Ten Tips to Go Green
Going green is the in-thing these days. Biodegradable bags, ‘No plastic bag’ days and recycling bins pop up everywhere like mushrooms. If our little island called Earth is heavily polluted and runs out of resources, we’ll have nowhere to go but to live with the destruction that we’ve impounded on ourselves.
1. Say No to Plastic
One way to start is to follow the government’s initiative by using reusable bags when we go out to shop. Some of you might wonder where will you get the plastic bags to line your garbage bin then. Well, the idea here is to reduce the number of plastic bags that clog our rivers. If you really need some bags, you can get just enough until your next grocery shopping while using a recyclable bag for the rest of your shopping. Some plastic bags are biodegradable but it doesn’t mean that we can still continue plastic bags as though it does not affect the earth at all. Some people might think that the solution is to change from plastic to paper but the ugly truth is, paper bags causes as much harm to Mother Nature as plastic bags.
Another way to go green is to switch your monthly bills to e-billing. Even if you print the bills out, it reduces the carbon footprint and paper usage (imagine all those envelopes and stamps). Another advantage to e-billing is that we can practically pay our bills anywhere as long as we are able to access the Internet and make full use of our e-banking accounts.
3. Don’t throw away just about everything
Before throwing anything away, ask yourself whether it is possible to recycle or reuse it. Most of us throw things away when they are torn or stop working but what we don’t realize is that throwing things away adds more garbage to our already choked landfills. Old clothes that are still wearable can be donated to orphanages or can be sold in garage sales for charity, whereas batteries and old newspapers can be recycled. Remember that one man’s trash can be another man’s treasure.
For those of us who have a garden at home, we can start composting our own fertilizer using organic waste like cut fruits, vegetables or even dried leaves. Composting is not as disgusting as it sounds and it actually saves you money and time since you won’t need to go out to buy fertilizer as long as your compost bin is still filled. The compost will be more nutritious for the plants if you add some earth worms into the compost bin, which speeds up the process as well.
5. Gray water system
Most of us know that water is very precious and that we should turn off the taps when not in use, but is that actually enough to maintain the resources? For those who really care about the scarcity of clean water, it’s best if a gray water system is installed in your home. Gray water is water from our house that has been used but does not contain waste (human or animal alike). Recycling gray water like laundry water or water from the sink helps us to reuse water and reduce the need to filter water. The Japanese have systems which reuse the water from the sinks to flush toilet bowls. Their ingenious idea helps to reduce water usage as well as keep the toilets clean.
6. Say no to VOCs
The next time you paint your house, you might want to consider paint that does not contain volatile organic compounds, also known as VOCs. VOCs are hazardous to our health and the environment. These compounds can cause health deterioration in the long run as well as cause soil and groundwater damages. It also causes air pollution and global warming
7. Use less electricity
Some people might think that electrical kettle saves more energy than their stove-top counterparts but it is actually the other way around if we don’t turn off our stove as soon as the water has boiled. There is a lesser loss of energy when an electric kettle is used to boil water but what we don’t know is that there is actually a loss of energy when electricity is generated and sent along its way to our homes. We are still relying on fossil fuels to get majority of our electricity, which is no different from using our gas stoves at home except for the fact that most of the heat energy produced is successfully transferred to the kettle, resulting in lesser loss of energy.
8. Get energy saving appliances
If you’re planning to replace old appliances with new ones any time soon, you might want to consider those with the most efficient energy star models. Appliances with energy stars are considered energy saving and consume lesser electricity than the regular one. Lesser electricity consumed translates into lower electricity bills and you’d even get a rebate when purchasing these energy-saving appliances through the Ministry’s of Energy, Green Technology and Water’s SAVE program.
9. Collect rain water
For those of us who still want to find ways to save as much water as we possibly, can on top of the suggestions given above, try collecting rain water to water your plants or clean your yard with. An ordinary pail will do the trick but you might want to consider a barrel if you want to collect as much rain water as you can.
Instead of driving to the sundry shop a few blocks away, try walking instead. Walking is a mild form of exercise that does not cause major impact on your knees nor your heart. If your destination is less than 30 minutes on foot, try walking there. It saves petrol and gives you the amount of exercise needed without having to go to the gym.