Many local governments are establishing recycling programs and promoting sustainable building for new construction. Businesses are also finding ways to make their companies greener and environmentally friendly. And many citizens have been living responsibly for a long time and they have a few regular habits that everyone can adopt.
Recycling is a proven method of living responsibly. It saves energy, conserves resources, and reduces the amount of trash in landfills. It also conserves water and cuts air pollution. Many items can be recycled including different types of paper, aluminum cans, and electronic equipment. Those are just a few, and complete lists can be found online or through environmental agencies. Recycling bins can be found in many buildings and large offices, and many local communities collect recyclables with the regular trash.
If there is no organized recycling program in your town, neighbors can work to get one started. Often people do not recycle because it is inconvenient. Make it part of the community and more residents will recycle.
There’s information available online that gives instructions on setting up a program and finding markets for the recycled goods. This is a great project for volunteers or school group.
Many large utility companies take measures to conserve energy, but there are things people can do at home to live responsibly and cut down on energy consumption.
One of the easiest actions is to replace old fluorescent light bulbs with energy efficient CFLs and LED bulbs. Energy saving bulbs use less power and can be up to 90% more efficient than traditional bulbs, and they can last up to 60,000 hours, or almost seven years! That means they are changed less often, so less dead bulbs in the landfill.
Other responsible habits include using solar lighting, turning off electronic equipment and unplugging electrical items when they are not in use, and recycling textiles.
Another idea is building your own solar panels and getting off the grid. There are a few excellent instructional sets available that show how to build panels in less than a day and with about $200 in materials. Consumers report that they quickly recouped this investment in a few months with greatly reduced utility bills.
Most people who pay for water have already adopted responsible habits such as shorter showers, turning off faucets, and replacing old water using appliances with Energy Star products.
An exciting trend in water conservation is using rain barrels. Instead of using tap water, collect rain water in barrels and use it to maintain gardens and landscaping.
There are hundreds of ways everyone can live more responsibly, and one helpful habit to acquire is being mindful. Make your daily behaviors greener. Check out books from the library, and read their magazines. Don’t flush unused prescription drugs into the water system, dispose of properly. Walk or bike whenever you can, and trade-up to a fuel efficient car. And talk with others. There are new ideas every day that we can use to live greener and more responsibility.
Find out more about how to live more responsible at GreenSmart Forum.