Buy Earth Friendly
- Lady Aurora, High Priestess of Sylvan Circle
Buy Stuff Made of Recyled Materials
Recycling is only as good as the consumers will absorb. If we do not buy recycled materials, the impetus to recycle can die. Companies will not be able to afford to recycle without buying at the end stage. Buy Green and Green Living Online offer a panoply of products made from recycled materials.
Gentle Cleaning Products
Avoid Bleach and Dyes
Purchase household paper products that do not use bleach or dyes. Paper products filled with bleach or dyes are not as kind on the earth as they decompose. Choose paper plates over plastic coated paper plates. They break down faster in the earth.
Gentle Gardening Supplies
Purchase gardening supplies that are gentle on the earth. Avoid the harsh chemical stuff that can cause trouble with the water supply. If you rather let someone else do the yardwork, you don't have to employ the chemical spreading companies. NaturaLawn of America is a company with branches around the country that offers 100% pesticide free lawn services.
Avoid Overly Packaged Products
Avoid overly packaged products at the grocery store. This means go for cereals that are in bags, not cereals in bags within cardboard boxes. Also buy in bulk.
Buy organic, free range, and/or environmentally sustained food products. These environmentally friendly food products are easily available in natural markets, and some of these products are creeping into mainstream corporate grocery chains. Read labels carefully to find the best choices. For a listing of some food labels and what they mean, go to this Sierra Club page or to this Mother Jones page. You can also try out this neat looking Consumer Reports app for decoding labels.
Look for Energy Star
Buy Energy Star certified appliances. Energy Star is a government program. Certification under Energy Star represents the top 25 percent of energy-efficient appliances; electronics; building supplies; and lighting, heating, and cooling equipment. Specifications vary by product and are revised every three to four years. Appliances that are Energy Star approved can be found anywhere; you will see a blue star sticker on the appliance.
Solar and Geothermal Energy
Consider solar or geothermal energy for your home. There are government incentives to make it easier to acquire and install solar panels and geothermal equipment. Both of these sources of power have the added benefit of reducing your energy bills. The more renewable energy sources we use, the gentler we are on the earth.
If neither solar or geothermal energy is possible, you can still run your home on clean energy. You can contact your energy supplier and opt to get your energy from 100% wind power. BG&E will switch you for free to any company you request. In Maryland, consider Oasis Energy or Ethical Electric.
Hot Water Heaters
Yes, you can even find green hot water heaters. Solar hot water heaters are an option for some homeowners, but for the greenest method, try tankless hot water heaters. These machines heat the water on demand, eliminating the need to continually heat water in a container all day and all night, whether needed or not. The great benefit is that this system has a never-ending supply of hot water, and can deliver hot water to multiple sites within your home, without a conflict or reduction in heat. You can run two hot showers, the dishwasher and the clothes washer at once. No more scheduling shower times. It is both energy efficient and delightfully luxurious.
Fuel Efficient Cars
When buying a car, consider buying one that gets high mileage to the gallon, and gives off low emissions. Also consider that there are all-electric cars and electric hybrid cars available for sale. Electric cars give off zero emissions, thereby offering the cleanest and greenest option.
Electric hybrid cars have both an electric engine and one that runs on gas. A hybrid car is gentler on the environment than a gas car, with an advantage over an all-electric car in terms of driving range. Hybrid cars offer a longer range to drive before you need to refuel or recharge the car's batteries. The first electric hybrid cars for sale in the US were the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight, followed by the Honda Civic. Nowadays there are many more hybrids for sale, from a variety of manufacturers. Give careful attention to the MPG information. Some hybrids are not necessarily high in MPG. If you are choosing between a hybrid SUV or a standard economy car, the economy car may get better gas mileage. The U.S. Department of Energy offers a side-by-side comparison of gas mileage and gas emissions of various hybrid models at www.FuelEconomy.gov/feg/hybrid_sbs.shtml.
Your most energy efficient cars are all-electric. The advantage to all-electric cars is their environmental cleanliness due to their freedom from fossil fuels. This is especially true when your home energy source (from which you charge the car) is also clean energy. The first all-electric car to come to the US was the Nissan Leaf, and there are many other options available. This link will take you to a side-by-side comparison for all-electric vehicles: www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/PowerSearch.do?action=alts&path=3&year1=2014&year2=2015&vtype=Electric&srchtyp=newAfv.
Invest in Green Funds
Green funds are mutual funds that only invest in environmentally responsible companies. This means your money is not going into creating harmful chemicals, weapons, or infamously polluting companies. There are three such funds:
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