Making your life more ‘green’

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Roll out the barrel: One way homeowners can be more green is to use rain water rather than tap water to water plants. | Photo by Fotolia

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April 22 is Earth Day, an international observation marked by more than 500 million people and many national governments in 175 countries. The day provides a time to reflect on our environment and our impact on it. It also is a day to learn what we can do to become greener in our lifestyles and to instill in our children some of the knowledge and respect we have for the planet.

Being greener doesn’t need to be difficult, inconvenient or expensive. Adding a green angle to an everyday task can be easy, save money, and become addictive, as you’ll find the more you do, the more you’ll want to do.

One of the best ways to become greener is to simply reduce what you consume. Consider reducing your consumption of energy, water and disposable goods. Here are a few examples:

Reduce your consumption of energy by turning your thermostat down in the winter, even a degree or two, and turn it up in the summer.

Use cold water in the washer, unless it’s necessary to use warm or hot. Approximately 90 percent of the energy used for washing clothes goes toward heating the water.

Switch as many light bulbs in your home to compact fluorescent bulbs. CFLs use up to 75 percent less energy and last up to 10 times longer. You’ll save energy and ultimately purchase or “consume” fewer light bulbs.

Use mulch to conserve water in your garden. Mulched soil absorbs water faster. Mulch insulates and protects soil from the drying and hard-baking effects caused by evaporating water due to exposure to sun and winds.

Get a rain barrel and use rain water to water your plants instead of tap water.

Install a low-flow shower head and conserve even more water.

Use washable towels and napkins, instead of paper, for cleaning up spills and other household chores. Save old and worn-out T-shirts and towels that you were going to discard, and create washable cleaning rags out of them.

Stop buying weed killer and instead pull out or dig up your weeds. By not poisoning your weeds, you also won’t be adding poison to the water that enters nearby storm sewers during the next rain event that could end up in lakes and streams.

Stop consuming plastic grocery bags by purchasing and using reusable bags.

There are many other ways to easily reduce what you consume. Maybe you’ll find a few that work with your lifestyle.

How will you celebrate Earth Day 2013? Come out and visit the 2013 Northwest Indiana Earth Day Celebration which will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 20, at the Porter County Expo Center, 215 E. Division Road. There will be fun, entertainment, exhibits, vendors and environmental activities for the entire family. The event is sponsored by the Recycling and Waste Reduction District of Porter County with the support of many great supporters. Find out more about the event on the district’s website, www.ItMeansTheWorld.org.

Provided by the Recycling and Waste Reduction District of Porter County