Earth Day is here and now is a great time to commit to making some lifestyle changes to be better for our planet.
Think being greener and friendlier to the earth has to be difficult and expensive? Think again! There are plenty of simple things you can start doing immediately that will make difference for the earth today, tomorrow and in the future
“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” – Jane Goodall
So in an effort to be the best for the earth as we can today, tomorrow and forever – here are 3 things you can do to start making an impact on this big blue marble we call home.
1. Greener Cleaners
Did you know that the EPA estimates that indoor air is 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor air due in part to chemicals found in many household cleaners and air fresheners? Yikes, that’s kind of scary don’t you think?
So what can you do? Well after you use up the remainder of your toxic cleaners and air fresheners, don’t be tempted to buy them again. Instead, replace them with eco-friendly versions that you can make easily at home.
So you’re ready to make a greener cleaner? It’s easy using this simple recipe for an all purpose cleaner:
Mix 1/2 cup of vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda into 1/2 gallon of water. Add a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice if desired for scent. Store and keep.
Not only is this cleaning solution inexpensive and easy to make, but it works! Use it on counter tops, sinks, appliances and other washable surfaces.
Why it works?
Baking soda alone is good for cleaning and deodorizing and white vinegar is great at cutting grease and removing mildew. When combined, the mixture releases the gas carbon dioxide which cuts through stains, dirt and water deposits.
Why is it green?
- Re-usable bottle save resources and reduces waste
- Zero chemicals means it’s safe and healthy for your family and furry friends
Excited to try some more DIY eco-friendly recipes? Click here for more ideas.
2. Reusable Totes
Paper or plastic? It’s a question we’re asked on a regular basis at the grocery store. How do you answer?
For me, I say “neither, I brought my own” and hand the check-out person a big stack of reusable totes.
You probably have one or two totes lying around your house and you may even use them at the store once in a while. But you could make such a larger environmental impact if you used them consistently each and every time.
Here are a few statistics that may persuade you into making a change today::
- A single plastic shopping bag can take anywhere from 15 to 1000 years to decompose.
- Plastic bags don’t biodegrade, but are at risk for photo degradation, light exposure dissolving them into toxic polymer particles. Most often, when this happens, it happens in the ocean.
- Despite their high recyclability factor, research shows that only 20% of paper bags end up recycled while the rest share a fate with their plastic brethren.
Why it works?
Because the cost to recycle plastic bags outweighs their value, most recycling facilities will not take them; meaning more and more to just be thrown out with the rest of the trash.
Think paper bags are better? I used to as well until I learned that in the US alone we cut down 14 million trees per year simply to supply the demand for paper shopping bags. Also, in a compressed landfill – deprived of atmosphere to help them biodegrade – paper bags don’t fare much better than plastic bags.
Why is it green?
The average reusable bag has the lifespan of over seven hundred disposable plastic bags.
Still not convinced? Here are 25 more reasons to use reusable bags.
3. More Recycle Bins. Less Garbage Bins.
You can recycle just about anything these days but most folks only have one recycling bin. So while an effort is made to recycle, once that bin is filled up, overflow recycleable items inevitably end up in the trash.
Get yourself two or more recycling bins and you’ll find that each week you’ll have more trash in your recycling bins than you do in your garbage bags.
While recycling the paper, plastic & aluminum we use each day there’s actually so much more you can do to ensure certain items don’t end up in the garbage.
Have a bunch of tangled cords with out a matching device in sight!? Instead of tossing them, you should know that these, along with most other electronic objects, can indeed be recycled! Many municipalities will collect most electronics (even large televisions and computer monitors) after making a pick-up appointment.
Be sure to check your local municipality’s website to see if they have a similar program. On the off chance that they do not, fear not! There are many stores that offer electronics recycling free of charge!
Office Depot and Best Buy for example, will accept any electronics that fit within their recycling boxes. If you’re an Apple-phile, you can rest assured knowing that all of your Apple products can be dropped off or mailed to any Apple store for recycling – they’ll even give you an Apple gift card in return!
Cds and DVDs
Now that much of the world is going digital (and many computers don’t even come with disc drives anymore!), you might be wondering what to do with all of your CDs and DVDs that are collecting dust. The plastics that these discs are made out of are oftentimes excluded from typical curbside recycling, but there are some services, like The CD Recycling Center of America that will allow you to mail in your old discs for recycling.
Clothing & Shoes
It is tempting to just throw out tired worn out clothes and shoes that have become too worn out to be useful to donate. However, it turns out that you can still drop them off!
Both Salvation Army and Goodwill have programs that will accept unusable textiles and recyle them into things like mattress filling and carpet underlay.
What to do with you old sneakers? Nike offers a program that turns old sneakers into track flooring!
Packaging & Supplies
Common sense tells you that simply throwing out Styrofoam packing peanuts, cardboard boxes, and bubble wrap is a bad thing, so what to do with those pesky things? As it turns out, you can recycle these items at the same place you picked them up from! Participating UPS Stores will accept your used packaging supplies. You can also check out The Plastic Used Fill Council for more local drop-off sites.
There’s so much more that can be recycled. Everything from non-standard plastics, to personal care & beauty products to even food – yes, food!
Click here to discover more ways to recycle beyond bottles and cans.
LaFontaine Goes Green
Since 2008, the LaFontaine family has opened up two more LEED certified dealerships – LaFontaine Chevrolet in Dexter, MI and LaFontaine Volkswagen in Dearborn, MI – making the LaFontaine Automotive Group a national leader when it comes to building “green” dealerships.
These dealerships are built with the environment in mind to help create a more sustainable future for the residents of the communities they’re located in.
We’re looking forward to a bright and sustainable future together!