Five Easy Ways to Be Green

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You hear terms like renew, recycle and sustainability all the time. From the media to coffee shops and carpool lanes, everyone talks about going green. However, what does it mean to "go green" and do your part to reduce your carbon footprint? Believe it or not, there are a few easy steps anyone can take to help preserve our planet's health.

From ditching disposable plastic to purchasing energy efficient products, consumers have many choices to help them do their part. Not only are these products good for the environment and your health, they also can save you time and money in the long run.

You don't have to make drastic changes in order to make a substantial contribution to sustainability. Here are five easy steps you can take right away:

1. Reusable Bags
Reusable bags are a quick and easy way to shop while reducing the amount of plastic in landfills. Reusable bags are also sturdier than plastic, allowing you to carry more items and feel confident that the bag won't break like a plastic one.

More consumers are turning to reusable bags and they seem to have become quite a fashion statement. Companies have jumped on the eco-friendly bandwagon and are making designer bags with specialized compartments and additional functions to enhance your shopping experience.

One of the best ways to remember to take your reusable bag during every shopping trip is to keep the bags in your car. Once you've emptied the bags at home, keep them by the front door, put them back in your purse or return them to your car for future use.

2. Composting
Composting is not only great for the planet but it is a wonderful way to fertilize your lawn or vegetable garden. You can improve your chances of being a consistent composter by keeping a special compost item bin next to your kitchen counter or sink.

The entire family can get involved by tossing compostable scraps and items into the bin during the day, then emptying it into your composter.

Like the reusable bags, composting doesn't have to be an unattractive endeavor. Consumers can select from a variety of compost bin designs to match or enhance their kitchen area.

3. Energy Efficient Light Bulbs
Save the environment and your money by using energy efficient light bulbs throughout your home. The average incandescent light bulb uses up to 98% of a home's overall energy consumption, whereas energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) use only 75%.

Although upfront energy efficient light bulb costs are slightly higher than those of a regular light bulb, the homeowner ends up saving a considerable amount in the long run. According to Daily Green consumer website, a regular 75-watt incandescent light, used for six hours a day, costs approximately $54 a year in energy costs. A 20-watt CFL, producing the same amount of light for six hours a day would cost only $14 a year.

4. Reusable Sandwich Wrappers
Take further steps to reduce plastic waste by picking up a few reusable sandwich and snack wrappers. Great for kids and adults alike, reusable wrappers can be found in a variety of sizes and designs. They can accommodate a sandwich or a large handful of chips...either way you've eliminated more plastic from landfills in a quick and easy way. Clean the wrappers using a damp cloth and dish soap and they are ready for the next day's lunches!

5. Reusable Water Bottles
In addition to reducing plastic in our landfills, reusable water bottles offer other benefits as well. One important advantage is the reduction of Bisphenol A (BPA) into your drinking water. When heated, plastic water bottles can leak this dangerous chemical, which has been associated with certain cancers, directly into the water. Many reusable water bottles are either created from aluminum or will be BPA free.

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Consumers can also enjoy filtered water using one of the many filtration systems on the market, either through a faucet attachment or a filtration system inside a pitcher.

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