First, Harse suggests, “know our recyclables, recycle only the materials accepted in our own areas and recycle only where and when specified. Recycling saves natural resources, energy in manufacturing and reduces the amount of waste that ends up in a landfill. It has an even bigger impact when it’s done well.”
While recycling is one simple step on your journey to becoming more green, Harse also recommends these trouble-free tips:
1. Change your computer settings.
Screen savers may seem like they save energy, but they may actually use more power and often prevent your computer from entering “sleep” mode. Change the settings on your computer so that system standby and hibernate features are enabled both in the Battery (DC) and Power Adapter (AC) settings, so that they work whether the computer is plugged in or running on battery.
2. Invest in power surge strips.
Appliances and chargers that are plugged in, but not in use, still use a good deal of energy. If you plug everything into a power surge strip, turning off the energy current for all of those appliances and chargers is now just a single switch away.
3. Make your own juice.
Consider investing in (or borrowing) a juicer, so you can use organic or local fruits to make all your own juices for cocktails and other beverages. Not only does making your own juice reduce packaging waste, but also freshly squeezed juices often have more nutrients than packaged versions.
4. Buy local.
Steer clear of the bulk of processed foods, and instead, try to stay local. Find options close to home, such as handmade sausages from a local farmer, a platter of artisan cheeses from a regional cheese maker or a bunch of carrots from a farmer’s market.
5. Savor what’s in season.
Using seasonal ingredients is a fresher and less expensive option, but it’s also more environmentally responsible, since the ingredients probably didn’t travel as far to reach you. Apples, pears, various kinds of squash, pumpkins, turnips, beets, peppers, grapes, potatoes and hearty greens, like kohlrabi, collards and spinach are all in season for fall.
6. Read the label.
There is no single, government-regulated definition for “all-natural.” That label could mean that the flavoring is derived from a natural source (like a plant), that your meat contains no chemical preservatives, that something’s been minimally processed or, really, any number of other things. If it’s important to you that a product comes from a “natural” source or is processed “naturally,” keep in mind that a “natural” label does not necessarily encompass both meanings.
7. Check “recyclable” products.
It’s important to know how the item is recyclable or what part of the item is recyclable. The product may be recyclable, or maybe it’s just the packaging. Try to purchase items that can be recycled in your community through your local program. Find a place near you to recycle these items using Earth911’s Recycling Database.