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Earth Day: Five Ways to Help the Environment at Home

It's easy to be green. Learn to help the environment from the comfort of your own home

Earth Day is less than one month away! But there's no reason not to start celebrating early and treating the environment with care each and every day.

There are many things you can do to help the environment at home, whether it be  or seeking out other ways to . Today, we explore five different means of helping the environment (and again reducing your carbon footprint) in and around your own four walls.

1. Switch to a low-flow showerhead. Low-flow showerheads reduce the amount of water used and energy consumed in the shower. While a standard showerhead uses between 5 and 8 gallons of water per minute, a low-flow showerhead cuts that number to an average of 2.5 gallons every 60 seconds. The California Efficiency Partnership has said that 73 percent of our shower water is hot. Think of how much energy is needed to heat your water for a 20 minute shower! The less water you use, the less energy you’ll need to heat that water. And don’t worry. Low-flow doesn’t have to equal low-pressure.  Also consider a low-flow toilet, which, like the showerhead, saves both water and energy.

2. Learn to love your microwave. A microwave oven uses less energy than a conventional oven or stove. The key? Shorter cooking times. And think about all the time spent preheating an oven before it even sees your food! If your portion is small enough and can be microwaved, do just that. But remember to the device when you’re done.

3. Eat local and organic. Get your fruits and vegetables not from the supermarket but from a nearby farm. The food sold in most stores travels an average of 1,300 miles – the distance between Minneapolis and Ronkonkoma – before ever reaching your plate. As you can imagine, to truck your groceries that great a distance takes a ton of energy. Locally grown provisions are a far more energy-friendly option. They are also more likely to be organic – that is to say that they were not raised reliant on pesticides or fertilizers. The result? Less contaminated water and soil which brings about healthier food. Tack on the added benefit that eating local helps your local economy, and there's no reason not to make the move.

Don’t know where to start? For some really tasty, healthy, and local treats, consider joining a neighborhood CSA.

4. Plant some trees. Chances are that you’ve been hearing this one for years, and for good reason. A new tree can add some spice to your yard while “trapping” CO2 emissions and improving the overall air quality, moderating the climate, saving water, serving as a home for animals and so much more.

5. Recycle nature’s way by setting up a compost bin in your yard. Together, yard and food waste comprise approximately 30% of all that we throw in the trash. But this waste doesn’t have to end up in a landfill, nor should it. Composting your organic waste accelerates the natural process of decomposition and returns nutrients to the soil, a fact which will benefit both the soil and the plants which live and grow in it.

david malcolm April 15, 2011 at 06:26 PM
There's no need to settle for a 2.5 gpm showerhead when you can get a high-quality 1.5 gpm device that saves up to 40 percent more water and energy. Modern, high-quality low flow showerheads feel good and rinse just as well. :) Dave High Sierra Showerheads

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