Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thinking Thursday - Simple Green Tips

Thursdays in the Simple Life Series are all about reducing the clutter (mental and physical) you bring into your life in the first place, starting with our “green” tips.  I will let you know what I am doing to make simple changes in my own life. I hope you follow along and try some of these steps yourself. Please let me know how you are coming along by leaving comments at the bottom of each post. Tell me what works, what doesn’t, if you are bored – whatever – we are learning and growing together. Hopefully by the end of this process, you will have a better view of your health, your money, your lifestyle, your dreams, your regrets and use these findings to make steps to improving your life overall.

Light bulbs: If you have not changed over to the recommended ENERGY STAR Compacted Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs), here is a good way to do so. With your trusty notepad, go through EVERY room in your house and count the light bulbs, noting in columns the different sizes you currently use. Include your porch lights, garage areas and even the little light over the kitchen sink. Do not count your bathroom lights as Consumer Reports reports that lights that are constantly turned on and off shorten the life and efficiency of these bulbs. Add how many regular bulbs you need to your list.

Why change? According to ENERGY STAR qualified bulbs:

- use about 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer.
- save about $30 or more in electricity costs over each bulb’s lifetime.

- Produce about 75 percent less heat, so they’re safer to operate and can cut energy costs associated with home cooling

Taking your notes, purchase 1) All the CLF bulbs you need, plus 2 extras and 2) the number of regular bulbs you need for burned out ones plus, ONE pack of each of the other sizes you need for back up.

When you get back home, immediately change out to the new bulbs and put the spares in a safe storage area. Recycle all bulbs, even if they are still good.

GREENTIP: According to , bulbs, just like batteries, should be recycled at your local recycle center, NOT in the trash. One bulb contains enough mercury to poison 6,000 gallon of water enough that is become undrinkable!

EXTRA CREDIT: While you are up there changing the bulbs, unscrew any globes and run them through the dishwasher to clean the dust and grime off. It's quick, easy and will brighten the room (not to mention get the cobwebs outta there!) If the globes don't unscrew, gently wipe them with a damp cloth to remove the grime. Even if you wait to change the bulb until it blows out, make a habit to clean the globe when you change it out.

Batteries - Designate ONE area for batteries, both new and used. You can purchase a "battery station" on eBay or through the Internet, or just keep them in an office supply tray.

Keep all new batteries here, not scattered in 5 different junk drawers. When you replace a battery from your remote, notice if you need to buy more and recycle the old battery.

REASON TO DO THIS: How many times have you stolen the batteries from one remote to put into another? Case Closed.

EXTRA CREDIT: Gather every single remote in your home. Replace each remote's battery with rechargeable batteries and recycle the old ones, even if they are still good. Buy a charger for the batteries and keep it with the new batteries. By using rechargable batteries you help reduce the waste and possible toxic problems caused by single-use ones PLUS you don't have to run to the store every time you need a new battery!

GREEN TIP: Re-use the stryo containers that fruits and veggies come in for your battery recycle bin. They are small and will hold many batteries. According to, batteries should not be placed in the trash, but recycled at your local center. Batteries that end up in landfills and incinerators eventually end up in our environment and/or the food chain, causing serious health risks to humans and animals.

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