Mar 12, 2010


¡Sólo hasta que el último árbol haya sido cortado, sólo hasta que el último río haya sido contaminado, sólo hasta que el último pez haya sido pescado, entonces entenderá el hombre blanco que el dinero no puede comerse!

Profecía india Cree

Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been poisoned, only after the last fish has been caught, will the white man understand that money cannot be eaten!
Cree Indian Prophecy

Mar 18, 2009

Reciclado de PCs, productos de computación y celulares:

HP, en México, para recibir y reciclar equipos de cómputo cobran una tarifa.
www.hp.com/hpinfo/globalcitizenship/environment/
Dell ofrece en México reciclado gratuito de todos los productos de su marca. Para participar el usuario sólo tiene que llenar una forma en el portal de reciclaje de su sitio web. No tiene costo, pero si el usuario cancela hay una penalización www.dell.com/recycle.
Motorola cuenta una campaña permanente de acopio y recepción de pilas y equipos de cualesquier fabricante. Para depositar sus equipos los usuarios deben acudir a cualquiera de los 31 Centros "Moto Assist", ubicados en todo el país www.motorola.com/content.jsp?globalObjectId=7753-10967
Nokia, a partir del 09 inició en México su campaña de acopio y reciclaje de equipos.
El servicio es gratuito para los usuarios y pueden dejar, el los centros autorizados, equipos de cualesquier marca y modelo, así como pilas. http://www.nokia.com.mx/
Cartuchos de Tinta
En las tiendas Office Max hay depósitos para dejar los cartuchos de impresora usados.

Dec 7, 2008

CONSEJOS PARA LA VIDA DIARIA

Imprime estos consejos y pégalos en tu empresa, escuela, casa. Mándalos a tus conocidos.

Cuando vayas al súper, si no compras demasiado, llévatelo sin bolsa, o lleva tu propia bolsa de tela. Cuantas bolsas en la basura puedes evitar si reusas la tuya. Si vas al súper una vez por semana, en 5 años evitaras entre 750 a 1,500 bolsas en los basureros. Compra los paquetes más grandes de alimentos o rellenables, para ahorrar empaque y generar menos desperdicios. Piensa en las consecuencias de desperdicio de todas tus compras. Busca productos ecológicos.

En la generación de la electricidad se genera CO2: Cambia los focos por focos de bajo consumo. Desconecta los aparatos que no uses, usa teléfonos no eléctricos, ten sólo un teléfono inalámbrico, sólo uno se necesita cuando hablas. Apaga la luz cuando no estés en el cuarto. Prende sólo los focos necesarios. Compra focos fluorescentes en lugar de incandescentes. Duran 10 veces más y gastan menos electricidad. En un año recuperaras en ahorro el costo extra. Un solo foco fluorescente evita que media tonelada de CO2 llegue a la atmósfera.

Usa, reusa, recicla. Usa las notas de compras para recados, folders usados del trabajo para la casa. Usa las hojas por los dos lados y ajusta la impresora para impresión rápida -en borrador para documentos no importantes, usa impresoras de injección de tinta-ink jet, en lugar de laser, que gastan hasta 90% más energia. Compra papel reciclado y sin cloro (el papel no es blanco por naturaleza), ajusta los márgenes de los documentos en la computadora para usar menos hojas. Dona tus computadoras y equipos a instituciones de ayuda, escuelas, iglesias. Compra productos de companias responsables que los reciclan, como HP, Dell, Toshiba. Compra laptops, con pantalla LCD: usan menos de la mitad de electricidad que una computadora de escritorio.

Usa tazas y cubiertos no desechables en la oficina, aunque tengas que lavarlos. Si usas desechables, que sean de cartón y si no, de plástico preferentemente que de unicel. El unicel es el mas contaminante. Usa servilletas de tela, o al menos recicladas. Cuando te quedes en un hotel, usa las sabanas y toallas varias veces.

Planta árboles. En la ciudad abundan los espacios vacíos donde puede vivir un árbol. Un árbol absorbe una tonelada de CO2 durante su vida. http://www.botany.org/PlantTalkingPoints/CO2andTrees.php http://www.treesftf.org/about.htm http://www.plant-trees.org/ Una persona (si incluimos auto) genera entre 15 y 20 toneladas de CO2 al año, dependiendo del tipo de auto. Esto significa que si queremos ser responsables de nuestros efectos, debemos plantar alrededor de 20 árboles (grandes) al año. Si tienes muchos árboles alrededor de la casa, estos le darán sombra, estará más fresca y absorberán el calor de otra forma reflejado por el cemento. Planta árboles frutales que te darán el excedente de alimentarte. Ten plantas en interiores: limpian el aire. Compra muebles de fabricantes que usan maderas certificadas, que reforestan los bosques http://www.certifiedwoodsearch.org/

Cuando vayas a tomar un café y te quedes ahí, exige que te lo den en taza y no en vaso de papel, recicla los cartones para lo caliente y bolsas, en lugar de usar una cada vez, guárdalas en la puerta del coche y tómalas cuando vayas por un café. Recicla el periódico, revistas, propaganda. Si cada mexicano reciclara un periódico a la semana, se salvarían alrededor de 12 millones de árboles al año. Realiza tus trámites electrónicamente. Exige que todos tus recibos y estados de cuenta se te manden electrónicamente, no en papel.

Guarda las pilas y llévalas a un centro de reciclado especial. Los químicos de una sola pila pueden contaminar miles de litros de agua. Usa pilas recargables. El vidrio y aluminio son el material mas limpio moléstate un poco y compra productos (como cerveza y agua) en envases retornables. Recicla también envases de plástico, aluminio, cartón. En los EU, el deseo de beber agua embotellada manda 30 millones de botellas al día a la basura; 5.6 millones de litros de petróleo al año para producirlas. ¡Que agua tan saludable! Escoge un gimnasio cerca de tu casa y ve a el caminando, corriendo o en bicicleta. Hay algo de contradictorio en manejar kilómetros de ida y regreso. O escoge una rutina que puedas hacer en casa.

El cloro es toxico y se va por el drenaje a ríos y mares. Usa blanqueadores y limpiadores sin cloro. Trata de no usar productos químicos. Usa productos con ingredientes biológicos y biodegradables. En lugar de destapacaños, trata la bomba; cubetaza; bicarbonato de sodio y después agua caliente.

Comparte tu coche. Comunícate con vecinos de casa u organiza un sistema de transporte compartido en tu empresa con personas que vivan en tu colonia, para generar menos CO2. También te ahorraras el estrés del transito. Una opción mas eficiente para ciudades con mucho transito: Semanas de trabajo de 10horas en cuatro días; se ahorrara el combustible (20%)del transporte y también el estrés. Horarios distintos de trabajo, o trabajar algún día desde la casa (con teléfono, celular, e Internet, no se necesita mas).

Realiza cargas de lavadora con agua fría. La mayoría de la ropa sucia no necesita agua caliente, con excepción de la ropa interior, sabanas y ropa manchada. Ahorraras gas y emisiones de Co2. Usa un calentador de paso, y si tienes uno automático ponlo en piloto cuando no se use agua caliente o apagado si sales de fin de semana. En días calurosos el agua del tinaco se calienta lo suficiente para no necesitar se calentada. Evita la secadora de ropa, tiéndela, úsala solo si no tienes donde hacerlo. Cuando calientes o hiervas comida, ponle tapa: concentra el calor, ahorras tiempo, gas, y emisiones de Co2.

Usa pañales reciclables o biodegradables. Amamanta a tus hijos. No hay procesamiento, transporte ni basura en su producción, y es la leche más saludable.

Apaga tu computadora cuando la acabes de usar en la casa u oficina: no pasa nada. Una computadora prendida por la noche es responsable de una tonelada de CO2 al año. Propón a la dirección de tu empresa o edificio, poner un jardín en el techo. Las plantas absorben el calor de otra forma reflejado por el cemento, filtran el agua de la lluvia de tóxicos y absorben CO2. Junta agua de la lluvia y de la regadera en cubetas, y úsala para lavar el coche o regar las plantas. Riega las plantas después del atardecer. Una gran parte del agua se evapora si se hace durante el día. Las plantas absorben mejor el agua si se hace en tres sesiones de 10minutos, que en una de 30.Ajusta el nivel del agua de los escusados. Instala escusados que tienen la opción de una o media descarga. Una alternativa a esto, para escusados tradicionales o antiguos que no tienen esta opción, es introducir una botella de 1/2 litro llena de agua, al deposito del escusado, y asi se ahorrará 1/2 litro cada vez que se jale la palanca. Usar regaderas que dispersan mejor el agua, y usan menos.

Evita el uso de aire acondicionado en tu auto (y casa, oficina; mejor usa ventiladores). Enfría el coche pero calienta el planeta. Gastas más gasolina y generas más CO2. Usalo sólo cuando estés bajo el sol, sin avanzar en medio del transito, de otra manera baja las ventanas. Maneja eficientemente, sin acelerar ni frenar bruscamente; manten las revoluciones bajas. Checa el color del piloto en el calentador y estufa. Azul significa combustión eficiente. Si esta amarillo necesita mantenimiento. Compra alimentos frescos. Producir comida congelada consume 10 veces mas energía.

Considera seriamente comprar un auto eléctrico-híbrido. Se generan 9 kilos de CO2 por cada galón de gasolina gastado. La diferencia es abismal. 75 toneladas de C02 por cada 160,000km (sin contar embotellamientos) en una camioneta, 40 en un sedan típico y 20 en un Toyota Prius. En carretara usa el piloto automático o cruise control. No dejes el auto prendido si te vas a tardar más de 30 segundos esperando-se gasta más gasolina que reencendiendolo.

Si tienes un jardín grande o rancho, y tienes animales, considera tener una cabra (si, es chistoso). Las cabras comen casi cualquier cosa biológica, así que le podrías dar todos los restos de tu cocina; como una planta procesadora de basura domestica. Otra opción es depositar toda la basura orgánica en un sitio y hacer abono de ella. En lugar de tirar el árbol de Navidad, deshojalo y úsalo como abono. Si fumas, no eches las colillas en la calle. Estas no son biodegradables, tapan las coladeras y matan a animales que se ahogan pensando que son comida. No tires basura en general por la misma razón. Y además, ¿a quién le gusta vivir en un lugar sucio?

Cuando construyas una casa, usa aislantes sobre las paredes, que mantendrán el frió del cemento a raya y se tendrá menos necesidad de calefacción. Usa ventanas aislantes que evitan la perdida de calor o la entrada del mismo.

