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Going Green! A couple things you can do to help the environment.

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Picture of Going Green! A couple things you can do to help the environment.
Preserving the environment we live in is a huge task. If we all pitch in, and take a couple small green steps, collectively, we will make a huge impact on our environment.

My biology teacher told our class one day that huge ecological disasters, for example, the Exxon Valdez, is dwarfed in comparison to the amount of pollution we cause DAILY!

I'll be showing you a couple things I do in my life to help provide some relief to mother nature.

 
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Step 1: Lighting/Cooling/Electrical consumption at home

Picture of Lighting/Cooling/Electrical consumption at home
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Lighting, cooling and energy consumption is a very important aspect of our daily lives.
Here are a few helpful hints on how to consume less electricity, so that local power plant has less energy to produce, which in turn lowers the amount of fuel they have to burn, lowering the CO2 output.

The first thing you can do, but will probably be the most expensive investment, but will pay for itself in the long run is....

COMPACT FLUORESCENTS!

These light bulbs consume a fraction of what old light bulbs use, and provide more light as well.
You can purchase them at any home improvement store, such as Lowe's, Home Depot, and Wal-Mart.

You can save money by purchasing the packs that have a couple bulbs in it.

Each bulb you change can save about 30 USD yearly in your electricity bill. If you change 10 bulbs in your house thats already 300+ a year in savings, which brings your monthly bill down about 25 dollars. NEAT!

Another thing you can do to save electricity is... OPEN A WINDOW! Let some of that free sunlight light up your home! There is a downside to this though... sunlight = heat = increase in cooling costs. But like always there is a way around this.

If you have windows facing north or south, you can open those up, and there wont be as much direct sunlight, which wont cause too much heat. In the morning you can crack the shades a bit on east facing windows, then open them up at noon, that way there is never that full intense light coming in. Play around with this.
Basically close the windows where the sun hits directly, and open them up as the sun moves throughout the sky.

A word on cooling. The air conditioner in a home is probably the largest expense in your electric bill monthly. Set the A/C at a bearable temperature during the day, and raise the temperature a little at night since its obviously not as hot outside.

You can also turn off the A/C and open up your windows; let some fresh air into your home!

Insulation is extremely important in effective cooling your home. Try and prevent as much of the cooled air in your house escapes, caulk up windows or put weather stripping on your doors.

I live in a very old house with a flat roof and no insulation in the roof, and now during summer it gets extremely hot. What I did to help with some of the heat was buy a couple of those windshield shades for your car, and put them up on my windows to reflect some of the heat. IT WORKS!

When leaving your house, try to keep the doors open for as little as possible, keep the cool air inside.

Appliances

Turn off that computer when you're not using it! A computer tower running 24/7 costs about 10 dollars monthly. Turning it off, or putting it on power save mode will save you a couple bucks a month, it will also reduce some of that heat being produced in your home :)

Disconnect appliances when your not using them, although you may like to think that the display on your DVD player on standby inst consuming much... it adds up!

Water heater is another biggie on the list. During hot summer months, turn down the temperature, and when the cooler seasons come in turn it up again!
WARNING IF YOU DO NOT HAVE ELECTRICAL KNOWLEDGE DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS, YOU COULD KILL YOURSELF, CALL A CERTIFIED ELECTRICIAN TO DO THIS FOR YOU

Keep the fridge and freezer doors open for as little as possible, alot of energy goes into cooling these things.

Step 2: Don't pour your money down the drain!

Picture of Don't pour your money down the drain!
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When performing our daily hygiene routine, such as brushing teeth, washing face/hands, showering, we use up A LOT of water.

Here are somethings I do to help save water and lower those bills!

When brushing your teeth, turn off that water when your not using it! I like to really brush for 2-3 minutes, if I were to leave the water on during this time, I am easily dumping 3+ gallons down the drain.

I love taking long showers, if you do too, buy yourself a water and energy saving shower head. these things make your showering experience efficient by restricting the amount of water used to about 2.5 gallons per minute.

