Saving the Environment, Part 2

About the author: Brenda Reyes Tomassini joined EPA in 2002. She is a public affairs specialist in the San Juan, Puerto Rico office and also handles community relations for the Caribbean Environmental Protection Division.

In my previous post, I provided tips that everyone can incorporate into their daily routines. Today you will find the last 26 for a total of 52 changes you can make during 2009 to protect the environment and reduce your carbon footprint.

When Traveling:
27.  Take it on the road – even when traveling, don’t leave the sink running unnecessarily and turn off the lights when you leave your hotel room.
28. Fly direct – it saves fuel and reduces your carbon footprint.
29. Pick a destination where you can walk, bike or use public transportation.
30. Choose a destination with activities related to environmental protection or enjoying nature.

At Work:
31. If you need to attend an off-site meeting, consider videoconferencing.
32. Bring your own reusable cup to your local coffee shop.
33. Think before your print. Go paperless when you can.

At Home:
34. A WaterSense labeled bathroom sink faucet or aerator will help you reduce water use and save money.
35. Don’t let your car idle while waiting. Turn off the engine after 30 seconds.
36. Check the air in your car’s tires to improve your gas mileage.
37. Consider walking, biking, public transportation or carpooling. Combine multiple errands when driving.
38. Consider natural pesticides. For example. boiling hot water with phosphate-free detergent can eliminate an infestation of mole crickets.
39. Choose natural and machine washable fabrics when purchasing clothes.
40. If clothes must be dry-cleaned, try hanging them to air out after each use to extend time between cleaning.
41. Use rechargeable batteries and recycle them properly
42. When purchasing gifts, consider environmentally friendly alternatives such as movie-tickets, memberships or donations to a favorite charity.
43. In the summertime, save on electricity by closing blinds early in the day to keep the hot sun out.
44. Don’t throw prescriptions down the drain. For guidance, visit the Proper Disposal of Prescription Drugs site.
45. Avoid toys for outside play that require a constant flow of water.
46. Wash your car with a bucket, instead of the hose, or use a commercial car wash that recycles water.
47. Detect and repair all water leaks around the house and garden.
48. Wash full loads of laundry and use the appropriate water level.
49. Repair and caulk windows during winter months.
50. Repurpose old things or refurbish worn/slightly damaged but favorite items.

In the classroom:
51. For “back to school,” swap books and uniforms with other parents
52. If you are a teacher, take the lesson outside the classroom. Let students experience nature.