Productos

CALENTAMIENTO SOLAR DE AGUA
El utilizar un sistema de calefacción solar de agua genera ahorros de consumo de gas para su calentamiento hasta del 70%, y reduce la emisión de Co2 a la atmósfera. La inversión realizada se puede amortizar en 21/2 años. Yo propongo el sistema de Modulo Solar SA de CV, 2º lugar del premio Nacional de Energías Renovables CONAE 2006. Certificado con la norma NMX ES-001 por parte de NORMEX en México, por el FSEC en EUA, y por CONAE (Comisión Nacional para el Ahorro de Energía) y aprobado por el INFONAVIT.
Para contacto o más detalles, escribe a pablonia@yahoo.com

Detergente Sparkling para ropa, 100% biodegradable
A diferencia de la mayoría de los productos biodegradables que sólo se degradan parcialmente. Muy rendidor: 4 litros alcanzan para 160+ cargas estándares. Para casa o tintorerias. Es neutro, sin químicos agresivos y de buen aroma, para ropa blanca o de color.
Para contacto o más detalles, escribe a pablonia@yahoo.com Muestras disponibles para el Oeste del DF-Edo Mex. ( Polanco, Lomas, Tecamachalco, Herradura, Interlomas)

Directorio de Servicios y Productos Sustentables
http://www.laspaginasverdes.com/

Consultoria especializada en sustentabilidad corporativa
http://www.nvm.org.mx/

Urinales/mingitorios que no usan agua ni químicos
http://www.urimat.com.mx/

Regadera ahorradora de agua con buen flujo
http://www.cumnda.com/

Leche de Soya -Silk-

Ademas de ser una leche saludable y mas digerible, esta marca, la produce con energía del viento. Disponible en supermercados.


Productos solares y de viento domesticos, generadores de electricidad

http://www.sunforceproducts.com/

http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&search-alias=automotive&field-brandtextbin=Sunforce

http://www.appliedmaterials.com/products/solar_3.html

http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&search-alias=tools&field-brandtextbin=Windmax

http://www.greenpower4less.com/index.html

http://greenhome.huddler.com/products/windmax-500w-hybrid-wind-turbine


Noticias sobre energía renovable http://mail.elsevier-alerts.com/go.asp?/bEEA001/mOLVFW8/u17X4PW9/xQ4VOW8

Negocios/Distribuidores http://www.appliedmaterials.com/ Busca distribuidores para sus productos. Escribir a Marius Kloppers, BHP Billiton Plc para más información pbhpbilliton@live.co.uk

Tesis: Economía, Medio Ambiente y Desarrollo Sostenible, México 1997, UIA disponible para consulta/copia. pablonia@yahoo.com

Plumas biodegradables de bioplasticos, hechas de polimeros de maiz:

www.sustenta.com Catálogo de productos, regalos y alimentos ecológicos

Green Advices from "Living Green" VI

These advices are from "Living Green" calendar 2008, from http://www.pageaday.com/

virtual staples
The staples you use to fasten pages together can be dispensed with altogether. The steel industry is resource-intensive, generating even higher levels of stack emissions than waste incineration.
do your part: Eliminate this bit of steel consumption altogether and simplify the task of recycling the papers. http://www.thinkgeek.com/ and other online vendors now offer a stapleless stapler that does the job with a clever cut-and-tuck method.

after the roses
Your pleasure in receiving holiday flowers may be tempered by the feeling that there’s nothing to do with the vases and baskets but throw them out. Instead, try phoning local florists to see if they can use these containers. Many are glad to have them. The flowers themselves can be composted.

dryer savings
Never overdry your clothes—it wastes energy and is hard on fabrics. Correct settings for your machine help it to run the proper length of time. If your dryer has a moisture sensor (more dry/less dry), be sure to use it. This gadget can reduce energy costs by 10 to 15 percent, and may make your clothing last longer. Also, use the machine’s cooldown cycle if it has one.

use it twice
Get extra mileage out of all those holiday greeting cards piling up around the mantel; save the fronts and recycle them as thrifty thank-you cards or gift tags. For unique wrapping paper, tape the covers or pages of magazines together; newsprint tied up with twine also makes for a heartwarmingly rustic package.

your cup of tea
Measure the water you put into the teakettle. By using only as much as you need, you can cut the heat needed in proportion to the unused water. Also, choosing a whistling kettle prevents you from heating water longer than necessary.

oil well
One quart of oil leaked into groundwater can pollute 250,000 gallons of water. If you change the oil on your own car, never dump the old stuff on the ground or into storm sewers, and don’t put it in the trash, even in sealed containers. Contact your local sanitation authority for information about recycling it. If a garage handles your oil changes, ask them to take part in a recycling program.

promoting volunteerism
The most motivated employees in many companies are also the ones who give freely of their time for worthwhile causes. Help steer this impulse toward environmental organizations by offering special perks for volunteers, or even just instituting procedural changes that make it easier for coworkers to take part.Some examples: comp time for work with environmental groups, travel reimbursement for workers serving such groups, and matching funds for employee contributions.

sound off
Don’t hesitate—if you see pollution in the place you live, report it to your state environmental protection agency or to the federal EPA. Write your elected officials to support legislation that protects the environment. And organize with others of like mind to help with the issues that matter most to you.

not in the pot
Your toilet is not a wastebasket, and it’s wisest not to use it that way. Disposable diapers and tampon applicators are among the many items that sewage treatment doesn’t treat. All too often, they pass through the system and wind up in waterways and on beaches.

nontoxic from the start
Dispose of leftover toxic household products properly. Better still, don’t buy them in the first place. Nasty chemicals—nitrobenzene in floor polish, phenol and cresol in disinfectants, ammonia in glass cleaner, and so on—are common in such products. Many can be replaced with relatively mild substances such as vinegar, baking soda, borax, cornstarch, and lemon juice.
do your part: Check out the EPA’s EnviroSense fact sheet—Safe Substitutes at Home: Non-toxic Household Products (http://es.epa.gov/techinfo/facts/safe-fs.html). You’ll find benign and sometimes more effective alternatives to chemical-laden cleansers, polishes, and powders.

abhor a vacuum
The electricity consumption of a conventional vacuum simply isn’t justifiable outside of an industrial context. Brooms have done the job for centuries!

truth in labeling
Green consumerism has enticed many companies to get on the ecological bandwagon. Unfortunately, some companies may be all talk. Label buzzwords like “natural,” “green,” and “environmentally friendly” might have little actual meaning. Look instead for established, reliable certifications such as SCS (Scientific Certification Systems), Green Seal, Energy Star, and the marks of the Chlorine Free Products Association.

note to self

If you’re in the habit of writing yourself task notes on a memo pad and chucking them once the task is accomplished, consider investing in a mini whiteboard—also a good choice in a larger size for business presentations. Be sure to purchase markers without toxic chemicals such as xylene or propylene glycol. An online search for “water-based markers” will help you find the ones you want.

in high gear
When you’ve attained cruising speed on the highway, always drive in the highest possible gear to maximize fuel economy. Some cars with automatic transmissions include a “sport” mode. Don’t use it; this feature sacrifices fuel in favor of performance.

a beacon in the dark
A child’s bedroom can feel a little safer with a night light. The Moonlight Night Light lasts for years, and features 14 energy-stingy LEDs to keep under-bed and closet-dwelling monsters at bay with minimal energy consumption.do your part: Learn more at http://www.smarthome.com/.

sneakers underfoot

Nothing lasts forever, and some things do need to be replaced periodically. In a wonderful example of a company taking responsibility for its environmental footprint (no pun intended), Nike will take back your worn-out athletic shoes. Their innovative program grinds up old shoes and converts them into surfaces for athletic fields and tennis courts, and padding under hardwood basketball courts.do your part: See http://www.nike.com/nikebiz/nikebiz.jhtml?page=27&cat=reuseashoe& to learn how you can turn in your old shoes.

a cup of your own

Bring your own mug or thermos into the coffee shop. In some places you’ll even get a discount—a dime at Starbucks, a quarter at Espresso Royale.The real savings: You can eliminate the use of a PET (polyethylene terephthalate) disposable plastic cup outright.

keep your seat
Don’t give up on your furniture just because the upholstery is wearing out. Many serviceable sofas, chairs, and love seats are broken up and sent to the landfill, or even burned, every year. Reupholster them or put on slipcovers to extend their useful life, or give them away to someone in need.

organic woolens

It’s a little easier to find USDA-certified organic wool garments than it used to be. The Organic Wool Network brings together suppliers who raise sheep without synthetic hormones or pesticides, on land that’s not overgrazed. The sheep must also receive organic feed and be under continuous organic management from the last third of pregnancy onward.do your part: At http://www.treehugger.com/files/2005/10/organic_wool_ne.php, you’ll find a list of sources for organic woolens including sweaters, coats, socks, and baby togs and blankets.

low salt
Sidewalk salt can harm your lawn and garden; it also runs off into storm sewers and can contaminate rivers and streams. Remove ice manually with a chopper or shovel, scatter sand or ashes for traction, or use a gentler chemical like calcium chloride.



Green Advices from "Living Green" V

These advices are from "Living Green" calendar, from http://www.pageaday.com/
(Next set of advices will be published in the beginning of January)

what not to recycle
Some consumer items can’t be easily recycled, among them carbon paper, stickers, laminated paper, and mixed or layered plastics (identified by the number 7). Check with your recycling service or municipality about what they won’t accept, and try to avoid purchasing those items.

loud and proud
If you’re making the effort to use recycled paper in your office publications, why not let your audiences know about it? Include a boldface note reminding them that the document is “Printed on Recycled Paper”—it’s just possible that you’ll inspire others to do the same.

at the threshold
Install door sweeps to close off that energy-leaking gap between door and floor. Even using a draft blocker or a rolled-up towel can help.

green plastic
Credit cards are an ever-present manifestation of the consumption trends largely responsible for the deteriorating state of our planet. Flip the paradigm on its head by choosing a card that delivers benefits in the form of green contributions.do your part: You’ll need to research this subject to find a choice that suits your needs, but you can find one possibility at http://www.workingassets.com/creditcard; the Working Assets card racks up a donation of ten cents per purchase to a wide range of charities, including environmental organizations.

a winning flush
If your toilet dates back further than the mid-1990s, it’s probably wasting water every time you use it. Those manufactured since then are required by law to use just 1.6 gallons a shot. But not all low-flow toilets are created equal; see http://www.cuwcc.org/uploads/product/MaP-5th-Edition-Revised-10-6-05.pdf for helpful ratings of popular models.do your part: If everyone replaced current toilets with today’s low-flush types, the country would save more than 900 billion gallons of water annually.

air cleaner
A simple way to improve your car’s gas mileage is to maintain the air filter. A dirty filter results in a “richer” mixture of air and gasoline, cutting into combustion efficiency. Change single-use filters every 12,000 miles; if you have a washable or reusable filter, clean off the dust and bugs at intervals recommended by the manufacturer.do your part: Replacing a clogged filter can improve gas mileage up to 10 percent.