When doing my dishes, I rinse down the dirty dishes and place them outside the sink, then I start soaping them up and start stacking them inside the sink again, with the water OFF. When I am either done with them all, or the sink fills up, I turn the water back on and rinse and put them to dry. Some of us leave the water running the whole time, that is money you are pouring down the drain!

Laundry is a big thing too, I wait till I know that I will fill up the whole washer with dirty clothes, bringing down the amount of loads that I will ultimately have to do.

Drying your clothes. If you have a yard, put up a clothes line! Let the wind and sun dry the clothes for you. a dryer sucks up a bunch of electricity.

These things add up, and in short time you will notice you will start saving money, helping out the environment and feeling good about yourself at the same time!

Step 3: Reuse Reduce Recycle!

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Reuse
Got plastic soda/water bottles?
Put them back to use! Refill with your favorite drink and save money too!
NOTE: Crash2108 mentioned not to do this, step. I looked up some information and it may be harmful to do this, chemicals may leach into you water if repeatedly washed with detergents and in hot water. Instead of using these purchase a small thermos or a bottle designed to be reused and washed.

I buy the big bottles of Gatorade and refill my bottles with it, saving me cash and reducing the amount of plastic used too.

When buying groceries if you don't have a reusable grocery bag, you can reuse the plastic bags. I use them as mini trash bags, and for the bathroom trash basket.

Buy yourself 2 liter bottles of soda, and refill those water bottles too! They are cheaper than cans, and
REDUCE the amount of garbage thrown out.

Recycling is something great to do, we throw out a bunch of materials daily that can be recycled.

For example junk mail is a bunch of waster paper. We all get, so why don't we all recycle it! Imagine the amount of paper you and your neighbor hood can save if we recycle JUST the junk mail.

Recycle used plastic/glass bottles and paper.

Call your local municipal solid waste department and ask them for recycling bins.

Step 4: Compost! Plant a Tree!

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You can produce high quality fertilizer from things you throw away everyday!

You can build your self a worm composting bin, and reduce the amount of trash being put out to the landfill.

Worms will eat food scraps, paper, coffee grounds with filter, eggshells, and veggies, and convert them into high grade fertilizer.

When mowing your lawn, if you you pick up the clippings and throw them out, DON'T!
Leave the clippings right there to decompose which will give you a healthier looking lawn, and reduce the amount of garbage you put out!

Collect leaves that fall and put them around the trunks of trees, this mulch will help feed your trees too!

Plant a tree, make a garden! Give back to the environment by planting trees to help reduce the CO2 in the air! You will also save some cash on groceries if you provide yourself with a little homegrown food.

Step 5: Join a local Free-Cycle group!

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Got something taking up space in your home and thinking of trashing it?

DON'T! One persons trash can be another's treasure!

A free cycle group is an online mailing list where people post items they no longer want, and are willing to give it for free instead adding more to local landfills. You can also ask for something in specific, perhaps someone out there has it just for you.

I've got 3 computers, fish, rabbits, aquariums, an air HOCKEY TABLE, and other goodies from doing this. I've seen people giving away boats and cars on here too. GREAT STUFF!

Join your local free cycle group, if there isn't one... MAKE ONE!


Step 6: Car Pool Party!

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Carpooling is a great way to reduce CO2 emissions from burning fuel.

Ask co-workers that live nearby if they would like to carpool to work!

Or when going out with friends, try to go together in one car, or in as few cars as possible.

Also if you live close by to the grocery store, or your job, invest in a bike and make yourself a neat bicycle trailer.

Step 7: Make things!

With things you may find around the house or out and about in the streets, make something out of it!

Use that instructables spirit you all have and share with the rest of this great community!

