all your lightbulbs to CFLs (or at least switch a few).
- Create a homemade compost bin for $15.
- Plant an herb garden. It’s good to have a reminder around of where our food originates, and this one is super easy.
- Wash laundry in cold water.
- Turn off your lights and lamps when you leave the room.
- This is my BIGGEST pet peeve: Buy an inexpensive reusable water bottle, and stop buying plastic disposable bottles.
- Pay ALL Your bills online. Not only is it greener, it’s a sanity saver.
- Make your own household cleaners. Learn how to by purchasing this on your Kindle or e-book.
- Use cloth napkins.
- Turn your water heater down & take shorter showers. This will lower your water bill too.
- Here’s a big one, for all my mommy friends out there, SWITCH to cloth diapers. Or at least do a combination with disposables. Even one cloth diaper per day means 365 fewer disposables in the landfill each year.
- Walk or bike to work.
- Buy locally raised, humane, and organic meat, eggs, and dairy whenever you can. Purchasing from local farmers keeps money in the local economy.
- Go online to find new or gently used secondhand products. Whether you’ve just moved or are looking to redecorate, consider a service like Craigs List or FreeCycle to track down furniture, appliances, and other items cheaply or for free.
- Recycle your cell phones and keep electronics as long as possible.
- Set your thermostat a few degrees lower in the winter and a few degrees higher in the summer to save on heating and cooling costs.
Fun Earthy blogs to follow:
- Me. Jana Marie Photography. For the creative and big hearted bride and groom planning their big event on an aware and kind budget, or for the artistic family.
- My good friend Kelly with re-Event
- Greenability Magazine. Living well, by living green in Kansas City.
- I Like Orange. Modern sewing, quilting, & needlework. Crafty re-usable ideas!
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