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Cherish the Earth, SuperHeroes! February 23, 2009

Posted by franciecooper in Uncategorized.

Want to save the planet, SuperClients? Here are 30 ways we can use our not-so-Super strengths to do it!

1. Say no to bottled water!
Bottled water can cost up to 10,000 times more per gallon than tap water. But the reality is that tap water is actually held to more stringent quality standards than bottled water, and some brands of bottled water are just tap water in disguise.

2. Stop that junk mail!
Go to:

Plus, recycle the junk mail you already get.

3. Use a phosphate-free or low-phosphate laundry detergent.
Why? Because phosphates cause algae to become fertilized to the point that they grow out of control. The process involved when the algae dies uses up huge amounts of oxygen. This oxygen is needed for other plants & marine life to survive. Lakes and streams can die!

4. Use low-or no-VOC paint.
Traditional household paints generally contain many VOCs (volatile organic compounds), including benzene, formaldehyde, and toluene. Some of these VOCs have been linked in scientific studies to bad health outcomes, including eye, nose and throat irritation, nausea, headaches, and even cancer. Instead, look for lower VOC or chemical-free paints. Go to this buying guide for details: http://www.thegreenguide.com/greenguide/buying-guide/paint/smart_shoppers_list

5. Buy the most fuel-efficient tires possible.
Make sure your tires are properly inflated, balanced and rotated. Radial tires improve gas mileage, but steel belted tires are generally the most efficient. Support local and regional efforts to recycle tires!

6. Don’t top off the tank!
When you’re filling up your vehicle with gas, don’t pull out the gas nozzle to “top off” the tank. This lets gas vapors into the atmosphere and creates smog!

7. Keep your car tuned up.
A well-tuned car uses 9% less gasoline than a poorly tuned car. Don’t haul around unnecessary things in your car. An extra 100 pounds will decrease your fuel economy by more than 1%. Keep your fuel filters clean and don’t let your car idle unnecessarily!

8. Buy rechargeable batteries when possible.
Also, recycle alkaline batteries whenever possible.

9. Use a cloth bag when you shop.

10. Buy or make non-toxic cleaning products
Check out the books “Home Safe Home” or “Better Basics for the Home: Simple Solutions for Less Toxic Living.” You’ll find it hard to believe there are so many toxic chemicals in your home.

11. Set your lawn mower blades high.
To encourage longer, healthier roots, cut the grass so that it’s two to three inches high. Leave the grass cuttings on the lawn. The cuttings serve as a moisture retentive mulch and a natural fertilizer. Most lawn mowers can be fitted with a recycler kit available at your local hardware store. Most lawns only need about 1 inch of water a week! And please don’t put pesticides on your lawn. The pesticides contaminate worms, thereby endangering the songbird population. It also pollutes groundwater.

12. Don’t use styrofoam.
Why not? Because it’s non-biodegradable. It also takes up a lot of space for it’s weight, which means it’s using up huge amounts of space at our already full landfills. Polystyrene foam is deadly to marine life. When sea turtles eat styrofoam, its buoyancy keeps them from diving; it clogs their systems and they starve to death.

13. Get rid of those flea collars!
An estimated 50 million flea collars are thrown away every year. The pesticides and chemicals used in the collars can cause cancer, nerve damage and birth defects in animals. Brewer’s yeast and garlic added to your pet’s food works great. Products that contain methoprene, a growth inhibitor that interferes with flea larvae development, work well too. Check your local feed and garden center or with your vet for chemical-free alternatives.

14. Use a toilet dam.
Soak off the label on a small juice bottle. Dishwashing soap bottles or laundry soap bottles work well too. Fill the bottle with water, put on the cap and place it in the tank. You can put a few stones in the bottom of the bottle to weigh it down if necessary. Make sure the bottle doesn’t interfere with the flushing mechanism.You may have to experiment with different bottle sizes. You can save 1-2 gallons of water per flush! If you install a toilet dam, which is available at your local hardware store, you can save 1 gallon per toilet dam. You can install two dams per toilet.

15. Recycle your motor oil.
Have your oil changed at a business that will recycle it. If you change the oil yourself, make sure you take the oil to a center that will accept the oil and recycle it. Do not pour the oil into the ground or into the sewer! A single quart of motor oil poured into the ground can pollute 250,000 gallons of drinking water. One pint of oil can create a poisonous oil slick an acre in diameter when you pour the oil into a sewer.

