DfE labels

Greening Your Child’s College Years

By Lina Younes

Many parents are getting ready for their children to start a new chapter in their lives: going to college. As parents, we’ve made our best efforts to ensure that our children are ready academically and financially as they leave the family nest. Whether these young adults are going to live in a dorm, an apartment or continue living at home, this is an opportune moment for us, as parents, to reinforce green-living habits. Since many will be on their own for the first time, they will benefit from knowing how best to save natural resources and money during this new stage in their lives and beyond.

How about some useful tips that will help them save energy, conserve water and reduce waste?

  • Use Energy Star certified light bulbs in living quarters to save energy while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Thinking of getting a new computer, printer, or electronics for college? Make sure the new device is Energy Star certified. Furthermore, turn your electronics to “sleep mode” when your away from your computer or use a power strip to turn your electronics off for additional energy savings.
  • Is your student getting a new cell phone or mobile device? Encourage them to eCycle the old one.  By eCycling your computer or your phone, you prevent valuable natural resources from being wasted in landfills. Recycling electronics also helps to reduce pollution that would otherwise be generated during the manufacturing process.
  • Water use has a big impact on the environment. Remember to turn off the tap while brushing teeth or shaving and take short showers.
  • Safer detergents. Your children will (perhaps begrudgingly) need to keep their clothes and living space clean. Why not use products with the DfE Label (Design for the Environment) that perform well, are cost-effective, and are safer for the environment?
  • Are your children really environmentally conscious? Do they want to determine their carbon footprint? Have them measure their own carbon footprint with this personal calculator to see their impact on the environment.
  • So, do you have any words of green wisdom that you want to share with us? We love to hear from you.

About the author:  Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and currently serves the Multilingual Communications Liaison for EPA. She manages EPA’s social media efforts in Spanish. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

 

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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How We Make Decisions….

By Amanda Sweda

A while back I wrote about my decision to stop using water bottles (Some Habits are Easy to Change and Breaking Old Habits). Some people commented asking why do people even use water bottles. Obviously I can’t speak for other people but those comments got me thinking about the environmental decisions we make. How do we decide anything really?

When my daughter started crawling early this year, I made a list of what rooms in our home needed babyproofing. Right away the cabinet under the kitchen sink was one of my highest priorities.  So I started to organize under the my kitchen sink and I found over 10 different cleaning products that I was going to have to make sure my baby doesn’t get into – something to clean the floor, the oven, the windows, the counter, etc.  I thought to myself…do I really need all of this stuff? Aren’t there cleaning products that are multi-purpose?  Safer? “Greener”?  Can’t I get the number from 10 to something more manageable?

I really thought about what I spent my time cleaning in the kitchen and what was important to me. With a child in the house I want cleaning products that work and are safer health-wise but don’t have a huge list of things I have never heard of…so I decided to go green.  I went to the store and found green cleaning products and decided that I really only needed four for the kitchen on a regular basis – a multipurpose spray cleaner, floor cleaner, dishwashing soap for the sink, and dishwashing detergent.

After I made this decision to go green with my cleaning, I found out about a program at EPA – Design for the Environment (DfE). Turns out DfE is a partnership program geared exactly towards what I cared about – cleaning products that are effective and protective of health and the environment.  Turns out almost every single product I bought has the DfE label and has undergone rigorous criteria to be in the program!  Since tackling the kitchen, I have done the same thing for the cleaning products in the bathroom and other rooms in our home. When my daughter gets older she will have chores and household responsibilities…maybe she will help me decide on which green cleaner to purchase…with the DfE label of course!

About the author: Amanda Sweda works in EPA’s Office of Environmental Information on web related policies and serves on the Environmental Education Web Workgroup. Amanda is a former Social Studies and Deaf Education teacher and her husband is a 3rd grade teacher so education is an important topic in their home.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.