Take Action at Home
the Energy Star program
(www.energystar.gov) to find energy efficient products for
your home. The right choices can save families about 30% ($400
a year) while reducing our emissions of greenhouse gases.
Whether you are looking to replace old appliances, remodel,
or buy a new house, the can help. ENERGY STAR is the government's
backed symbol for energy efficiency. The ENERGY STAR label
makes it easy to know which products to buy without sacrificing
features, style or comfort that today's consumers expect.
- Turn off appliances and lights when you leave the room.
- Use the microwave to cook small meals. (It uses less power
than an oven.)
- Purchase "Green Power" for your home's electricity. (Contact
your power supplier to see where and if it is available.)
- Have leaky air conditioning and refrigeration systems repaired.
- Cut back on air conditioning and heating use if you can.
- Insulate your home, water heater and pipes.
- Keep in mind that every trip adds to air pollution. Learn
more at It All Adds Up (www.italladdsup.gov ).
Use less water
- Don't let the water run while shaving or brushing teeth.
- Take short showers instead of tub baths.
- Keep drinking water in the refrigerator instead of letting
the faucet run until the water is cool.
- Scrape, rather than rinse, dishes before loading into the
dishwasher; wash only full loads.
- Wash only full loads of laundry or use the appropriate water
level or load size selection on the washing machine.
- Buy high-efficient plumbing fixtures & appliances.
- Repair all leaks (a leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons a day).
- Water the lawn or garden during the coolest part of the day
(early morning is best).
- Water plants differently according to what they need. Check
with your local extension service or nurseries for advice.
- Set sprinklers to water the lawn or garden only not
the street or sidewalk.
- Use soaker hoses or trickle irrigation systems for trees
- Keep your yard healthy - dethatch, use mulch, etc.
- Sweep outside instead of using a hose.
- Learn how to plant trees, build a pond, compost, and more
from the Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation
Service (www.nrcs.usda.gov/feature/backyard ).
Practice the three R's: first reduce how much you use, then reuse
what you can, and then recycle the rest. Then, dispose of what's
left in the most environmentally friendly way. Read the tips below
and explore the Consumer's Handbook for Reducing Solid Waste (www.epa.gov/epaoswer/non-hw/reduce/catbook)
- Buy permanent items instead of disposables.
- Buy and use only what you need.
- Buy products with less packaging.
- Buy products that use less toxic chemicals.
- Repair items as much as possible.
- Use durable coffee mugs.
- Use cloth napkins or towels.
- Clean out juice bottles and use them for water.
- Use empty jars to hold leftover food.
- Reuse boxes.
- Purchase refillable pens and pencils.
- Participate in a paint collection and reuse program. For
information on handling household solid waste, visit www.epa.gov/epaoswer/osw/citizens.htm
or call 1-800-424-9346.
- Donate extras to people you know or to charity instead
of throwing them away.
- Recycle paper (printer paper, newspapers, mail, etc.),
plastic, glass bottles, cardboard, and aluminum cans.
If your community doesn't collect at the curb, take them
to a collection center.
- Recycle electronics. More information is at www.epa.gov/reg3wcmd/eCycling.htm
- Recycle used motor oil (read an
EPA brochure in PDF format; 8pp., 750K; epa.gov/epaoswer/non-hw/recycle/recy-oil.pdf).
- Compost food scraps, grass and other yard clippings, and
- Close the loop - buy recycled products and products that
use recycled packaging. That's what makes recycling economically
possible. Learn more at epa.gov/epaoswer/non-hw/muncpl/buyrec.htm
Handle toxics properly
Common household items such as paints, cleaners, oils, batteries,
and pesticides contain hazardous components. Although we cannot
completely stop using hazardous products, we can make sure that
leftovers are managed properly. The best way to handle household
hazardous waste is to give leftovers to someone else to use.
Many communities have set up collection programs to keep hazardous
products out of landfills and combustors. More than
3,000 HHW collection programs exist in the United States. More
information is provided at epa.gov/epaoswer/non-hw/muncpl/reduce.htm#hhw
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