The Billings Outpost

On Earth Day, 10 easy ways to save planet

ICF International

1. Compost your garbage. Biodegradable waste, such as food scraps and yard clippings comprise about 25 percent of landfills. Compost at home and nurture your garden.

2. Reduce your carbon footprint. Leaving your car at home twice a week can cut greenhouse gas emissions by 1,600 pounds per year! To reduce your carbon footprint, try to combine your errands and shopping trips so that you do not have to make as many trips in your car. If you commute to work, ask if you can work from home once in a while, and you’ll reduce air pollution, traffic congestion, and save money. EPA has great info on reducing greenhouse gases on the road.

3. Use reusable dishes. Replace disposable goods with reusable ones. Buy rechargeable batteries and use reusable dishware instead of disposable products.

4. Make it a full load. Run your dishwasher only when it’s full. Don’t pre-rinse dishes (tests show pre-rinsing doesn’t improve dishwasher cleaning) and you’ll save as much as 20 gallons of water per load. When you buy a new dishwasher, look for one that saves water. Water-efficient models use only about 4 gallons per wash. Learn more about using water wisely via EPA’s WaterSense program.

5. eCycle it. Take your old computer, DVD player, or other electronics to an electronics recycling center. Reusing and recycling materials like copper, gold and others saves natural resources and reduces mining and processing. eCycling also helps avoid land, air and water pollution by capturing and reusing hazardous substances such as lead or chromium. Find eCycling centers near you.

6. Head to the dump. On average, each of us creates 4.6 pounds of trash per day, and 55 percent goes to landfills (the other 45% is recycled or incinerated). Take a trip to your landfill to see where your trash goes.

Be an informed consumer — it could influence your habits.

7. Plant a tree. Trees are one of the planet’s strongest natural defenses against carbon accumulation and greenhouse gases. Not only do trees provide much-needed oxygen, but they also use the carbon we create.

8. Wash your laundry in cold water. Most loads don’t need hot water, and 90 percent of the energy used by washing machines goes into heating. The higher the water temperature, the higher the cost to you and the planet.

9. Reduce your energy bill by avoiding peak usage hours. Avoid running large appliances such as washers, dryers, and electric ovens during peak energy demand hours from 5 to 9 a.m. and  4 to 7:00 p.m.

10. Dispose of your pooch’s waste with biodegradable bags instead of plastic grocery bags. You can find biodegradable options at most pet stores. Remember: plastic grocery bags take forever to decompose in landfills, and many end up in our waterways. Want to go the extra mile? Consider composting pet waste.

Copyright 2012 Wild Raspberry Inc.

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