6. Fix something
When an item in your home starts acting finicky, it can be tempting to run off to the store and buy a new one. But use your leap day to fix it first.
Sites like iFixIt.com provide free repair manuals for everything from smart phones to lamps and will help you get the most life out of your items (even if your handyman skills leave a bit to be desired). For items that can’t be fixed, always remember to recycle rather than throwing them in the trash.
7. Get crafty
Have a little extra time on your hands? Why not create something to help you remember leap day 2012 for years to come? Gather up some trashed materials from around your house and head to Earth911′s crafts library for ideas on how to repurpose them.
If you’re not typically the artistic type, start with a few of our simpler projects like these coasters made from old jeans, a picture frame made from an old CD or a funky centerpiece made from old magazines. Once you get your feet wet, you may find that you’re craftier than you thought!
8. Green your smartphone
You use your smart phone for everything from scheduling to tweeting to Web browsing. But mobile multitasking can quickly deplete your battery, which can often force you charge your phone multiple times a day. So, use your leap day to download a few eco apps that will help you stay green all year long.
A battery-saving app like iamgreen, available for iPhone, Android and Blackberry, can teach you how to easily change your phone’s settings to maximize battery life – saving energy, time and money. Apps like Eco Charger for Android and EcoCharge for iPhone will keep you from leaving your phone plugged in for too long by alerting you when your battery is fully charged.
And don’t forget to download Earth911′s very own iRecycle app, available for free on iPhone and Android, to catch up on your reading and track down recycling services on the go.
9. Ditch the junk mail
Junk mail is seriously annoying, but how much paper is really being wasted by the endless flow of circulars, promotional fliers and copies of the same bill? The answer is – a whole lot. The amount of junk mail Americans receive every day could heat 250,000 homes, according to the National Park Service.
To cut back on your contribution to paper waste, use your leap day to switch to paperless billing, and take a few easy steps to cut back on junk mail. Usually, a simple phone call is all it takes to remove your address from company mailing lists.
If you’d rather not spend five minutes on hold while calling a customer service line, just use the Web instead! The Direct Marketing Association, which represents about 80 percent of the total volume of marketing mail in the U.S., allows you to remove your name from their marketing lists at DMAchoice.org. Opt out of credit card offers at OptOutPrescreen.com and ditch unwanted catalogs at Catalog Choice.
10. Care for your car
A trip to the mechanic isn’t anyone’s favorite way to spend an afternoon. But an appointment that only takes an hour can add years to the life of your car. Regularly changing the oil, spark plugs and filters in your car reduces emissions and increases the longevity of your engine, which shrinks the number of automobiles entering the waste stream before their time.
So, if you’ve been putting off that maintenance visit, use your leap day to catch up. Your car (and the planet) will thank you later.
Homepage Image: Flickr/pat00139