tread lightly
When you hike at high altitudes or latitudes, watch where you put your boots. The native plants in such places grow slowly. If you step on them, they can take years to regenerate—and may not make it at all.

purchasing questions
Ask yourself a few key questions before making any office purchase, be it a printer, a computer, or a telephone. How long will this product last? Can we lease, share, or trade instead of buying? How much energy/materials does it use? Does it include recycled materials? Can it easily be repaired or recycled later? Advance considerations like these will help you make greener buys.

all you need
Many of us are in the habit of using toiletries lavishly—big dollops of shampoo, shaving cream, and toothpaste every morning. It all goes down the drain, to be dealt with by sewage or septic systems. Can you use half as much? Your purchases will last twice as long, you’ll consume half as many containers, and fewer resources will be used in manufacture and water treatment.

untarnished
Want to shine up the silverware for Thanksgiving without resorting to the petrochemicals in silver polish? Just boil a few strips of aluminum foil in a pan with baking soda and put the tableware in the simmering water. Presto—off comes the tarnish. Dry thoroughly and buff to a high gloss.

solar starter
If you’re interested in trying renewable energy sources, solar powering your water heater is a manageable point of entry. An investment of about $7,000 can slice 10 percent a year off water-heating bills, paying for itself in about ten years. Life expectancy of the system is about 30 years. Some states offer rebates of up to half the cost of the unit.do your part: Helpful details on solar water heat are available on the U.S. Department of Energy’s website at http://www.eere.energy.gov/.

packing up
Bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and other shipping materials are practically made for reuse. Set aside a box or area in the office mailroom for storing these items as they come in so they’re available to coworkers. Your office manager will soon see there’s really no need to ever purchase bubble wrap again.

fresh air
So-called air fresheners really don’t improve your home atmosphere; instead, they release chemicals that numb your olfactory nerves or coat your nasal passages with oil. A better answer is investing in a HEPA air filter or opening windows for a cross-breeze.Among the substances in commercial air fresheners: formaldehyde, 1,4 dichlorobenzene, and petroleum distillates. Now what’s that smell?

home cheapo
In your home office, there may be scant need to keep up appearances—secondhand often works great for this corner of the business world. Look for used desks, file boxes, bookcases, and so on when you visit yard sales or used furniture stores. You can limit needless consumption, cut waste, and even save money.do your part: By choosing remanufactured furniture, American business could avoid $93 million in disposal costs. Worldwide, annual material savings from furniture remanufacturing amount to 14 million tons.

pumped
Solar water pumps can move water effectively in many situations without any help from the electrical grid. Surface pumps are best for wells less than 20 feet deep; submersibles fill the bill for deeper wells.do your part: Visit the Alternative Energy Store’s website, http://store.altenergystore.com/Solar-Water-Pumps/c489/, to learn more.

the clean power transaction
Consumers used to be stuck with whichever power company held the monopoly in their home areas. That’s changing: At least 18 states now permit competition in electricity sales, and 15 require power firms to produce part of their electricity using renewable methods. It takes some study, but you may be able purchase cleaner power where you are.do your part: See the Energy Information Administration’s report on the subject (http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/analysispaper/rps/index.html): it lists the 15 states and provides links to their applicable websites. Also, check out http://www.green-e.org/ to identify power companies that are using renewable generation methods.

spay or neuter
The tragic numbers of animals euthanized each year—9.6 million, according to the American Humane Association—is reason enough to help control pet population growth. But there’s more. Feral animals kill mammals and songbirds and have been known to infect wild populations—and they’re often the offspring of family pets. (It’s believed, for instance, that the feline distemper afflicting the endangered Florida panther was transmitted by house cats.) Controlling the population reduces these problems, so make sure you spay or neuter your pet.

foiled again
Holiday cooking seems to spawn a lot of used aluminum foil. It may not have occurred to you, but it can be recycled, just like beverage cans. Check with your local recycling authority. Most want it rinsed off first.

mail order
This time of year, many people buy gifts from direct-mail marketers. Get together with friends, neighbors, and family members to share catalogs, then order from the same sources and have your purchases shipped together to reduce waste.

magazine co-op
Look around your office; chances are the fellow in the cube next to you is reading the very same trade magazine that’s sitting on your desk. Cancel multiple subscriptions and learn to share. Route the journals by affixing a list of your coworkers’ initials to the
magazine’s front cover to make sure everyone gets a turn.

e-greetings
Seven billion greeting cards are sold each year, and many are ultimately thrown away, along with their envelopes. E-greetings are a tree-saving alternative.do your part: Some sources for electronic cards: http://www.e-cards.com/ (part of the proceeds go to World Wildlife Fund and other environmental groups); http://www.hallmark.com/; http://cards.amazon.com/; http://www.123greetings.com/; http://www.bluemountain.com/.

co-op dining
Our nuclear-family-centric culture supports a food production system that favors small quantities heavy on packaging. Though it isn’t always possible to buy your foods in environmentally friendly bulk, Thanksgiving is a good time to buck the trend. Beyond that, think about organizing a dinner co-op with friends and neighbors. Apart from the fun and fellowship you’ll enjoy, the co-op idea enables you to buy ingredients in bulk
and reduce waste every time you gather.

better litter
Commercial cat litter is effective, but the clay in it is a product of strip-mining. Alternatives include litter based on wheat, corn, citrus peel, and recycled newspaper. Some are flushable, which means the leavings are exposed to sewage treatment.do your part: Learn more and see products on sale at http://www.petsmart.com/’s Alternative Cat Litter Section.

holiday lights
Celebrate the fact that light-emitting diode (LED) holiday lights use 90 percent less power than the old incandescent kind.do your part: It’s easy to forget to turn those lights off. Use a timer so you don’t let them burn longer than three hours. Lights left on all day can drive your energy consumption up eightfold.

with these hands
Annual holiday sales in the U.S. amount to more than $200 billion—and there’s no telling how much of the product ends up on the curb. Memorable holiday gifts don’t have to cost a lot of money—and they don’t have to have to consume much in the way of resources. Learn someone’s favorite tune on the piano, promise a month’s worth of back rubs, or issue a snow-shoveling voucher.

multitasking
Though upgrading office equipment means contributing to the landfill, every opportunity to buy is an opportunity to buy greener. Consider replacing single-purpose office equipment with a multifunction system.According to Xerox, an office copier, two printers, and a fax machine use 1,070 kWh of electricity per year; in contrast, one multifunction machine capable of doing all these jobs would use 800 kWh over the same period.

ghosts of christmas presents
With a little planning, you can reduce the heaps of ribbon and wrapping paper left behind on Christmas morning. Reusable gift boxes and bags deliver cheer again and again, and some attractive boxes are gifts in their own right. Those with dainty fingers can try to carefully unwrap the gifts they receive so they can “regift” the paper.

easy does it
Steady, gradual acceleration boosts your car’s fuel economy—according to the federal EPA, eliminating “jackrabbit” starts can reduce fuel use up to 20 percent. So put away those NASCAR fantasies and keep yourself a little safer while you’re at it.

cleaner gold
For all its popularity, gold remains a nasty metal to dig and refine. “The process is hugely destructive and wasteful,” says The New York Times, relying on land-scarring open-pit mining, and on cyanide to remove the metal from the ore. Buy antique jewelry from estate dealers or select baubles fashioned from recycled gold.do your part: Information on recycled gold jewelry is available online at http://www.greenkarat.com/ and http://www.leberjeweler.com/.

chocolate without guilt
While organic chocolate doesn’t metabolize like a stalk of celery, at least it leaves a light footprint on the environment. Green & Black’s, the first organic dark chocolate, is made from cocoa grown in Belize by independent farmers, not plantations, and without harmful chemicals.

batteries not included
By one estimate, 40 percent of all batteries are sold during the holiday season. You can help reduce that number; don’t ask for or purchase gifts that need them.Batteries contain mercury, cadmium, and lead; nearly three billion are thrown away each year.

Aug 27, 2008

Green Advices from "Living Green" IV

telecommuting
Telecommuters say they stay fresh on the job and save lots on commuting costs. They also produce a measurable reduction in each day’s accumulation of smog and greenhouse gases.
With just a tenth of the workforce telecommuting one day a week, more than 1.2 million gallons of fuel would be saved and more than 12,000 tons of pollution kept out of the air.

bad hair day
Many shampoos, including some billing themselves as “natural” or “organic,” contain suspect chemicals: parabens, coal tar, sodium laureth sulfate, and many others. Some of these substances are carcinogenic, and though their small doses may have been proven safe, the cumulative drainage is harmful. Look for shampoos that are genuinely free of these ingredients. Some sites to check out for shampoo: www.terressentials.com (no synthetic ingredients or detergents), www.burtsbees.com (a bar of rosemary-mint-scented hair wash is all natural and also eliminates bottle waste), and www.aubrey-organics.com.

dental hygiene
Choosing toothbrushes with replaceable heads is one more modest way to reduce solid waste headed for the landfill; you toss the head but keep the handle. Old toothbrushes are also worth hanging on to for small, intense scrubbing jobs around the house.
do your part: The manufacturer Radius offers a handle-recycling program for its Intelligent electric toothbrush, which uses one-fifth the material found in other models. The program also takes care of the brush’s batteries. See www.dentist.net for information.

where the rubber meets the road
Ask your mechanic about special tires with low rolling resistance to substantially improve your gas mileage. Auto makers put them on many cars as original equipment because the tires help them meet CAFE mileage standards. Find information (including a product list) at www.greenseal.org.On a Ford Focus, fuel-saving tires can cut gas consumption a cool two miles per gallon. In California alone, where 28 million replacement tires are purchased each year, a statewide switch would amount to an annual gas savings of 308 million gallons.

tune up
Regular tune-ups help your car perform at its best. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, usually listed in the owner’s manual, to get the frequency right. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, an ill-tuned engine can impose a 20 percent energy penalty.

batts in the attic
Insulating your attic is probably the most important step you can take to reduce home energy use. Research the project before you start. Learn what’s best for your house and the local climate, considering such issues as type and thickness of insulation, proper moisture barrier, and ventilation methods.do your part: Visit the DOE website, www.eere.energy.gov, for useful information to get started. Even a house built as recently as five years ago is likely to be one of 46 million under-insulated American homes.

cradle-to-cradle
“Cradle-to-cradle” is a design paradigm that keeps products out of the landfill permanently. It’s great to buy furniture made of recycled materials, but in some ways it’s even better to buy furniture that can be recycled. The Celle work chair from Herman Miller, for example, is made up of 99 percent recyclable materials, and can be disassembled in less than five minutes.
do your part: At www.hermanmiller.com and www.steelcase.com, check out two furniture manufacturers who have embraced the cradle-to-cradle idea in much of their office furniture.

