Taking the Green Path Home Isn’t That Difficult

Farm-to-table helps build strong communities.

Deciding to take a green path is a very personal thing. My mom in the 1950’s threw out all the hair spray cans because she said it was destroying the ozone layer! No one even knew what the ozone layer was! I remember we looked it up in my encyclopedia, no Google, and found it to be fascinating but this was way before global warming was on the horizon.

The decision to make an environmental responsible purchase is not always easy. Over the past few years, flooring manufacturers have been early to catch on to the concept of green. Years ago, green products were responsible but may have been design challenged and difficult to find.

There are simple things you can do to improve your life and help save the planet.

Plant a tree. As simple as this sounds, trees produce oxygen, which cleans the air. Trees reduce soil erosion, and conserves water. Earth Day is a wonderful time to give a tiny seedling to a friend to plant. I attended a flooring seminar where everyone was given a seedling to plant. Each person received a seedling indigenous to their area of the country. That was impressive.

When you leave the house, turn the lights and television off. It’s also wise to turn off your printer, computer and cell phone charger if you’re not using them. Electronics often continues to draw electricity when they’re plugged in. One day, my father asked if I worked for the electric company. When I asked what he meant he said I must work for them since I never turned the lights off.To this day, I laugh every time I turn off a light switch. This is an easily learned lesson in conservation. An average of 8% of the total energy consumed by the household goes into plugged in devices.

Know where your food is being grown. My grandfather was a farmer; in his day, being a farmer and growing your own food meant you were poor. Today it means you’re smart. Farm-to-table is the buzz word.

Clean your house with chemical-free cleaners. Everyone I know is cleaning with white vinegar and adding baking soda to their laundry.

Bring your own bags to the grocery stores. New York state is banning all  single-use plastic bags. The counties can also charge a 5 cent fee on paper bags. There are definitely too many plastic bags floating around the rivers and oceans.

Recycle your electronics and your clothes. I love when I bring my printer cartridges to Staples and get credit for them. It’s like taking recyclable bottles back to the grocery store. Everyone I know is shopping at thrift stores; it’s in to be conservative even with your clothes. Don’t you hate throwing out a perfectly good piece of clothing that you don’t want to wear or doesn’t fit?

The last one in my wheel house is changing your light bulbs.Wow, light bulbs have come a long way. I went to replace a 60-Watt bulb, yes, I still have some of them, and I had to take a course in light bulbs. There are so many choices, and we’re used to identifying them by their wattage not the brightness of the bulb. Wattage is the measure of electricity, but now we’re talking about how much light a bulb generates. This is called lumens. CFL’s or compact fluorescent lights have come a long way. They use about 75% less energy than the incandescent, (the ones we measure by watts) and have an estimated life of nine years. The LED bulbs use 80% less energy and last about 20 years.

I’m sure as the prices continue to come down, we will all be using the LED bulbs. I’m just happy to find one that fits!

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