50 Tips to Help Save the Planet (Part 1)
This month’s Modern Salon and special online e-zine “Green Beauty” shows how environmental responsibility translates into good business.
In honor of Earth Month, one of the pioneers of sustainable beauty, Frederic Holzberger of the Fredric’s Institutes in Cincinnati and Indianapolis, shared his 50 Tips to Help Save the Planet with us.
- Replace incandescent lamps with energy smart compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL). If every American home replaced just one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR qualified light bulb, we would save enough energy to light more than three million homes for a year, more than $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gasses equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars. Go to www.energystar.gov for more info.
- Paper or plastic? Neither. Take your own bags to the grocery store. Reusable bags will prevent plastic and paper bags from going into the landfill every year. If you must take a bag, choose paper; it can be recycled.
- Insulate. It will save you money on heating and cooling. Use eco-friendlier materials like recycled paper, denim and plant cellulose. It will increase your home’s value and decrease noise pollution. Get cash back; the Federal Government could rebate you 10% of the price of your installation. Learn more at www.idealbite.com.
- Use your own refillable, reusable travel cup. If you purchase a cup of coffee every day in a disposable container, you create about 23 pounds of waste every year. Also many coffeehouses offer a discount for using your own cup! See www.idealbite.com.
- Use a fireplace to keep warm instead of cranking up the heat. Try using a Duraflame log. It is made without petroleum waxes and uses 100% renewable resources. Natural waxes and oils are blended with recycled wood sawdust and agricultural biomass to produce an all-natural firelog. It burns longer so you won’t need to use as much firewood. Burning Duraflame firelogs saves 1.2 million trees from use as firewood each year. Go www.duraflame.com.
- Install programmable thermostats. They automatically adjust your homes’ temperature settings, allowing you to save energy while you are away or sleeping. When used properly you will save about $150 a year. (www.energystar.com)
- Use soy or beeswax candles. They are made from a renewable resource, and are completely biodegradable. They emit no carcinogens, and burn much cleaner than paraffin-based candles. And soy and beeswax products support farmers.
- Use a donation linked credit card for the Earth. Each time you make a purchase you donate money to an organization that will help the Earth. Earth Rewards MasterCard contributes 1% to climate projects. To apply visit www.myearthrewards.com.
- Use environmental cleaners like Simple Green or make your own. Simple Green is nontoxic and biodegradable and comes in concentrated formulas so you use less. Simple Green uses easily recyclable and PVC-free packing. Visit www.simplegreen.com or, to find out more about making your own natural cleaning products, visit www.eartheasy.com.
- Reclaim your mailbox. Approximately 62 million trees and 28 billion gallons of water were used to produce U.S. mail for just one year. A full 50% of all U.S. mail is discarded unopened. To eliminate junk mail. . . contact the Direct Marketing Association to be removed from many companies’ mass marketing mailing lists for up to five years. Learn how by visiting http://www.dmachoice.org/consumerassistance.html. See www.globalstewards.org for more.
- Combine trips and errands into one. Consolidate trips to destinations that are near one another. Once you arrive, park and walk between destinations. Save errands for one day and plan your trip so you don’t retrace your route. You not only save gas this way, but reduce wear and tear on your car.
- Fix it! Don’t throw it out and buy a new one.
- Turn off water when you brush your teeth. . . don’t let it run. The average person brushes their teeth for 90 seconds, and the average faucet puts out two gallons of water a minute. So turning off the water when you brush your teeth can save almost three gallons of water. Go to www.ecojoes.com for more.
- Cut down on toilet water waste. Put an inch or two of sand or pebbles inside each of two plastic bottles to weight them down. Fill the bottles with water, screw the lids on and put them in your toilet tank, safely away from the operating mechanisms. They may save 10 gallons of water per day. Be sure at least three gallons of water remain in the tank so it will flush properly. For new installations, consider buying a low-flush toilet which uses one to two gallons per flush instead of the usual three to five gallons. See www.eartheasy.com.
- Recycle. Recycling means taking a product or material at the end of its useful life and turning it into a usable raw material to make another product. While recycling has grown in general, recycling of specific materials has grown even more drastically: 50% of all paper, 34% of all plastic soft drink bottles, 45% of all aluminum beer and soft drinks cans, 63% of all steel packaging, and 63% of all major appliances are now recycled. Get the details at www.earth911.org.
- When washing your hands, use cold water. Every 10-degree drop in H20 temperature saves you 3% to 5% on water heating costs. Most faucets spit out two gallons per minute while you’re waiting for the water to heat up. More at www.idealbite.com.
- Plant trees to reduce your global footprint. As trees grow, they help stop global warming by removing carbon dioxide from the air, storing carbon in the trees and the soil and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere. Trees also provide us with shade, block cold winter winds, attract birds and wildlife, purify our air, prevent soil erosion, clean our water, and add grace and beauty to our homes and communities. Go to www.arborday.org for more about trees.
- Don’t use pesticides, herbicides or chemicals on your lawn. Pesticides are poisons to kill insects, weeds and organisms that cause plant diseases. Many are known or suspected to cause cancer, birth defects, and infertility. They can also damage the brain and nervous system and lungs, kidneys, liver, endocrine and immune systems. Instead, use alternatives such as: corn gluten, hand weeding, hot water and vinegar, weed wackers, and proper mowing and watering. Learn more at www.pesticides.org.
- Start a compost bin. Compost adds nutrient-rich humus which fuels plant growth and restores vitality to depleted soil and it is a natural alternative to chemical fertilizers. Composting can divert 30% of household waste away from the garbage can. A third of landfill waste is made up of compostable materials. Learn how to start your compost bin by visiting www.eartheasy.com.
- Use a cloth instead of a paper towel. Americans send 3,000 tons to the landfill each day. *idealbite.com
- Use biodegradable trash bags. Regular plastic bags take eons to decompose and actually help preserve what is inside. Biodegradable bags degrade in as few as 10 days. If you can’t find biodegradable bags, then purchase bags made from 100% recycled plastic. *idealbite.com
- Use rechargeable batteries instead of disposable batteries. Batteries not only take up landfill space they can leak into the Earth. If you have a choice, plug in the device instead of using batteries. *sharingtheplanet.org
- Buy Energy Star. The next time you need to purchase a new appliance, make sure to purchase products with the ENERGY STAR label. Americans saved enough energy alone in 2006 to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 25 million cars, all while saving $14 billion on their utility bills. *energystar.gov
- Get better gas mileage by following these easy tips: Go easy on the brake and gas petal, avoid long idles, avoid carrying unneeded items in your trunk, avoid high speeds (you improve your gas mileage about 15% by driving at 55 mph rather than 65 mph), use your air conditioning only when necessary, use overdrive, keep tires properly inflated and aligned and get regular engine tune-ups and car maintenance checks. *www.epa.gov
- Unplug appliances or chargers after use. Many appliances continue to draw a small amount of power even when they are plugged in and even when they are switched off. *coned.com