off early
Take advantage of the heat you’ve built up while cooking in the oven. Switch off the oven a couple of minutes early and your dish will continue to cook, with a small reduction in the energy expended.

bamboo underfoot
If you like the look of wood flooring, bamboo may be your answer. It’s widely available in planks that range from blond to caramel in color. And as it’s fast-growing—replenishing itself in less than five years—it’s an appealing alternative to resources like hardwoods.
do your part: The typical cost for bamboo flooring is four to eight dollars per square foot. If you’re laying it yourself, ask the retailer for formaldehyde-free adhesives. If not, look for an installer who uses greener glues.

dryer efficiency
Clothes dryers are more efficient if you clean the lint screen (a necessity for safe operation as well). Also clean and straighten the vent ducting twice annually.
do your part: The three dollars you’ll likely save in electricity costs by following these suggestions may not impress; what matters more is the 200 pounds of carbon dioxide you’ll keep out of the atmosphere.

seasonal eating
A bonus you get from savoring this season’s fresh fruit and vegetables is limited packaging—at most they’ll come in a reusable bag.

on closer inspection
With colder weather on the horizon, an energy audit is an important first step in discovering the many changes you can make to improve your home’s efficiency. Inspectors will examine old electric bills and comb through your house room by room. Many utility companies provide this service free or at low cost.
do your part: See www.hometuneup.com for an index of inspectors in your state, or call your local power utility for information.

the lunch gang
Get a crew together for lunch. If you and five of your coworkers order together, you’ll likely save three to four plastic bags. But delivery often means lots of disposable waste—so encourage the use of washable plates, napkins, and utensils, and save unused utensils and napkins for general office use.

wire service
If it seems like wire hangers are multiplying in the darkness of your closet, make a few calls to local cleaners to see if they can use them; many are glad to be spared the cost of buying new ones. Also check with your recycling authority—some will accept hangers along with other steel items.

home
If your hotel room has room thermostats, individually controlled heating and cooling units, or task and ambient lighting, manage it carefully when you go out—just as you would at home. Thermostats in empty rooms should be set from 80 to 85 degrees in the summer and 50 to 55 degrees in the winter and readjusted when you return.

plastic lumber
Developing markets for recycled goods is essential. Many varieties of lumber recycled from plastic consumer waste are suitable for home-improvement projects such as decks and garden borders. This material doesn’t rot, won’t need paint or stain, and doesn’t require treatment with toxic chemicals as wood can. Using it also means that fewer trees will be cut.
do your part: An Adirondack chair made of plastic lumber recycles more than 240 plastic milk jugs. See more at www.plasticsresource.org.

closing the gaps
Look for places around the house where pipes and ducts penetrate walls or attic floors. These are chronic spots for thermal leaks, and they’re often easy to fix—just pack the gaps tightly with flexible insulation.

inflated benefits
Many cars roll along on tires underinflated by as much as eight pounds, which increases resistance up to 5 percent and takes a toll on gas mileage. Use a tire gauge to check the pressure, and fill the tires as recommended by the manufacturer.

spreading the news
If your office publishes a newsletter, lobby to include a regular green-living tip—it’s a painless way to let your coworkers know about environmentally wise choices.

phosphate free
Phosphates in laundry detergents can easily find their way into waterways, where they promote algae growth. This flourishing plant life consumes the oxygen in the water, leaving none for other plants and animal life. Look for phosphate-free detergents and dishwasher soaps.

nature’s insulations
A range of natural insulations can help you tighten up your house without the use of synthetics, which may contain toxins such as dioxin. Cellulose fiber, wood fiberboard, loose-fill hemp, sheep’s wool felt, or vermiculite can provide good wall insulation. Many include fire-retardant and insect-repellent treatments and are reusable or biodegradable at the end of a building’s life.

nature’s insulations
A range of natural insulations can help you tighten up your house without the use of synthetics, which may contain toxins such as dioxin. Cellulose fiber, wood fiberboard, loose-fill hemp, sheep’s wool felt, or vermiculite can provide good wall insulation. Many include fire-retardant and insect-repellent treatments and are reusable or biodegradable at the end of a building’s life.

fire away
Warming and mellow though they may be, campfires are illegal in many places. They’re irresponsible when there’s a risk of wildfire, and they’re always a source of greenhouse gases. Try eating cold trail food in warm weather, or using a packable gas stove for cooking.do your part: The Snow Peak GigaPower Stove, widely available from online camping suppliers, has been praised by reviewers for its combination of light weight and quick heating.

dressing baby
In their first months, kids grow fast and usually move on to the next size long before they wear out their baby togs. Exchanging with friends, relatives, and coworkers and looking for secondhand bargains are great ways to keep good clothes from being thrown away. You’ll save money, and the wear will probably have softened the clothes nicely, too.

after the scoop
As a responsible dog owner, you’re careful to scoop up what your dog leaves behind. Follow through on that responsible behavior by flushing the waste down the toilet instead of dropping it in a garbage can so it can be properly treated by a sewage or septic system.

jet, not laser
In the office, you’ll save energy when you opt for ink-jet rather than laser printers. (Lasers use more energy to produce the heat and pressure that affix their toner to the page.)The difference is substantial: The ink-jet boasts an operating energy savings of 90 percent.

all aboard
Try to fill your dishwasher completely before you fire it up. Follow the manufacturer’s loading instructions to maximize effectiveness even when the machine is packed, and you’ll run it less often, saving water and energy.

the feeling is mutual
A number of mutual funds work to promote social responsibility while still earning investors returns that are at least respectable. Choosing such a fund can enable you to support responsible firms without the time and risk of making your own investments.do your part: Some funds to consider: Calvert (http://www.calvertgroup.com/), Domini (http://www.domini.com/), Green Century (http://www.greencentury.com/), and Walden (http://www.waldenassetmgmt.com/).

shut down
Turn off your car’s engine if you’ll be waiting for more than 30 seconds. Idling longer than that uses more fuel than restarting.

moderation
Keeping the water temperature at 130°F will do most jobs, killing bacteria while restraining energy consumption. The exception is your dishwasher, which probably has its own heater. For safety, keep that setting at 140°F.

your green voice
Americans go to the polls in about a month. Your vote influences decisions about the environment at the local, state, and federal levels—so it’s time to consider which candidates best represent a healthy planet.

sensory perception
Motion sensors installed in offices can switch the lights on when the room is occupied and off when it’s empty. Even in a small office, these gadgets, ranging in cost from $25 to $75 each, can reduce energy costs by $10 a day.Sensors in an elementary school in Pasco County, Florida, saved 10 percent of the school’s lighting energy and reduced the load on air-conditioning equipment, paying for themselves outright in five years.

rake off
Go to work on the season’s falling leaves with your trusty yard rake, and your emissions are limited to a little sweat. If you use a gas-powered leaf blower instead, you can spew out as much combustion emissions in an hour’s work as a car puts out while traveling 350 miles.What’s more, the car spreads pollution over a wide area—but the leaf blower puts it right in your yard.

no smoking
Health arguments against smoking are conclusive, but the environmental case is also strong. Tobacco, a disease-prone plant, is heavily dosed with highly toxic pesticides; it’s also laved in herbicides and fertilizers, all of which run off into groundwater, rivers, and lakes. Even worse: Tobacco grown in developing countries is estimated to account for the clear-cutting of 200,000 hectares of woodland. If you haven’t already, it’s time to quit.

discouraging termites
Once these damaging pests have colonized your house, it may take powerful chemicals to dislodge them. One low-tech precaution can keep them out: driving bait stations into the ground around your house. (Cheap pine or wet cardboard makes for delectable bait.) Check the stations regularly; if termites appear, salt the bait with a slow-killing, low-grade poison such as a dilute solution of boric acid. The bait is then carried back to the nest, where it does in the queen and all her subjects.

pencil sharpener
Tree Smart makes pencils directly out of old newspapers, without any mulching or chemicals. They wrap the paper around the graphite and bind it with an adhesive that dries hard as wood, so the pencil is easy to sharpen. Funky-looking, too.do your part: One sheet of recycled newsprint makes four pencils. More information is available at http://www.treesmart.com/.

no bagging, no burning
What to do with all those autumn leaves in the yard? You don’t want to burn them, which creates air pollution and risks wildfires in some regions. Dumping them clogs landfills needlessly. An easy answer: Go right over the leaves with a mulching mower, pulverizing them along with grass clippings for a compost-rich lawn feeding.According to the federal EPA, multiple leaf fires in any area can cause pollution similar to that from factories and motor vehicles.

savings afoot
Though not as common as they used to be, shoe repair shops still operate. You can take in your old pair for new heels, soles, or repairs to the uppers—inexpensive fixes that can keep serviceable shoes out of the landfill for months or even years.

feeling pressed
A typical clothes iron consumes as much power as ten 100-watt bulbs over the same period of use. Consider permanent-press clothing that doesn’t need ironing.

never fear
This Halloween, skip the one-shot costume that’s doomed to the trash bin in favor of a rental from a theatrical or costume shop—or better yet, recycle the clothes in the back of your closet. Cut an old sweater into a superhero cape, layer various pieces for a vagabond
look, or vamp it up with an assortment of scarves and sportswear.

compost commons
Many municipalities now pick up yard waste at curbside to compost it for use in municipal parks or for commercial sale. Ask your local government about such programs in your area.

losing weight
If you’re hauling around anything unnecessary in your car—tires or tools in the trunk, a bag in the backseat from your last airport run, a forgotten book under the seat—move it out. U.S. Department of Energy figures show that an extra hundred pounds of weight in your car can sap mileage by 1 to 2 percent.

squirreled away
Many gardeners and homeowners with bird feeders consider squirrels their arch enemies. Rather than resorting to poison or gunfire, purchase a humane live trap and transport the squirrel to the woods.do your part: Learn more about making this work at www.squirrels.org/trapping.html.

degraded
Plastic products such as trash bags that are advertised as biodegradable aren’t as green as they sound. With exposure to sunlight, they will break down, but in the dark depths of landfills, degradation of any product takes place very slowly. You’re better off reusing grocery bags as you can.

joe without dioxin
Dioxin is among the chemicals that go into making bleached coffee filters; a study from Ohio’s Wright State University shows that the chemical leaches into the coffee. Buy widely available unbleached filters, or sidestep paper altogether by going for cloth or gold-plated metal filters.

