- Reuse or recycle as many of your empty health and beauty product containers as you can. If you can't reuse them or recycle them with your regular recycling, some retail stores, like Origins and MAC, will take back cosmetic tubes, bottles and jars from any brand.
- Find out how to recycle items that you can't include in your home recycling, like batteries, compact fluorescent light bulbs, and plastic bags. Not sure? Visit earth911.org for more information.
- Recycle plastic packing peanuts by saving them for the next time you send a package. You can also donate them to any UPS Store location where they will be happy to re-use them for you.
- Don't bother rinsing your dishes before you load them in the dishwasher. Just scrape and load. Tests by Consumer Reports showed that rinsing isn't necessary most of the time and skipping it can save you up to 20 gallons per load.
- A leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons of water every day. Find out if your toilet is leaking by placing a drop of food coloring in the tank. If the color shows up in the bowl within 15 minutes without flushing, you have a leak. (Then, of course, repair the leak.)
- Unplug! According to the US Department of Energy, 75% of the electricity used to power electronics and appliances in the average home is consumed while the products are turned off. Plug products into power strips and turn off the strip when appliances aren't in use.
- Replace at least a few of your conventional light bulbs with energy-saving compact fluorescents. Compact fluorescent bulbs can last up to 10 times longer and use 75 percent less energy than standard bulbs.
- Make sure your gift bags can be re-used by purchasing them with generic patterns or in solid colors. Gift bags themed for specific occasions, like baby showers or Christmas, have limited re-use.
© Kim Selzman 2010
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