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SeaWave2 years ago
I can't hang my clothes outside to dry (allergens like pollens are not my friends!), but I do dry them inside. In winter especially, I'll distribute clothes from the washer in the three bedrooms and we do without a separate humidifier.
msellen3 years ago
Don't forget repurposing! Glass bottles can be turned into all kinds of cool stuff. All you need is a $2 glass cutter and yo ucan start making things like wind chimes and christmas ornaments out of the bottles.
crestind8 years ago
Hey! That's not environmentally friendly! Change that gas guzzler into a sedan!! Preferably a Prius like the one shown below :P
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buy an old fuel efficient car not a new one, that's wasteful
g0pher (author)  crestind8 years ago
lol its not a gas guzzler, it runs on grass clippings :)
Just plant environmentalists. That will eliminate at least 75% of the lowest intelligent people on the globe and then the rest of us can use at much energy as we like and improve the human race at the same time.
 HURRDURR.
maker12 g0pher7 years ago

lol lol ROFLCOPTER!!

JKibs95 maker126 years ago
I imagine the Rofl-Copter must be a great method of transportation... but it would be more of a copter-pool than a car-pool
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jj.inc crestind5 years ago
Is more than one Prius, Prii (pre-eye). 
A prius cant hall that many people you would hit a slope and lose all of your power. ;) also they are just ugly cars.
jj.inc5 years ago
 I used to use these bulbs, but they don't really last.  I get up (turn on light) and leave (turn off) these repeated actions kill the bulb in less than a month and they are extremely dull looking. GO LED LIGHTS!!!
calling all instructables enthusiasts to come join the USE HALF NOW campaign on facebook! if we all start using half the resources we normally use, we can cut emissions, reliance on fossil fuels, and energy bills in half TODAY! trying to get 5,000 fans to vow to use half by earth day.
timberframe7 years ago
Anyone know any information about disposing of compact fluorescents? They contain mercury, but most states have no special disposal guidelines. I am concerned that we are trading one environmental problem for another, but I have replaced several bulbs in my house in the hopes that by the time they burn out, I will have some option other than the landfill.
Fluorescents are really a thing of the past, LED light bulbs are more efficient and last up to 3 times longer than fluorescents.
In the UK at least we can take these things to the local council recycling centre and have them dispose of these things for us. Seeing as how they have an obligation to do this responsibly I think it works out well.
Since I've started standing on one foot while brushing my teeth to help improve the stability of my ankles, I've also stopped leaving the water running while I do them. Works for me. Also, things that I know other people do include using their bath water to water the garden (carrying all those buckets downstairs FTW) and also leaving a bucket in the shower with them to save water (what they use this for I'm not sure)
EcoMotive6 years ago
Apparently, incandescent bulbs are overall no less efficient than compact fluorescents during the winter. An incandescent bulb gives off most of it's energy as heat, and while the bulb itself is terribly inefficient, it's causing your heating system to use up less energy to heat your home. So during the winter, CFL's don't really save any energy compared to the incandescent. That being said, I still use fluorescent lights only. It should be illegal to install incandescent bulbs in home light fixtures.
Only if you think violating a person's freedom of choice is a crime, then yes. Also, the amount of heat that a standard bulb produces is not as high as you may think. You will still use the same amount of heat in the winter regardless, it will just feel warmer due to the heat added from the light bulbs.
Destrying the environment shouldn't be a matter of personal choice. It should be enforced upon people who are too selfish or lazy to take actions to preserve the environment for the well-being of future generations. Also, the heat from an incandescent bulb contributes to heating your home. While an incandescent bulb is burning, temperature in your home will reach the level that your thermostat is set to with less input from the heaters and you DO have a smaller load on your heating system. It will not feel any warmer as the thermostat will still cut off the heater when the temperature reaches the set value.
A good name6 years ago
ALRIGHT! Another cliche list that almost everyone who is interested in "green" has seen. How about some new ideas?
Kush_Slayer6 years ago
also some of this stuff you should do even if you dont want to go green because its nice when its -40F outside and its nice and warm in your house because you made sure you put up insulation and crap also a note on florescent bulbs, they dont work well in the cold and last for shorter periods of time then incandescent bulbs and also I've got 3 computers, fish, rabbits, aquariums, an air HOCKEY TABLE, and other goodies from doing this. I've seen people giving away boats and cars on here too. GREAT STUFF! you can get dead fish and rabbits for free... cool... if i wanted a dead rabbit though i would go out and shoot one.
Also if you live in England and have a terrace house (not sure if they have them in the USA) hang your drying up in the Entry (the entrance between the two house).this is like a wind tunnel on a mild day(its always mild in the Midlands). and drys clothes very quickly.
I'm a submariner and if you want to save more while showing, you may want to try this. Turn shower on get wet. Turn shower off and soap up. Then turn water on to rinse. all in all you use around 20 seconds of water. I know a bit far. but you could try it.
Crash21088 years ago
Do not do step three. Ever fill up one of those used bottles with water? You know that funny taste? That's the taste of toxic degrading plastic in your water. There's a reason they only use 30% of the original when 'recycling'.
Crash2108
You're dead right!