public spectacles
Your prescription may have changed, or maybe you couldn’t resist a new pair of fashion frames; in any case, you can avoid tossing and wasting your old glasses. Visit http://www.lionsclubs.org/EN/content/vision_eyeglass_recycling.shtml for information about donations. The Lions clean the glasses, classify th
em by prescription, and pass them on to others.

cranking up
While hand-cranked clockwork generators on flashlights, radios, and other small appliances are great for emergencies, they also offer everyday environmental advantages. Use them and save a little wall current and/or the need to buy and dispose of chemical-based batteries. A minute or two of winding a radio will deliver 40 to 50 minutes of playing time.do your part: See http://www.freeplayenergy.com/ for more information, including the pioneering efforts of the Freeplay Energy Group to bring this simple technology to Third World users who lack regular supplies of electricity.

monthly report
Many tampons are bleached with chlorine, leaving enough traces of the chemical behind to worry some health-minded women. But the aggregate effect on our environment has gotten less press; tampons and pads create substantial paper or plastic waste, sending chlorinated compounds—including toxic dioxin—into the environment. Using chlorine-free tampons and pads eliminates this concern.do your part: You can go a step further and get rid of disposable waste altogether with reusable menstrual products. Find details at http://www.gladrags.com/, http://www.lunapads.com/, and many other suppliers’ sites.

green mooching
When you travel, staying with friends is not only cheap, it’s also ecologically responsible. (Be sure you tell them so.) After all, the additional impact of your presence is apt to be small—chances are you’ll be sharing rides, avoiding little toiletries and the waste they generate, not changing sheets every day, and so on. Fair’s fair though—take advantage of these savings when they visit you, too.

fending for themselves
Don’t throw your crumbs to the little duckies. They’ll grow dependent on handouts and cease to forage for their natural diet, which can weaken their survival skills. Eventually, no longer faced with the need to travel to warmer climates for natural food, migratory animals might forget their nomadic ways. And given too cushy an environment, they’re likely to overpopulate lakes, ponds, and streams, damaging the water quality.

in the bag
Lots of bags come your way as a consumer; repurpose them as trash bags and you’re eking out one more use before they go to the dump. Plastic grocery bags make good wastebasket liners (the paper ones are okay, too, as long as there’s nothing wet in the trash). Dog food sacks, made of strong paper and often lined with plastic, make serviceable heavy-duty trash bags.

driving with cooking oil
Unafraid of something really different? Biodiesel offers a chance to get 45 mpg on salvaged restaurant cooking oil. Start with a diesel car (you’ll still burn diesel part of the time). Install a conversion system with a stainless steel tank and heating element to warm the oil so it flows properly to the engine. And enjoy the mild scent of fried food as you drive.do your part: Find conversion kits at http://www.greasecar.com/ and http://www.goldenfuelsystems.com/. Cost: $800 to $1,000, not including installation labor.

no, thank you
Many restaurants have gotten past the wasteful reflex of filling every water glass on every table. (Remember, the glasses will be washed even if the water is untouched, producing a double waste of water.) If you don’t want water, let your waitperson or bus boy know.

Aug 13, 2008

Green Advices from "Living Green" III

one more night
Many hotels ask guests if they want fresh sheets and towels each morning. If you can make do with a change every other day, you’ll save water and energy and reduce the wastewater treatment stream.In one linen reuse program, about 70 percent of guests participated, enabling a hundred-room hotel to reduce its monthly water usage by 48,000 gallons and its detergent usage by 320 gallons.

yes, you can
Aluminum cans are a recycling success story; there’s nothing like an economic incentive to motivate change. While you won’t get paid for steel cans, in many places you can recycle them through curbside pickup. So empty them, rinse them, put the lids inside, and mash them flat if your local recycling authority prefers that.According to a steel industry organization, every ton of steel recycled conserves 2,500 pounds of iron ore and 1,400 pounds of coal.

safe and sane
The brilliant colors in fireworks derive from heavy metals, which can contaminate the atmosphere and nearby bodies of water. Fireworks shot off in dry summer weather can also cause forest fires, wiping out plant life and animal habitat. With the risk of injury they also entail, you may want to leave fireworks out of your Independence Day celebration this year.

pooled resources
Homeowners with backyard swimming pools can reduce heat loss and energy waste by 70 percent by installing a pool cover. Other ways to save: Reduce the water temperature and keep the cleaning and heating equipment cleaned and lubricated for maximum efficiency.

weaned from the bottle
Though bottled water has been associated with healthy living since the 1980s, there’s scant evidence that it’s healthier than what comes from the tap in most places—and it’s certainly more costly. In fact, phalates, which disrupt the human endocrine system, can leach from the plastic into the water and into our bodies. From an environmental standpoint, there’s no doubt that our taste for premium water contributes hugely to the waste stream. Try plain old municipal water in a reusable bottle.do your part: According to the Container Recycling Institute, nine out of ten water bottles end up as litter or garbage—30 million a day. A whopping 1.5 million gallons of oil per year go toward their production.
sunblock
Interior shades and blinds can keep air-conditioning expenditure down when it’s hot out. At the office, suggest the effective solution of applying sun blockers to the outside of the windows—awnings and tinted window films, for instance.do your part: Shades and blinds alone can reduce cooling costs up to 30 percent.“The future belongs to those who understand that doing more with less is compassionate, prosperous, and enduring, and thus more intelligent, even competitive.”—Paul Hawken
ease off the gas
Figures from the EPA and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory show that every mile per hour over 55 costs about 1 percent in fuel economy. Where you can do so safely, ease off and save.
take only pictures
America’s national parks are a priceless treasure. It may be tempting to pluck a flower, but some are endangered, and it’s illegal to gather any plants in the parks. Let a photograph or just a luminous memory be your souvenir.
sun cooked
With a solar oven—a black box heated by the sun—you can enjoy a cookout without burning any fuel. Just take it outside, point it toward the sun, and let it go to work. In direct sunshine, a solar oven can reach temperatures as high as 325°F, but mostly does its job at lower temperatures, like a crock pot. It not only saves energy—it’s also a great way to keep your kitchen cool on a hot summer day.do your part: Learn more at http://www.solarovens.org/.
a sprinkle of savings
Aboveground sprinkler systems use 35 percent more water than in-ground systems and are generally much less expensive. Maximize their effectiveness: Don’t set for a fine spray, which encourages evaporation; don’t water the sidewalk or buildings, and don’t water when the lawn feels springy underfoot.
battery recycling
Sooner or later, all batteries, even rechargeables, bite the dust. When they do, you’ll want to keep them out of the landfill, where they may leach acids and heavy metal pollutants into the soil and groundwater. Look for centers that recycle them instead, and buy only types that you know your center handles.do your part: The Earth 911 website includes an easy-to-use locator for battery recycling sites. At http://www.earth911.org/master.asp?s=ls&serviceid=126, you can search by town or zip code for a location near you.
light discipline
Simply switching off the lights where rooms are unoccupied makes sense everywhere, but square footage makes this particularly important at your workplace.Using a characteristically English basis for comparison, the University of Sussex points out that lighting an empty office overnight can waste the electricity it takes to heat a thousand cups of tea.
a small circle of friends
When you go hiking or camping, try to keep your numbers down. Groups of six or fewer reduce the likelihood of ecosystem damage.
do your part: One hundred sixty million Americans take part in outdoor activities; if you’re one of them, do your best to minimize the impact on the forests and waters you visit.

soap shavings
Instead of throwing away a worn-down bar of soap, put it aside in a bowl next to the sink. When several have accumulated, scrape them into shavings with a cheese grater, and use them for hand soap worthy of the guest bathroom.
solar starter
If you’re interested in trying renewable energy sources, solar powering your water heater is a manageable point of entry. An investment of about $7,000 can slice 10 percent a year off water heating bills, paying for itself in about ten years. Some states offer rebates of up to half the cost of the unit.do your part: Helpful details on solar water heat are available on the U.S. Department of Energy's site at http://www.eere.energy.gov/.
backyard oil spill
Need a compelling reason (other than air pollution) to replace that gas-powered lawn mower with a manual model? Apart from the waste, spilled gasoline can contaminate groundwater and pose a fire hazard.Just how much fuel do Americans spill in their yards each year? According to the EPA, it’s more than 17 million gallons—the Exxon Valdez didn’t dump that much oil.
gaming the system
If your efforts to pry the kids away from their video games have been futile so far, perhaps you can at least involve them in games that get them thinking about more worthwhile subjects. CO2FX, for instance, explores the connection between global warming and political and economic factors.do your part: For more about games that are long on thoughtful approaches and short on violence, check out http://www.thegreenguide.com/.
color me reusable
Whiteboard markers often contain xylene, a toxic chemical best kept out of the landfill. You can keep the whole marker out of the landfill when you purchase refillable AusPens. They last 40 times longer than disposables.do your part: Find refillable markers at http://www.ecostationery.com/.
doin’ that rag
Use dishrags and cloth towels instead of paper towels for kitchen cleanup. It’s not just a question of solid waste: Overall, according to an estimate from the National Zoological Park, the production of paper towels is more than twice as energy-intensive as the reuse of cloth (factoring in washing and initial production).
slipstream
Keeping your car washed and waxed improves its aerodynamic profile, enabling you to knife through the air a little more efficiently.In one test involving a 1,600-mile road trip, this simple expedient resulted in a 7 percent fuel economy improvement.
waste contained
sealable containers for refrigerating leftovers. Yogurt containers are also handy receptacles for nails, screws, and bolts.
hosed
Make sure the fill hose on your washing machine hangs straight down. A kinked hose will likely develop leaks, wasting water and energy, and possibly causing water damage to your home.
germ of an idea
Antibacterial agents have found their way into all sorts of consumer products—soaps, hand disinfectants, shoe inserts, counter wipes, and so on. Though they may sound like the clean, healthy option, they actually kill beneficial bacteria and may promote the development of more dangerous, resistant strains.
pulling the plug
Think your electronics and appliances are turned off? Probably not. Hair dryers, phone chargers, TVs and other devices use energy for display clocks and memory chips all the time.These hidden energy drains account for 5 percent of total domestic energy consumption and send 18 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each year. Unplug them—or make it easier on yourself by connecting them to a surge protector and flipping the switch.
clean and green
A ten-minute shower can expend one-third less water than a bath. You can save still more water and heat with the technique known as the navy shower. (Don’t worry, it doesn’t involve push-ups.) Instead of running a constant stream of water, lather up with the water off, then turn it back on to rinse.
consumer payoffs
Products manufactured with care for the environment are becoming more readily available. Go a step further by buying from companies that also help fund green nonprofits. Here are three among many: Newman’s Own Organics (http://www.newmansownorganics.com/), Ben & Jerry’s (http://www.benjerry.com/), and The Body Shop (http://www.thebodyshop.com/).
time to retire
Americans generate 290 million scrap tires a year. Ask tire retailers, auto mechanics, or your local recycling center if they accept tires for retreading or recycling. Some towns and cities hold amnesty days when you can bring a limited number of tires to a drop-off site free of charge. Among the uses to which old tires are put: paving materials, fuel, and rubber mulch used under playground equipment to cushion falls.
cruisin’
When you travel uncrowded highways, set your cruise control. This mid-1940s invention is not only a boon to poor knees, but also an energy-conscious choice—traveling at a constant speed can produce a fuel savings of 5 to 10 percent.
fast shuffle
Sometimes what a room needs is just a little rearranging—not necessarily a full complement of new furniture. Think about balance, lighting, functionality, and how people move through the space, and reset your chairs and sofas to take better advantage of these details. Then think about the perfectly good furniture you just saved from the dump.
rescheduling
Flexible scheduling at work can make a real difference. A week of four ten-hour days cuts commuters’ fuel consumption by 20 percent. It’s not for everyone, but now you’ve got a compelling argument in hand for a boss with an open mind!do your part: Los Angeles experienced an 18 percent improvement in productivity when city workers were allowed to select their own work schedules.
bring your own
The more distinctive the hotel, the more diverse the assortment of miniature soaps, toothpaste tubes, shampoo bottles, and so on. Convenience aside, these kits create a lot of packaging waste, with most of the toiletries thrown away half-used. Bring your own in reusable containers, and save just that much from the landfill.
wind effects
Turning off your car’s air conditioner can improve fuel economy by as much as 21 percent. So open those windows and embrace your wind-tousled locks.

