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Top 5 Things to Do

There is so much information out there about how to create a green home, which is great news, as it offers us tons of ways we can pitch in. However, sometimes that awareness can also be overwhelming. Here are some tips to help you remain focused and upbeat while doing your part to repair the earth (and prevent any more damage).

1. Take it one room at a time.

Focus on making a few small changes each day or each week. Many modifications, like turning off lights when you leave a room or putting a lid on a boiling pot, can be made immediately, cost nothing and are just a matter of getting used to. Other easy fixes include switching to CFL rather than incandescent bulbs and wrapping your water heater in an insulation blanket to stop wasting heat.

2. Repurpose your old items.

Avoid functional fixedness, the belief that an item can only be used for one purpose. Many products you have lying around your house, although you’ve been using them for years for one specific function, can be creatively repurposed and saved from the landfill. For instance, instead of throwing out a plastic strawberry carton, cover it with pretty paper and use it as a gift box. If you have kids, get them involved. Perhaps create a family competition to make the challenge more fun. See who can come up with the most uses for a certain item.

3. Understand what green means.

As we all know, knowledge is power. Educate yourself, ask questions and read labels. Talk to people, and read magazines and books on the subject of green. If you don’t know what an ingredient is, ask. And, if you’re not sure if something’s really organic, don’t buy it. Gather ideas, and start implementing as many as you can.

4. Rethinking recycling.

This is one of the most basic actions you can take to turn your shade of green up a notch. Make sure everyone in the house knows where plastics, aluminum, glass and paper goes. Go beyond the usual sorting by reusing plastic bags, rubber bands and much more in imaginative ways. It will certainly get your creative juices flowing. (And, if you need some help, do a Google search).

5. Go back to basics.

Perhaps mother did know best. Some of the biggest green secrets are actually things we’ve known for years. For instance, cleaning with baking soda and vinegar and using cloth rags instead of paper towels are better for the environment, and are what your parents or grandparents probably did. It certainly is interesting to see how much we’ve come full circle.

Posted: 3/21/08

A great resource for going green is a book called Gorgeously Green by Sophie Ulano. It is funny, informative and addresses every aspect of your life from choosing the right organic foods, recycling, the right cleaning products to use and how to give every thing you use a second chance.

  • By Rheanyc
  • on 6/6/08 11:57 AM EST

Good tips - especially the rags instead of paper products one. Don't forget to advise folks to take, remember to use (!) and use and return to a usual, designated place, reusable cloth or plastic shopping bags. The jury is still out as to whether plastic or cloth are ultimately more 'green' in their manufacture. I opt for cloth and have since the 70's because they can be washed and are more pliable.