Many plastics leach endocrine disruptors, drinks bottles are not immune from this. One is called bisphenol-A. There was a headline in the news very recently that Canada is considering banning plastic bottles (polycarbonate I think) for infants and young children.

The economics of bottled water are crazy. From memory, a one litre (~37 fl oz) bottle of water, typically consumes six litres of water to make the bottle! Plus all the transport from where the water is sourced, all the way to the store.

In the western world, tap water is not only much cheaper than the bottled variety (often the price ratio tap: bottle is 1:100) , the health standards are often much higher for tap water than for bottled.

Could someone pass the bisphenol-A flavoured drink, please?

Now for some (sort of) science!
Note: These links look traceable to the source info, but I haven't tried.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080422114734.htm

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070416095128.htm

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070804101711.htm
Draft report
http://cerhr.niehs.nih.gov/chemicals/bisphenol/BPA_Interim_DraftRpt.pdf
hasn't killed me yet, if your not a person without an immune system you should be fine there have been worse things in the water, like whatever your fancy meters haven't told you! you just don't know, your like a fly coming towards the light, i wish i could zap you right now! /crazied killer but seriously there have been worse thing if you have an immune system stronger than a baby under 14 days old then you probably will be clear! spreading lies you probably think the pilot flew the plane into the Hudson on purpose!
Got to dispute that point, Crash, unless you can provide (non-conspiracy-website) evidence for it? "That funny taste" is probably the water itself, since your tap water and the original water in the bottle have different mineral contents. Either that, or you didn't wash the bottle out properly (especially around the threading of the neck and cap) after it held flavoured drink. Any substances that could potentially leech from the plastic will have already done so in the filling/storing of the drink, and you've already drunk them. One reason recycled content is kept to 30% is bacteriological - somebody decided there was a risk of transferring micro-organisms in the recycling process (a genuine risk in paper recycling, not in plastic recycling). The other is socio-financial - people don't recycle all the thermoplastic they consume, it costs to separate recyclables from non-recyclables, it costs to process it, and it would cost jobs to cut the raw plastic manufacture any more.
maker12 Kiteman7 years ago
ANYhoo true! thank god,but some bottles say do no reuse and still say reclycleble WTF????
Kiteman maker127 years ago
That's a hygiene thing - a lot of plastics soften or melt at the temperatures needed to sterilise them.
Absolutely right, especially the types used in most consumables. Also even more true due to how thin the pastic is. It's a surface area to volume issue.
i never know what the real thing is, but i gotta trust kiteman on this one. He knows his stuff haha
Ok here's what i've found in searching around. Ignoring the alarmist webistes saying all plastic will be the death of human life as we know it, I tend to find mostly that #'s 2,4,5 are fine for reuse and #1 is fine for single use. Some say #1 is fine for reuse too. #1 is PET or PETE poly-ethalene-..... #'s 2,4,5 are HDPE, LDPE and PP or High density Poly Ethalene, Low density PE and Poly Propalene. The ones that leach chemicals especially when heated are #'s 3 (PVC) and #7 (other). The bad chemical that leaches is something like BPA or BPH or soemthing like that. Shown in lab rats to cause endocrine system disruption or as with all products in the world, "materials in this product are known to the state of California to cause cancer in lab animals"
On a side note: has anyone here ever taken at look at the lab testing processes to figure out if something causes cancer? Take sweet-n-low for instance. If that was your primary food source you'd probably get cancer too. But two teaspoons a day? I doubt there's an issue there. Now aspartame, that's the devil's candy there. lol I'm mean really, how can they consider these legitimate studies when they compromise the health of the animal in such a way as to make it more prone to cancer in the first place. Cancer's due to genetic factors and imperfection in DNA due to breakdown. Eat only meat, only veggies, only dairy, only sweets, or any other similarly restrictive diet, and you'll be more prone. Also exposure factors in, but that's not really my point. Sorry about that rant, I'm done for now. lol.