if a tree falls in the forest
Make it a rule when camping to have as little impact as possible on the woods. Never fell a live tree or cut or hammer nails into branches. Human waste should be buried in holes six to eight inches deep, at least 70 paces from water, trails, and camp. Try to eat all your food, or pack the leavings out with you.
tubeless
The cardboard tubes at the center of toilet paper and paper towel rolls may have some uses in home craft projects—but for the most part, they wind up in the trash. Look for paper products without cardboard cores.do your part: Coreless toilet tissue is available at http://www.gracefulearth.com/.
ozone alert
Ground-level ozone is at its worst in the heat of summer, aggravating asthma and other respiratory problems. If environmental authorities in your area declare an Ozone Alert Day, do your share to help:Don’t refuel your car, or refuel at night if you must.Use an electric starter or charcoal chimney instead of lighter fluid.Postpone using oil-based paints, solvents, or varnishes, or substitute water-based paints.Avoid the use of any gasoline-burning equipment.
take it back
Although a number of computer manufacturers offer some form of recycling, Dell’s program seems to be a standout. Some makers accept their old computers only when you buy a new one; Dell will accept its old models regardless of whether you’ve made a new purchase.

cool air, cool water
Evaporative air conditioners produce condensate water, as anyone who’s been victim to their unpleasant drip can attest. Direct the drain line from your AC unit to flowerbeds, trees, or your lawn for a little free irrigation.

back (and forth) to school
Families share the need to get kids to and from school. Now’s a good time to work out a fuel-saving car-pool plan with other parents in your neighborhood.Besides saving gas and greenhouse emissions, carpooling reduces the wear on cars and helps them last longer.

doggie bag
Don’t neglect the chance to cut packaging waste while caring for your pets. Buy dog food in 50-pound bags and store in a tight-fitting drum or garbage can; buy chew toys and bones without any packaging at all. Forego single-serving cat meals in favor of food with less packaging waste.

beetle mania
Try a chemical-free remedy to the garden damage done by Japanese beetles. Put one application of a milky spore disease product on your grass, and beetle grubs feeding in the soil will become infected and perish before your roses bloom next year. Often in powder form, the product is widely available at garden supply centers.

performing seals
Applying caulk or weather stripping to gaps around doors and windows can reduce energy loss, save costs on heating and cooling, and make your house a more comfortable place to live.do your part: See the Energy Efficiency Resource Gateway of Louisiana’s Department of Natural Resources for more information: www.leeric.lsu.edu.

trash-free lunch
If you carry your lunch to work, there’s no need to produce even an ounce of paper trash. Go for reusable bags or a lunch bag, pack the individual goodies in sealable containers, and take the whole works home with you at day’s end.

drier dishwashing
Most modern dishwashers effectively clean dishes without prerinsing. Just scrape off the larger leavings before you load the washer, and you’ll save both the prerinse water and the energy needed to heat it.

spring into action
Summertime often means that back doors are left open (especially when kids are running between house and yard). Installing spring hinges keeps the doors swinging shut, and closes off the cooler air inside the house to save air-conditioner energy.

flight plan
Avoid night flights if possible. Aircraft condensation trails contribute to global warming, but in the daytime, these “contrails” exert a cooling effect—they reflect the sun’s rays back into space, as do other high, thin clouds. But in the dark, the reflective bounce is absent.

clean sweep
Unless you’re doing heavy construction or operating a restaurant out of your kitchen, there’s really no need to hose down the perimeter of your home. Sweep your porch, steps, driveway, and sidewalks and save the water.

solar brew
On sunny days, brew iced tea straight from the tap or water filter by placing it outside in a glass jar or covered pitcher. The warming water brews the tea nicely, without any fuel consumption at all. And, because you don’t turn on your stove, your house stays just a little cooler.

a smile on your mug
Keeping a washable mug on your desk can save as many as 500 disposable paper or plastic cups a year.

cool move
Spare just a little space around your refrigerator, and you can reduce its operating costs significantly. Allow at least an inch of space on either side and behind the coil to permit free flow of air. This small adjustment can reduce your refrigerator’s energy consumption by as much as 10 percent.

new glasses
Recycled glass is often used in industrial contexts—in sandblasting abrasives, epoxy aggregates, wastewater filtration materials, and “glasphalt” paving, to name a few. However, there are some opportunities for consumers to purchase products identifiably manufactured from recycled glass. Try these websites for dependable and useful products: www.greenfeet.com (mugs), www.abundantearth.com (tumblers), and www.williams-sonoma.com (wine glasses).Each year Americans recycle 38 percent of the 12 million tons of glass they use. There’s no reason the percentage couldn’t grow; glass can be recycled indefinitely, with no loss of quality in the new product.

efficiency
Yes, a hundred considerations influence your choice of an apartment, but here’s one to add to the list: If possible, choose a place in the middle floors. Heating will cost less and use less energy, thanks to shared heat from apartments above and below.

vacation from gasoline
When you’re choosing hotels and resorts, make one of your selection criteria the availability of transportation that conserves fuel—or burns none at all. Ask if a shuttle is available to nearby points of interest, or whether bike rentals are available. You’ll save money on a rental car, and probably get a better taste of the local flavor, too.

teach your children
To carry the work of conservation forward, the next generation must absorb its lessons. Talk to your children about the issues, encourage them to read on the subject, and persuade their teachers to include ecological studies in their curricula. Above all, show them by example how to reuse, recycle, avoid waste . . . and care.

Green Advices from "Living Green" II

These advices are from "Living Green" calendar, http://www.pageaday.com/
nota bene
The backs of spent pages from your Living Green Page-A-Day® calendar (made from recycled paper, of course) make excellent note sheets. They not only reduce your need to expend other paper, but also pass along tips on green consumerism! You can also use the notes from your everyday shopping or the back of office papers that you are done using.

in hot water
In offices, water heaters generally don’t need to be set as high as home units (a dirty coffee mug doesn’t require the scalding water that a greasy pan does). If the heater at your office still has the factory setting of 130° or 140°F, turn it down to 120° and save more than 6 percent in water heating energy.

taken to the cleaners
Commonly called perc, perchloroethylene is one of the main solvents used in dry cleaning. This chemical, linked to a variety of health problems including nervous system disruptions, liver problems, cancer, headaches, nausea, and dizziness, should not find its way into the environment. Many clothes that are dry cleaned could be washed by hand or in a washing machine’s gentle cycle. Or sidestep the issue by simply choosing clothes that don’t call for dry cleaning.The country’s dry cleaners use about 57 million pounds of perc each year, releasing about 12 million pounds of it into the air.

oil gone
Many dishwashing detergents contain petroleum products, an unnecessary use of oil. A vegetable-based dish soap is a greener alternative widely available in natural food stores and even many supermarkets.do your part: If every American household replaced just one 28-ounce bottle of petroleum-based dishwashing liquid with a vegetable-based product, the savings would amount to 82,000 barrels of oil.

thrifty donations
Don’t toss the crop of old clothes yielded by spring cleaning. Contributions to thrift shops and other donation centers cut solid waste and may be tax deductible. And these days, you never know; that old college T-shirt you give away could end up clothing a needy person somewhere on the other side of the globe.

leeward and windward
If spring weather has landscaping on your mind, think about using an old farm trick to guide your tree planting. Plant evergreens on your house’s windy side (usually west) and broadleaf varieties on the sunny side (normally south). That way, you’re catching sun in winter and shade in summer, and you’re screened from harsh winds year round.do your part: Strategic tree planting can reduce home heating and cooling costs by one-fourth.

no ifs, ands, or butts
If you smoke, never drop cigarette butts outside. Yes, they’re ugly litter that can take ten years to degrade. But there’s more: Many land and marine animals die from eating them, and lighted cigarette butts are a common cause of forest and grassland fires.

a graceful exit
Exit signs are small, it’s true, but they’re everywhere, and they’re on all day, every day. By replacing their 20- or 40-watt incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps that draw 10 or 20 watts less, businesses can save 50 percent or more on the cost of lighting the signs.

sustainable seafood
Wise seafood purchases can help sustain threatened populations of aquatic life. If the cost of wild seafood is prohibitive, choose farmed fish that are raised inland, which helps prevent diseases associated with farming from reaching wild fish. Proper farming also eliminates the problem of bycatch—the killing of fish caught unintentionally.do your part: The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch (http://www.mbayaq.org/cr/seafoodwatch.asp) has helpful ideas on seafood sustainability, including regional guides that tell what fish to buy for the least environmental impact.

the energy-efficient mortgage
Special loans are available to consumers who buy or build energy-efficient houses or improve existing homes. Energy-efficient financing may be granted through government-insured or conventional loans; some states offer their residents loan programs. It’s usually necessary to have an energy rater supply a report confirming that the house (or planned improvement) is genuinely efficient.do your part: See the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy site (http://www.eere.energy.gov/) for loan details.

catch the rain
Set out an open-topped barrel or a washtub and gather pennies from heaven—to spend on sprinkling your garden, washing your car, or other activities that don’t require potable water.

