Going Green

Over the past 50 years or so, humans have been altering the Earth’s climate by emitting large amounts of carbon dioxide or CO2 into the atmosphere. The emissions come from sources including logging, driving cars, and using modern machinery, among other sources. CO2 absorbs heat, causing a warming effect around the world. This effect causes dramatically different weather patterns around the globe. For example, a warmer Earth can mean a warmer ocean, fueling storms and hurricanes which can have devastating effects such as flooding, landslides, and destruction of homes. These side effects are only minor compared to the long lasting effects that global climate change can have on the Earth and its inhabitants.

Many people talk about ways of “going green” such as installing solar panels to fuel one’s home, and purchasing hybrid cars to save gas. However, there are many other much easier and cheaper changes we can make to our everyday lives and still be eco friendly. Here are 5 simple ways:

1.      Bring your own bags to stores instead of getting their disposable plastic ones. Many stores offer a small discount per bag that you bring in, so eventually the bags will pay for themselves. Safeway offers a $.03 discount, Target offers a $.05 discount, and WinCo offers a $.07 discount. (Sometimes you have to remind the cashier.)

2.      Buy recycled or used material. It’s not enough to recycle, we have to “close the loop” by buying necessary products that come in packaging with as high of a recycled content as we can find; if the product itself is made from recycled material, that’s even better. Buying used from thrift stores or yard sales is also a great way of finding what we need, and can be much cheaper!

3.      Reuse before you recycle. While recycling is a good thing since it’s reusing old material, it can take the same if not more energy to create something new out of something old, so if the energy isn’t renewable energy, then the process isn’t very efficient. Before recycling, consider reusing it. Food containers can be very useful for storage, especially as tupperware, and thus taking away the need to buy it, and a lesser demand for new products. (Ziploc bags can be washed by hand, air dried, and reused, over and over!)

4.      Use a water filter and a reusable water bottle instead of buying bottled water. While bottled water companies are trying to cater to eco friendly customers by making smaller caps and using less plastic, it’s still using much more plastic than is necessary. Also, you can go onto your city’s website and read about the chemical contents in the tap water. Some cities have tap water that is safe to drink without filtration.

5.      Use baking soda and vinegar to unclog drains. Drano and other similar products contain very harmful chemicals that should not be poured down a drain, and on top of that, it’s expensive, and the instructions tell the consumer to pour the whole bottle in the drain. If the bathroom or shower drains are clogged, try using a drain snake to unclog the drain first, and if that doesn’t work, the baking soda and vinegar always does the trick. If the clog is really bad, sometimes pouring boiling water down the sink helps to loosen grease or other obstructions.

Heather Matteri

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