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Easily Boost Sustainability from Home and Support the Community

Saving money and reducing the pollution you emit this winter is easy when you take the right steps. Being sustainable typically involves reducing, reusing, and recycling resources. The following steps are easy ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle this winter at home. Most of these tips come from SustainableKentucky.com or the context institute staff of context.org. It’s easy to make reducing your contribution to polluting cost-effective by following the steps below.

Compost: Even if you don’t use your own home’s organic waste for compost, your neighbor’s garden can. Consider donating your organic waste to local compost, even during winter months when the compost can’t be readily used yet outdoors. If you have trouble finding somebody that can use your compostable materials, many local community gardens also use compost.

 Water: Every household appliance that requires water for use has a water efficient alternative design. This includes, but is not limited to, shower heads, faucets, hoses, and washers. Water can also be recycled for other uses around the house. Water that is used for washing dishes and clothes can be recycled and used for gardening.

Electricity: When an electrical device is plugged in, even when a device isn’t being used, it is consuming electricity. In order to reduce the electricity that your home consumes, it is vital to unplug electronics when they are not being used. Solar water heaters also reduce energy consumption, as well as energy-efficient designs. Consider how energy efficient a product is before you buy it. Many products, such as light bulbs, have energy-efficiency ratings.

Landscape and Yard: Growing native species of plants and trees that don’t require a lot of water reduces the properties water and resource consumption while conserving local ecology. Planting deciduous trees next to windows with direct sunlight will allow for heat to come in during the winter, when the trees have no leaves. During the summertime the leaves on the trees will produce shade, keeping the property cool.

Belongings: Maintain what you own instead of replacing. Some things can last your lifetime if you take good care of them. When you do discard household items, make sure to go through the proper disposal procedure. Some goods, such as electronics and batteries, have special drop-off locations and times for proper disposal. Not only can you be fined for improper disposal, but the toxins in these products can have devastating impacts on local wildlife.

Support Recycling: Municipal recycling is increasingly effective at collecting and reusing wastes.  The more waste that is recycled, the less that is going to the landfills.  As a consumer, you can support recycling by buying recycled goods. Paper and Plastics can be recycled several times before they are no longer good enough quality for manufacturing products.  By supporting products made of recycled materials, more recycled material will be used to produce these goods in the future.

Construction: When renovating or building new structures on the property, try to build up instead of out. One good way of doing this is building on top of the garage instead of building across the yard. By reducing the landscape taken up by new construction, the local ecosystem is conserved.

Buy Local: When food that is produced locally is purchased locally, there is little to no cost for transporting the goods. When goods are bought from across the planet, there can be large amounts of pollution created by the transportation of goods.  This amount of pollution is larger for larger products, such as cars.  Buying a car from a company that is situated far away produces more pollution through the transportation of that car to where it was purchased than the amount of pollution that is produced by driving that car for a year.  This pollution can be avoided by buying local goods and produce.


Picture Courtesy of http://www.theopticalvisionsite.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/buy-local.jpeg

Corey Blum Director of Sustainability
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