nursing an idea
A woman’s stance on breast-feeding involves many considerations—most of them personal. Here’s one more element to consider: The manufacture of mother’s milk requires no combustion, packaging, or shipping. From the point of view of environmental impact alone, it’s hard to beat.

one person’s junk
A spring yard sale can put a few dollars in your pocket and keep a lot of good, usable stuff from the landfill.Boost sales with these tips:Organize stuff by category: kitchen appliances, holiday items, collectibles, furniture, and so on.Offer well-marked bargain boxes or tables.Put up posters, tell your friends, and advertise in local papers or online.Play with a theme. “Desperation Sale” or “Gently Used Goods” can win a smile and a visit from passersby.

the bicycle commuter
If you’re interested in riding your bike to work but your workplace doesn’t feature a shower, join a gym close to your office and use the facilities there.do your part: Eighty percent of bike commuters improve their heart and lung condition in four weeks—and employers benefit from fewer sick days and health insurance claims.

share the wealth
If you qualified for a tax refund this year, consider converting some of that windfall to good works with a contribution to an environmental charity.do your part: Take time to find a group that represents your interests and concerns. These five well-known organizations are among hundreds competing for your support: Clean Water Action (www.cleanwateraction.org/); Coast Alliance (http://www.coastalliance.org/); Friends of the Earth (www.foe.org/); Natural Resources Defense Council (www.nrdc.org/); Sierra Club (http://www.sierraclub.org/).

insulation incentive
While you’re still thinking about taxes, keep in mind that improvements to your home’s insulation can reduce your bill under federal legislation passed in 2005. Homeowners may be eligible for a 10 percent tax credit on insulation purchase and installation, up to a total of $500.do your part: For details, visit http://www.simplyinsulate.com/.

a fair breeze
A growing number of American homes now employ “residential small wind,” turbine generation, to create most or all of the electricity they use. A turbine plus installation runs around $12,000, with a payback time of up to 15 years.The American Wind Energy Association, an industry organization, estimates that up to 13 million homes in North America are situated in climates that could support wind turbines.

disk management
The trouble with using plain old CDs to store music is that you can’t re-record them. Mess up when you burn one, or just get tired of what you’ve recorded, and you have a disk that’s only good for a coaster. Rewritable disks (CD-RWs) are a little more forgiving. Or use an MP3 player and forget the disks altogether.

vegetable ivory
Tagua, a tropical palm tree, produces nuts that closely resemble elephant ivory in look, feel, and carving properties. The difference is that tagua is a renewable product that doesn’t cost the lives of great animals. Buy tagua products and support a worthwhile alternative to the ugly trade in elephant tusks.do your part: Curios, chess sets, Christmas tree ornaments, boxes, and many other tagua products are available from One World Projects (http://www.oneworldprojects.com/).

an earth day resolution
In the U.S., Earth Day has been observed on tomorrow’s date since 1970. A great way to make the celebration your own is to volunteer with one of the many organizations working to safeguard the environment. Or you might decide to set yourself a goal, such as refraining from driving on Sundays or “greening” a particular habit.do your part: http://www.volunteermatch.org/ can help you find green work in your area. Many city governments are also beginning to implement volunteer placement branches.

second chances
Start your family thinking about whether they really need every article of clothing washed every time it’s worn. For socks and underwear, the answer is (definitely) yes; pants and skirts may be okay for a second or even a third wearing. With a little thought, you may be able do the laundry less often, saving water, detergent, and energy.

savings on the line
If it’s feasible where you live, a clothesline is a good alternative to your energy-hungry dryer. When there’s a breeze, your clothes dry almost as quickly, and with a fresher smell than any laundry product can give them.Americans’ dryers are often used as much as 28 hours a month. At that level, they consume up to 140 kilowatt hours. That’s roughly the equivalent of leaving two 100-watt lightbulbs burning for a solid month.

celebrating trees
Plant a tree for today’s national celebration of Arbor Day. Trees are lovely, they cool the landscape, and they absorb carbon dioxide and turn it into life-giving oxygen. Visit http://www.arborday.net/ for a list of state Arbor Day observances and information about how to receive ten free trees for planting.During an average tree’s 70-year life span, it will trap about 1.3 tons of CO2—about the emissions released by a car in traveling from Maine to California.

drip, drip, drip
A leaky faucet may get on your nerves, but it’d make you really crazy if you knew how much water it wastes. A calculator at http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/sc4.html lays it out. For instance, if three faucets each dripped 20 drops a minute, 2,777 gallons would be down the drain each year. So fix the leak.

skeeter defeaters
Mosquitoes aren’t just annoying; they also transmit disease, including the potentially deadly West Nile virus. To stop them without dangerous insecticides, attack their habitat by eliminating standing water (behind clogs in roof gutters, for instance). If draining these spots isn’t an option, drop BTI pellets—which contain mosquito-targeted, larvae-killing bacteria—into the water. For a last-resort option, try a commercial spray containing eugenol, also known as clove oil.do your part: BTI (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis) is available online at http://www.gardensalive.com/

marginal savings
There’s more space on the page than you think. Your computer’s common default settings are 12-point type and 1.25-inch left- and right-hand margins. Try using 11-point type, 1-inch left-hand margins, and 0.5-inch right-hand margins.do your part: This simple change can help you fit 27 percent more information comfortably on a page. You’ll save paper and still have plenty of room on the margins.

size matters
In the last 65 years, the average size of American houses has increased by more than 1,200 square feet—while the average household has shrunk by a person. When buying a house, look for a place that fits your needs. The difference in the resources expended to build, maintain, heat, and cool it can be substantial.

think globally, eat locally
Because produce at farmers’ markets isn’t shipped hundreds, or even thousands, of miles, less fuel is burned in getting it to your table.do your part: Even in Iowa, one of the nation’s foremost agricultural centers, most fruits and vegetables are now imported. If Iowans bought just 10 percent more of their food from in-state, they could avoid 7.9 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions a year.

open up
Sweet spring days are made for open windows—save your air conditioners for the really hot days when you need them most. On average, cooling accounts for 7 percent of household energy use (more in hotter climates). Fans are an energy-thrifty alternative, using a fifth or less of the wattage needed for a window A/C unit. Juice up your fan’s performance by placing a pan of water in front of it.

the big chill
Your refrigerator can account for 15 percent of your home’s energy use. Tame it by setting it for maximum efficiency (typically, 0 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit for the freezer, 37 to 40 degrees for the cooler compartment), or just using the economy switch.

blue light special
Check the color of the pilot light on your gas stove. Blue is the color of efficient combustion. If you’re seeing yellow, it’s time to have the range serviced.

computing efficiency
Including its monitor, a desktop computer may use nearly 110 watts to do its work. Laptops, with their flat liquid crystal display (LCD) screens, are much more efficient, consuming 15 to 45 watts when fully on. Choose the laptop for everyday computing chores, and save space on your desktop, too.

gardening without poison
Many successful gardeners create beautiful flowerbeds and productive vegetable plots without resorting to pesticides. Their tactics for suppressing pests include releasing predator insects, using mechanical methods like water sprays to knock off aphids and mites, setting sticky traps for whiteflies, and more.do your part: Lots of chemical-free solutions to pest problems are available at http://www.gardensalive.com/.

moth repellents
Mothballs contain toxic naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene; they should be disposed of only through a licensed hazardous waste handler or a municipal hazardous waste collection program. Avoid buying them in the first place by protecting clothes in closed bags. Also try these aromatic moth repellents: cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, or whole cloves wrapped in cheesecloth.

outdoors without engines
Enjoy a day outside without resorting to internal combustion (and the noise and greenhouse emissions that go with it). Fish from the bank or in a rowboat, and hike instead of using a trail motorbike. In winter, head out on cross-country skis or snowshoes instead of a snowmobile.

weedkillers
There’s no need to resort to commercial herbicides to get rid of weeds awakened by warmer spring weather. Squirt them with lemon juice or vinegar, or scald them with boiling water. (The toughest ones may need two applications.)

fabric of improvement
Organically produced cotton clothes command a premium price, but their benefits are substantial. Conventionally grown cotton is drenched in pesticides and other chemicals; an average acre of California cotton receives 13 pounds of pesticides and herbicides, plus hundreds of pounds of synthetic fertilizer. Organic cotton growing avoids the runoff that this kind of agriculture produces.do your part: To find suppliers of organic cotton clothing, see this link from Coop America: http://www.coopamerica.org/pubs/realmoney/articles/organiccotton2.cfm.

brain scan
Scanners have become a common office appliance, but in many offices, they’re used only occasionally. Switch yours off when it’s not in use. Scanners in networks can be switched off outside working hours.

take your medicine
The old recommendation that leftover and expired medicines be flushed down the toilet has been superseded. The EPA says many drugs are unchanged by wastewater treatment, so they may harm fish and encourage development of drug-resistant germs. Finishing all of a medicine eliminates the issue, and it’s almost always recommended by the prescribing doctor. You can also check whether your local hazardous waste program will accept expired medicines.

the drive to curb global warming
With summer coming on, many American families think about buying a new car. If you’re among them, consider a hybrid, which cuts both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
The difference in lifetime greenhouse gas emissions is startling—75 tons of carbon dioxide in 100,000 miles for a big SUV, 40 tons for a typical sedan, and 20 tons for a Toyota Prius.

paperless finances
Every electronic transaction you make—direct deposit, automatic bill paying, online banking, e-marketing purchases, and online portfolio management—is a paper saver.A 2005 report by the Government Accounting Office showed that seven financial institutions under study had “implemented the major elements of a sound information security program.” Translation: Electronic records security, though not foolproof, is improving.

home grown
It’s not too late to get started on a vegetable garden. Come late summer, you’ll be enjoying the freshest beans, onions, and tomatoes available. And there’s added satisfaction in knowing that you grew them without pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, and that it didn’t take a drop of fuel to bring them to your doorstep.A study from Colorado State University says that if you account for the material costs of producing vegetables for mass consumption, home gardening yields a twentyfold increase in value.

your biggest fan
Ceiling fans make a big difference in air circulation—and the cost of heating and cooling. Install one and save up to 40 percent on the cost of air-conditioning the room in summer. In winter, the fan can reduce heating costs by 10 percent, moving heated air from the ceiling, where it’s wasted, to the floor.

vending machine savings
In most offices, the refrigerated vending machine runs all day and night. Talk to the machine’s operator about installing a Vending Miser, a sensing device that shuts down the cooling function when the break room’s been empty for a set period of time—often cutting energy use in half. Also ask your local electric utility; some will provide the $195 Miser at no charge.Portland, Oregon’s city hall saved about half the operating energy of a vending machine with this device.

