The List: Go Green This Earth Day With a Few Simple Steps

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You know going green is good for the planet, so make a pledge this Earth Day to make a difference. The website The Daily Green shared 15 easy ways going green.

1. Avoid Waste: Recycle

The Daily Green calculated that for every trash can of waste you put outside for the trash collector, about 70 trash cans of waste are used in order to create that trash. To reduce the amount of waste you produce, buy products in returnable and recyclable containers and recycle as much as you can.

2. Give Up Paper and Plastic Bags

Twelve million barrels of oil were used to make the billions of paper and plastic bags consumed in the United States last year according to The Daily Green.

The Daily Green says the best option is reusable shopping bags made of cotton, nylon or durable, mesh-like plastic. Keep the reusable shopping bags handy so you have them on your next shopping trip.

3. Stop Buying Bottled Water

The Daily Green suggests using reusable water bottles instead made from materials like stainless steel or aluminum that are not likely to degrade over time. If you choose a plastic water bottle, check the number on the bottom first: Plastics numbered 3, 6 and 7 could pose a health threat to you, so look for plastics numbered 1, 2, 4 or 5.

4. Stop Receiving Unwanted Catalogs

According to The Daily Green every year billions of catalogs are mailed to consumers. Save the millions of trees and billions of gallons of water by putting a stop to unwanted mail. Go online to CatalogChoice.org for help.

5. Give Up Conventional Detergents

The Daily Green advises that many natural detergents today are made to clean clothes just as effectively in cooler water temperatures. Choose detergents and other laundry products that are plant-based, concentrated and biodegradable.

6. Give Up Hot Water in the Washer

The Daily Green says that almost 90 percent of the energy is used to heat the water, and most clothes will come clean in cold water. So switch your washing machine's temperature setting.

7. Give Up the Clothes Dryer

The second biggest household energy user, after the refrigerator, is the clothes dryer. Overdrying your clothes can end up costing you money as well. The Daily Green says when using the dryer, clear the lint filter after each load and dry only full loads of clothes. Dry heavy fabrics separately from lighter ones, and don't add wet clothing in the middle of the drying cycle. And remember that hanging clothing outside in the sun and air to dry is the most energy-efficient method -- or use a folding indoor rack all year long.

8. Check for Leaks in Your Toilet

According to The Daily Green a leaking toilet can waste anywhere between 30 and 500 gallons of water every day, so any leak should be repaired. To see if your toilet is leaking, put a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank. If the dye shows up in the toilet bowl after 15 minutes or so, the toilet has a leak. Leaking is usually caused by an old or poorly fitting flapper valve, which can be replaced by any amateur DIY-er!

9. Give Up Conventional Toilet Paper

If every household in the United States bought just one four-pack of 260-sheet recycled bath tissue, instead of the typical tissue made from virgin fiber, it would eliminate 60,600 pounds of chlorine pollution, preserve 356 million gallons (1.35 billion liters) of fresh water and save nearly 1 million trees The Daily Green. The best news is that a four-pack of recycled toilet paper costs about the same as a four-pack of conventional toilet paper.

10. Give Up Paper Towels

Paper towels create a lot of unnecessary waste. Instead of loading up on them The Daily Green suggests buying some reusable microfiber towels, which grip dirt and dust like a magnet, even when they get wet. When you are finished with them, toss the towels in the wash and reuse them again.

11. Run a Fully Loaded Dishwasher

The Daily Green says running a fully loaded dishwasher -- without prerinsing the dishes -- can use a third less water than washing the dishes by hand, saving up to 10 to 20 gallons of water a day. Simply scrape large pieces of food off your dishes and let the dishwasher handle the rest. And by using the air-dry setting (instead of heat-dry), you will consume half the amount of electricity without spending a dime.

12. Lower the Temp in Your Fridge

The Daily Green suggests getting your fridge running in tip-top shape. First, set the refrigerator thermostat to maintain a temperature between 38 and 42 degrees (F). This temperature will protect your food from spoiling while saving electricity. Twice a year, clean the condenser coil at the back of your fridge. Condenser coils tend to get dusty, making them less efficient.

13. Give Up 2 Degrees

According to The Daily Green e lectric power plants are the country's largest industrial source of the pollutants that cause global warming. By snuggling under a blanket on the couch on a snowy winter night instead of turning up the heat, or enjoying the breeze from a fan in the height of summer instead of turning up the air conditioning, you can save pounds of pollution. Set your thermostat in winter to 68 degrees F (20° C) or less during the daytime and 55 degrees F (13° C) before going to sleep or when you are away for the day. And during the summer, set thermostats to 78 degrees F (26° C) or more.

14. Give Up Dry Cleaning

Until recently, The Daily Green says almost all dry cleaners used a cancer-causing chemical called perchloroethylene, also known as Perc or TCE. Traces of this toxic chemical remain on your clothes after dry cleaning and will evaporate into the air in your car or home. If you have to use a traditional dry cleaner, take your dry cleaning out of the plastic and air it outside or near a window before hanging it in your closet. To avoid the need for dry cleaning, choose fabrics that don't require dry cleaning at all.

15. Stop Wasting Gas

The Daily Green says you can increase your gas mileage by checking your tire pressure. More than a quarter of all cars and nearly one-third of all SUVs, vans and pickups have underinflated tires, according to a survey by the Department of Transportation. If every American kept his or her tires properly inflated, we could save 2.8 billion gallons (10.6 billion liters) of gasoline a year -- and help curb global warming pollution -- so inflate the tires on your car or truck and continue to do so once a month or as necessary.

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