16. Keep your furnace tuned up.
A simple tune-up can increase a furnace’s heating efficiency by 5%. This means an annual savings of 8,000 cubic feet of gas! Also don’t forget to change your furnace filters once a month.

17. Use compact fluorescent lightbulbs.
They’re readily available now, and produce no flicker or hum. They’re more expensive than regular (incandescent)bulbs, but for 10,000 hours of lighting, it will take 13 incandescent lightbulbs to match 1 compact fluorescent! During this 10,000 hour period, incandescent lightbulbs use about $40 of electricity; compact fluorescents use $10!

18. Keep balloons on the ground.
Helium filled balloons can find their way to the ocean when released into the air. Once they’ve found their way into the ocean, they’re swallowed by marine life, which can kill them! Mylar helium filled balloons can get caught in power lines and cause power outages.

19. Buy products made of recycled materials.

This is called “precycling”! Buy eggs packaged in cardboard cartons instead of styrofoam. Look for the recycled logo on cereal boxes and other grocery items. Buying in bulk sometimes pays off, check it out to be sure. Avoid plastic containers when possible. If you have a favorite product but the packaging isn’t exactly “Earth-Friendly”, write, call or e-mail the company and ask them to change it!

20. Use cloth diapers.
This is for those who are truly dedicated! It’s hard to give up the convenience of disposable diapers. If you can, try a diaper service or alternate between using cloth and disposables. If you read the packaging on your disposable diapers, you’ll notice the manufacturer recommends that you wash out disposable diapers before you discard them, but only about 5% of us do! If you truly can’t give them up, at least start washing them out before throwing them away.

21. Provide wildlife with food & shelter.
No, I’m not saying to ask them to move in…just give them a little birdseed! Set up a hummingbird feeder or a birdbath. Animals that are active in the daytime, such as squirrels and rabbits, will be more likely to visit if you have some type of shelter in your yard, as in shrubs or some type of wall. Check with your local feed & garden store to find out what types of wildlife you have in your area and for the best ways to attract them. A pinecone stuffed with peanut butter and rolled in birdseed is a good way to feed birds during the winter.

22. Support the rainforests.
Consider alternatives to tropical hardwoods in furniture, lumber, and plywood. Write to the Rainforest Action Network for a list of woods you can substitute for tropical hardwoods.

Their address is:

The Rainforest Action Network
301 Broadway, Suite A
San Francisco, CA 94133.

Support organizations involved in rainforest conservation.

23. Insulate your home.
If there’s no insulation in your home, you’re costing yourself and the environment a fortune. If you do have insulation, check to see if you have enough. Even add-on insulation pays itself back in about two years. Check for energy leaks everywhere in your home. Caulk and weatherstrip your windows.

24. Plant a tree.

If you do plant a tree, don’t just stick it in the ground and ignore it. Trees need a little care for the first 2 years. Check with the nursery or feed & garden store. If you don’t have a place to plant a tree, get involved with your town or city’s beautification program!

25. Don’t dump hazardous waste!
This sounds like a no brainer, but it’s surprising what materials in your home qualify as hazardous waste! Paints and paint thinners, car batteries, oven and drain cleaners, mothballs, floor and furniture polish, brake or transmission fluid, antifreeze, rug and upholstery cleaners, pesticides, furniture strippers and even some toilet cleaners are hazardous! Keep these things in their original containers with the label intact. Check with your city or town hall to see if they have a local collection program.

26. Carpool.
Ride with co-workers to work. Gather up a group of friends if you’re going out. It makes a difference!

27. Start your own compost pile.

The easiest way? Just start a pile of leaves, grass clippings and weeds in a corner of your garden. If you want to really try your hand at composting, build or buy a small enclosure to create the compost. Sort your garbage to separate the organics from the rest. Learn how to stack and layer the compost and turn it occasionally to avoid odors and to allow the air to circulate. Check with your local hardware store or feed & garden store for more information

28. Use a trigger nozzle on your garden hose.
This can save you at least 20 gallons of water when you wash your car.

29. Consume less meat.
To produce 1 lb. of beef, we need 16 lbs. of grain & soybeans, 2500 gallons of water, and the energy equivalent of 1 gallon of gasoline. If Americans reduced their meat intake by just 10%, the savings in grains & soybeans could feed approximately 60 million people – the number of people who starve to death worldwide each year.

30. Grow what you can.
Try growing things you can eat in your own garden. Even apartment dwellers can grow plants in pots or start a community garden. Support your local farmer’s markets. Locally grown produce is fresher, cheaper and has less pesticide residue than produce that has been shipped long distances.



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