John Platt, January 03, 2017
Hey, it's a New Year! And with it comes all of those little vows we always make -- lose 5 pounds, call your mom more often, get a promotion ... and live a greener life.
Well, here are six easy (and important) promises you can make to yourself to improve your footprint by greening your electronics and other devices.
1. Ditch the disposable batteries. There's simply no reason to use disposables any more. They only reason they're still for sale everywhere is because so many stores make so much money on them. But every battery that gets thrown out leaches toxic chemicals into the environment. Break the chain. Go completely rechargeable. It's an easy step, and you won't regret it.
2. Go off the grid -- at least a little bit. Rechargeable batteries are great, but they still suck power off the electric grid. Break that chain, too. Buy devices with solar chargers (like flashlights), or pick up a solar charger. Leave the solar charger in your window, then use it to power your iPod, cell phone or other portable devices. Instant green karma.
3. Pull the plug. When you're not using your electronic devices, turn them off. Better yet, unplug them or turn off their surge protectors. TVs, DVD players, computers, printers, game consoles and dozens of other devices keep using power even when they're "off." This stand-by mode can account for 10% of your power use. Slash and burn, baby.
4. Be a Star. When buying new electronics or appliances, look for the Energy Star logo. This signifies that you're buying an energy-efficient device, which can save you anywhere from 10-30% on energy usage. A no-brainer.
5. Recycle your old electronics properly. If you're replacing something, or getting rid of something that no longer works, don't just toss it in the trash. Take it to a recycling center where it will be disposed of properly. (Many stores will also take your old electronics for free, so don't be afraid to ask.) Electronics contain too many toxic materials for them to be disposed of improperly, so make sure you do the right thing.
6. Finally, fully, break the incandescent chain. Even though incandescent bulbs are being phased out of stores around the world, people are still using way too many of them. Today's CFL and LED bulbs are better than ever, and there are even now new energy-efficient incandescent bulbs, so there's no excuse to avoid using old-style lighting. Replace your outdoor bulbs, reading lamps, the bulb in your fridge, and other lights ASAP. Your energy bill will thank you.
Looking for more specifics on any of the ideas above? Scroll through the Green Tips archives here at GreenHandsUSA. You'll find plenty of examples and ideas to help you live a greener life.
Happy 2017 my eco-friendly friends!