Friday, April 22, 2011

Go Green

Today is Earth Day!

Get outside and celebrate! Today, let's commit to making a lifestyle change for greener living, a healthier planet, and a more sustainable environment.


While we can't all be green experts, simple steps in our everyday lives make a huge difference. Below are YUGA's Top Ten Ways to Live Green - but there are many more. Don't forget to comment below and tell us how you live green every day!

1. Ditch the water bottle.
Americans go through more than 70 million water bottles every day, and only 14% get recycled. Not only are they filling our landfills, but they require huge quantities of oil to make, transport, and dispose. And here’s the kicker: manufacturing plastic water bottles requires two times more water than the bottles will ultimately contain.

2. Go veggie.
Producing enough meat for one hamburger emits the same amount of greenhouse gas as a six-mile car ride. In the US, we eat an average of 8oz of meat every day- more than twice the amount consumed by those in developing nations. According to Environmental Defense, if every American substituted one meal with chicken for a vegetarian meal, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off the roads.

3. Stop the spam.
Do you or your family constantly get spam sent to you in the mail? Click here to have your name removed from direct mailing lists.

4. Hold the bag.
If you were to collect all of the bags you (and your family) received in a week, how many would you have? Reusable sturdy totes are inexpensive and can save a family hundreds of wasted plastic bags each year. If you're purchasing just a few things, opt to carry them out instead.

5. Take-Out Smart
Next time you call for take-out, be sure you know what not to order! If you don’t need napkins, tell them so. If every American gave up one paper napkin a day, we’d save one billion pounds of paper from going into landfills each year. If you don’t need plastic utensils, extra condiment packets, or chopsticks ask them to leave those out as well. China cuts down nearly 25 million trees each year to make chopsticks that oftentimes get thrown away unused.

6. Turn off the lights.
...and the faucet, and the engine (when it's not running). Electricity production generates more than 1.9 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year! Energy to power lights and appliances make up two thirds of all electricity used in the US’s residential sector. Being conscientious about turning off unused lights and appliances adds up quick- and it’s easy to do!

7. Use your dollar wisely.
Choose reusable instead of disposable. Buy items made from recycled materials, and support companies with sustainable and eco-friendly practices. Green companies are easy to find, and your dollar helps create demand for even more eco-friendly products.

8. Clean green.
Are you doing more harm than good when cleaning your house? Abrasive household cleaners do a number on the environment, and can make indoor air up to five times more polluted than the air outside! Disinfectants and other chemicals washing down our drains contaminate more than two-thirds of U.S. streams. Opt for a nontoxic cleaner, or make cleaners yourself. Click here for ideas and recipes for cost-effective, homemade cleaning supplies.

9. Take a shower
While a relaxing bath is nice once in a while, the average 8-minute shower uses less than half the amount of water; a typical bath uses 30 to 70 gallons, but an 8-minute shower uses only 17 gallons. If your family is purchasing new appliances or fixtures, make sure they're energy efficient too.

10. Beautify the neighborhood
Get outside and beautify your entire neighborhood by planting trees, bushes, and flowers. According to Carbon Footprint Ltd, each tree planted can offset your environmental impact by ‘breathing’ in around 1 ton of CO2 over its first 50 years!

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