Updated: Thursday, 11 Mar 2010, 2:57 PM EST
Published : Friday, 20 Mar 2009, 5:24 PM EDT
HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - You want to do your part to help save the planet, save your family, and maybe save a few buck in the process. You're not alone. It's getting easier every day to 'go green.'
More and more companies are embracing 'green,' making it easier to find environmental and family friendly products. But going green is more than the latest marketing fad, for many it's a new way of life.
If you're looking for ideas on how to start, the basics are below -
It's simple and saves you money to boot. Check the caulking and weatherstripping around doors and windows. Invest in a programmable thermostat. Add insulation to your attic. Buy only Energy Star rated appliances and electronics. Replace incandescent light bulbs with low-energy fluorecents. The list is endless, but the savings are too!
More tips on saving energy at home are available at the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy website.
Much like saving energy, a little investment can pay big dividends. High-efficiency toilets and low-flow shower heads can help. Look for products with a WaterSense label, the water-saving equivalent of an Energy Star label.
Of course, some ways to save cost no money. Take shorter showers, turn of the faucet when brushing your teeth, only wash full loads of in your dishwashing or washing machine.
In your yard, switch to drought-resistant plants to cut the amount and frequency of irrigation. Deep-soak your lawn and plants when you do irrigate, but also irrigate less often. This will make their roots grow deeper, and make them more drought tolerant.
More tips on saving water in your home are available from the Hampton Roads Water Efficiency Team of the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission.
With curbside recycling in most Hampton Roads cities, it's never been easier. Newspapers; aluminum, steel, and tin cans; pie plates; foil; clear, brown and green glass; #1 and #2 plastic bottles....how much of this is going into your trash instead of your blue bin? Best yet, it costs nothing!
Composting is another way to recycle both yard waste and some food items. Grass clippings, leaves, coffee grounds, and grapefruit rinds can make a tasty treat for your plants and lawn!
Learn more about recycling and composting in Hampton Roads at the Southeastern Public Service Authority website.
Reduce & Reuse
Again, this costs nothing! What better way to go green? You buy hundreds of products each year. Next time, buy the brand that comes in less packaging. Buy the brand that uses less toxic or hazardous components. Ditch the once-and-done (papertowels) for the re-useable (remember rags, sponges?). Learn a few fix-it tips (your mom will still teach you how to sew) so you're not replacing everything with a tear or appliances just making funny noises.
And the next time you pass that snow-blower still taking up space in your garage, remember that you can rent or borrow infrequently used items (not just tools, but tables, chairs, even sliverware).
For more tips on recycling, reducing and reusing visit the EPA's Consumer Handbook for Reducing Solid Waste.