maintaining neutrality
These days it’s all but impossible to live a life free of carbon emissions. Many people and organizations are working against this reality by participating in programs where they can purchase green credits “offsetting” the pollution they create. These credits may be donated to wind farms, solar installations, and energy-efficiency projects with negative carbon production. do your part: To learn more, visit a website like http://www.carbonfund.org/site or http://www.myfootprint.org/; the latter includes a quiz to help you determine your consumption “footprint” on the earth.

soaked with success
Soaker hoses enable you to apply irrigation water directly to the roots of your plants. Their delivery system is more efficient than sprinklers, which waste water through evaporation, spreading the spray through the air.
do your part: Soaker hoses can reduce water waste by as much as 70 percent.

reducing your overhead
Federal standards now require that new showerheads operate at 2.5 gallons per minute. According to EPA figures, replacing old showerheads (that spritzed 4.5 gallons per minute) can save a family of four about 20,000 gallons of water each year.

for thirsty lawns
It’s best to water your lawn or garden before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m. Doing so at midday sacrifices as much as 30 percent of your water to evaporation. Avoid watering on windy days, and break your watering into short segments. Lawns absorb water better in three ten-minute spells than in one half-hour stretch.

rinse cycle
If you’re going to rinse bottles for recycling, you can reduce the water waste by transferring the rinse water from one bottle to another until the job is done

unbleached
In its natural state, paper is off-white to brown—the color of trees! Most businesses can dispense with bleached office paper, whitened using chlorine, which makes its way into the environment and is associated with cancer, birth defects, and immune system damage. Unbleached products are available for all sorts of uses around the office: paper for copiers and printers, notepads and file folders, even toilet paper and paper towels.do your part: A list of unbleached office papers and sources appears at http://www.abag.org/.

wipe your feet
If you’re old enough, you may remember doormats made from cut-up pieces of tires. This retro solution is still around. These long-lasting mats provide enough friction to get the mud off your shoes, and they provide a market for recycled materials from tires.do your part: http://www.recycledtiremats.com/ has doormats and other products manufactured from worn-out tires.

picnic without waste
There’s a temptation to stock up on disposables when you eat alfresco, but it’s possible to enjoy your picnic with minimal waste. Take along a cloth groundcover and napkins, real utensils, and plastic containers for the food—and bring it all back, including the scraps. You’ll wind up with a civilized picnic that would make Martha Stewart proud.

architectural salvage
When houses come down, salvage and antiques firms across the country save doors, windows, joists, carvings, and many other one-of-a-kind artifacts from destruction. Use some of these materials in your new home and you’ll be reducing waste and bringing a piece of design heritage into the mix. Look things over carefully, though. You don’t want to incorporate pieces that will drastically increase your heating costs or bring a legacy of termites with them.do your part: See http://www.salvageweb.com/ for an active architectural salvage exchange online.

pedal pushing
It goes without saying that you eliminate your car’s exhaust fumes and greenhouse exhalations when you ride a bike. But avoid purchasing a second car altogether, and you’re also saving a lot on the manufacturing side. With the amount of energy it takes to make one car, a hundred bicycles can be made.do your part: Look for cycling tips at the League of American Bicyclists website: www.bikeleague.org/resources/better/beginningcycling.php.

judicious handling
Dare we ask—do you flush every time? Consider whether some trips to the bathroom might not end in a flush. You can save between 1.6 and 3.5 gallons by exercising a little judgment.

mail cull
If your company uses direct mail, save money and paper waste by cleaning up your mailing lists. It costs extra, but third-class mail can be sent with an option for return if undeliverable. Using these returns to cull your list means you can print (and waste) fewer mailers next time around. Your mailings will be more effective and will cost less to print and mail.do your part: To cut waste even more by deleting consumers who don’t want mailings from your list, see the Direct Marketing Association website: www.the-dma.org/.

the bride wore green
Anyone who’s ever worked in catering or event planning can tell you that after the partying is done, the cleaning up begins—and the rows of garbage bags start to accumulate. Want to reduce the environmental impact of your wedding? Send invitations on recycled paper (or via e-mail); arrange for digital photos; wear a treasured family gown in place of a new one; ask guests to donate to environmental causes in lieu of gifts (especially if you already have the household goods you need); and select a caterer who serves organic foods.

fuel cap
Around 17 percent of the cars on the road have gas caps that need attention, and the evaporation from the tanks of those autos accounts for 147 million gallons of wasted gas a year.If the gas cap on your car is damaged, loose, or missing, take time to visit the auto parts store and fix it. Evaporation wastes gas and adds to air pollution.

light from the sun
Replace all your outdoor lights with self-charging solar lights—they’re ideal for garden path luminaires, security floodlights, and patio lighting.

on down the road
A worthwhile alternative to simply condemning an old car to the junkyard is donation to a charity. Many will pick up the car, even towing it if it’s not drivable. Some will recondition it for sale at auction; others may use it for their own charitable business. Either way, your gift entitles you to a tax deduction.do your part: The Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity are two of many organizations that accept gifts of used cars.

the kindest cut
A manual reel mower saves your share of the fuel Americans consume each year in cutting their lawns. It provides a little workout every time you use it, and reduces neighborhood noise pollution as well.do your part: Fifty-four million Americans mow their lawns each weekend. They use 800 million gallons of gasoline annually, producing 5 percent of the nation’s air pollution. With your reel mower, you can keep 80 pounds of CO2 out of the air each year.

the economizer option
Many heating/ventilating/air conditioning systems in commercial buildings include an economizer feature that brings in air when it’s cooler on the outside. In many offices, you can’t open the windows, but you can talk to the building manager about using the economizer to save energy.

leash common denominator
Gentle as they may seem to us, our cats and dogs are descendants of carnivorous hunters. That heritage can be close to the surface. Vigilant owners can make sure that their animals don’t kill songbirds, game animals, and other wildlife. Often it takes no more than keeping your pet leashed or indoors.

beefing
A steak might be an American institution, but it comes with a side of environmental costs. Central and South American forests are being cut or burned down to provide pasture. Effluent from feedlots pollutes land and waters, and each cow produces 300 liters of methane—a greenhouse gas—every day. Consider reducing the amount of meat you eat; while the cows aren’t problematic in and of themselves, modern mass-farming methods take a toll.

beverage refill
In Canada and Europe, where the use of refillable bottles prevails, return rates exceed 90 percent. The market share for refillable bottles in the United States is still less than 4 percent of total packaged beer sales. Support this ecologically wise solution by purchasing from brewers and soft-drink bottlers who accept returns and reuse their bottles. You may also consider a little grassroots pressure: Write to companies and encourage them to return to this once-commonplace approach.

spin dry
No need to use paper towels to pat your salad greens dry. A salad spinner is an inexpensive, simple, human-powered gadget that does the job without producing needless waste.

cool enough for you?
The frigid settings of our public thermostats are a grave source of energy waste. While you can’t control the excess at your local mall, you can strike a balance between comfort and conservation by air-conditioning your living space to a pleasant 78 degrees.

ditching throwaways
There are plenty of ways to employ reusable items at the office. Opt for glasses, china cups, metal utensils, mechanical pencils, and refillable pens. To cut down on the main source of trash you’re likely to produce during the day, save money, and improve your health all at once, bring your lunch rather than buying.

on the beaten path
When you’re spending time at national or state parks—or any natural tourist spot—stick to the paths laid out for visitors. Otherwise you risk environmental damage like increased erosion, habitat degradation, and injury to rare plant species.

plan before you drive
A painless way to reduce your driving—and the fuel consumption, pollution, and greenhouse gas generation that it entails—is to think about all the errands you need to take care of before you get behind the wheel and plan accordingly. One ride covering a half-dozen stops can cut out five additional trips.

tooling along
Unless a tool is truly worn out or broken, there’s little reason to throw it away. If it’s grown dull with use, take it to a sharpening service or do the job yourself with a whetstone. If you’ve replaced it with something newer, donate it to a thrift shop, give it to a friend, or sell it to a used tool vendor—they abound at flea markets. Buying from those vendors also helps keep old tools in circulation and out of the landfill.

garden hose
Tights and pantyhose don’t usually last longer than one or two years before the inevitable snag or run sets in. Here’s an excellent reincarnation technique: Because they’re made of fabric that stretches and flexes, they’re perfect for binding plants to fences, poles, and stakes without damaging the plants’ stems and stalks.

rent, don’t buy
Many consumer items—tools, tenting, lawn and garden equipment, and so on—can be rented instead of purchased. If you’re only going to be using a garden tiller once a year, you’ve contributed to a relatively inefficient manufacture-to-use ratio; put that same piece of equipment into shared service as a rental, and the differential is vastly improved. And in the long run, you might also save money.

bulletin
Some offices are notorious for a near-plague of printed announcements and notices. To save paper, consign less-than-urgent memos to bulletin-board postings, or issue them via e-mail.

best dressed
Reduce the amount of clothing you buy and ultimately discard by dressing your children in hand-me-downs. Resist the pressure to follow every style trend in children’s clothing; since they grow out of things so fast, the only way to get efficient use out of an item is to stretch it out among siblings or across generations. You can also sharpen up your sewing skills to make clothes last longer.

a view to saving
Contemporary “superwindows” employ high-tech solutions—double panes, low-emissivity glazing, argon or krypton gas between panes—to block heat transfer. If your house is even a few years old or you’re currently building, it’s worth considering window replacement.do your part: These treatments are admittedly pricey, and the payback period can last as long as 15 to 20 years. But if superwindows were in full use nationwide, the U.S. could save four million barrels of oil and gas per day.

better by proxy
Diversify your portfolio by purchasing stock in companies with sterling environmental records. If you hold shares in firms that could use some improvement, dumping them isn’t necessarily the way to go: Instead, vote your proxies to reflect your opinions, and write to management. As a part owner of such companies, you are entitled to be heard. A gadfly can make a difference!

downsizing
If you’re not yet ready to choose a hybrid car, an attractive alternative can be one of the many very small cars now on offer. The VW Rabbit, Honda Fit, Dodge Caliber, Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa, and Mazda5 are stylish little numbers that get 35 to 40 miles per gallon of gas, compared to a big SUV, which gets about 15 miles to the gallon.

car wash tips
One visit to a commercial car wash can use 55 gallons or more of water. Wash your own car out of a bucket, fitting the hose with a spray nozzle for rinsing. If you can, park the car on your lawn—the gray water should be harmless, and your lawn will get a free watering.do your part: If you use a commercial car wash, check to make sure it’s one that recycles its water.

a new leaf
Keep a plant on your desk. House plants can abate rising levels of indoor air pollution at the office. Research from NASA shows that many plants are useful in absorbing harmful gases, cleaning the air in modern buildings.do your part: For a list of the ten most effective plants for removing formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon dioxide, see http://www.blankees.com/house/plants/air_cleaners.htm.