Great point i forgot about. My wife used to remind me of that every time she used sweet-n-low and i bugged her about it. And as usual this comment may "be known to the state of california to cause cancer in lab animals".
Polypro and polyethaline are typically both fine for resuse indefinately, as long as they aren't mixes (mixes aren't used in food products at least in the US). Though you might wish to stick to uncolored plastics (clear, cream, or kinda clear like milk gallons), as the concentrates do not always bond completely to the plastics and may seperate from the container. The issue is not breakdown so much, but the ability to get them clean enough without compromising integrity. If you rinse your dishes with bleach water like many medical institutions (at least care/nursing homes) do, then you should be able to get away with using water that is not so hot as to damage the bottle while still maintaining sanitation standards. Note: most plastic medical materials are produced out of either Polypro or Polyethaline, if they can leave it in your heart, it's probably safe to drink out of.
g0pher (author)  Crash21088 years ago
Thanks for the heads up, changed the info added a disclaimer.
Yeah. I used a shoe box today to make a "PSP Arcade Stand" Instead of just throwing away the shoe box.
jridley6 years ago
Where I work, I've been paying attention and EVERYONE...ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE lets the water run the whole time they're washing their hands, which is about 30 seconds. Also while brushing their teeth. And they use about 6 pumps of liquid soap out of the dispenser; I've found 1 is plenty. Then they take between 2 and FIVE paper towels from the dispenser, again, 1 is sufficient. My hands are still a bit damp with 1, but they're still dry before I get back to my desk 30 seconds later. I won't mention that we have 80,000 watts of lights just on our floor of this building, and they're often left on 24 hours a day even when nobody is here.
i believe we need to reduce the human population from over 6/billion to 1/billion but this is not accecptable to the majority of us this would reduce over consumsation of all the basics that we need to live as for the so called global warming this is a breathing&liveing planet and does not needor consider us as a species nessery to is surrivalbut we should stillmake as much effort as possible to reduce&recycle at least for our own sakes iam tired in the brain already listening to the one topic been rolled out by every self centred politicion&industrialist only thinking only of profits and never thinking of the toxic wastes they leave after them. codwithchips
is your shampoo making you ill? even baby shampoo Johnson & Johnson contains FORMALDEHYDE & a ton of other toxins; seems the chemical companies want to do their best for their sister company the big Pharmasuticals; this all came out after Hurricane Katrina folks: the toxic waste in the landfills from our kitchens & bathrooms: a lot of folks are going no poo; which I have not done; nor do I really want to; but google it & see if it is for you or not; I am making my own shampoo using castile liquid soap from a recipe found on craftbits.com; there are many out there; google it & find out what works best for you; I am going to start making my own castile soap at home cuz is so spendy to buy; either that or aloe vera soap cuz can get a gallon at Walmart for $7; deoderants have anywhere from 1 to 8 known & supposedly banned toxins KNOWN to cause diseases in folks; NOW you know why other cultures live longer than we do! A great source is www.vitacost.com; if you go together with others there is only $4.99 S&H irregardless of whether 1 or 1000 items ordered;Be careful of Burt Bee's which was bought by Clorox & Congress passed a LAW saying they (chemical companies) no longer have to put ingredients on the labels (so expect more nasty toxins in there); we are the WORST country on the planet Earth in toxins folks: and I am just now learning about this!
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