Because Sunday is Earth Day, let’s look at simple ways we baby boomers can help our Mother Earth extend her longevity—just like we try to do for ourselves. It’s too easy to say: “Let everyone else do this.” I try to own up and I figure I’m not doing too badly, but can surely do better.
My fab four must-dos
1. Recycle: Yeah, yeah, you’ve heard it before, but how can we not recycle? First, buy things in recyclable containers. I am so anal about recycling that I recycle the tiny, plastic ring off the recyclable glass-bottled water I buy. My recycle bin is so full each week that I can’t close it, yet I feel guilty putting anything in the trash.
Best idea: If you don’t want a home filtration system, just get a Brita filter and save 300 plastic bottles for every filter you use.
2. Own your bags: I learned this in New Zealand, a former residence. You can buy five long-lasting bags here for under $10. Please put them in the car and make a mental note.
Plastic bags are banned in China and Ireland, among other countries. Recently, The Los Angeles City Council committee on Energy and Environment unanimously approved a plan to ban them. Numbers do vary, but according to one of my favorite sites, Treehugger.com, Americans use 380 billion plastic bags a year and only 10 percent are recycled. How can we? The rest end up in landfills or in the ocean, contributing to the ever-growing Great Pacific Garbage Patch, says the site.
3. Cancel the catalogs: According to another super site, The Daily Green, each year, 19 billion catalogs are mailed to American consumers, using more than 53 million trees and 56 billion gallons of wastewater to produce. Ouch. Here’s a great shortcut to cancellations and unsolicited mail: CatalogChoice.org.
4. Wash and dry your energy bill: As a child in Spruce Pine, N. C., I remember a long backyard clothesline. When I moved to New Zealand, I used to snicker that every single house, no matter its price, also had a line, and several indoor racks—and soon, so did I.
The California Energy Commission says new washers can cut energy by up to 70 percent, saving more than $850 in water and detergent over the life of the machine. They may also get clothes cleaner.
Save these ideas:
- Get a front loader or “combo” that does both tasks.
- Get an Energy Star model.
- Use cold water and “matching” detergent—use the absolute minimum.
- Do full loads.
- Presoak when stains are bad so you’re not tempted to do another load.
Earth hopes you’ll load up on the above tips. She thanks you. Happy Earth Day and many more!
(Photo courtesy: © Dawn Hudson | Dreamstime.com)