This is a busy weekend with the celebration of Easter and also Earth Day on April 22. I hope you will consider joining me for the free educational program, “It’s Easy to be Green,” Wednesday, April 24 at noon at the Great Bend Activity Center, 2715 18th Street. There are countless ways you can reduce your ecological footprint by consuming less energy and water, and reducing solid waste. Consider these recycling tips from A to Z in your daily living.
Avoid fast food. Most fast food is over-packaged in containers that will take forever to break down.
Buy recycled products whenever possible. Good things come in less packaging.
Change a light bulb. Consider replacing standard bulbs with compact fluorescent ones and you will get more light for less money.
Don’t buy aerosols. They cannot be recycled so they fill up the landfill.
Eating food from your garden is better for your health and the environment.
Find out how to dispose of hazardous waste. The Barton County landfill offers this service on the third Saturday of each month. Items like paint cans, unused pesticides and used motor oil are some common waste materials.
Get your water from the tap. While it may be necessary to filter contaminants from your water supply, drinking filtered water will keep plastic bottles out of the landfill. (And FYI: plastic beverage bottles take 450 years to decompose.)
Have a green picnic. Avoid using paper or plastic plates or utensils. Use separate trash bags to collect paper, glass and aluminum.
Identify energy wasters. (Examples: turning off lights, fix dripping faucets, etc)
Join an environmental group. Get involved in your community and encourage others to do their part.
Keep the car at home. Whenever possible walk or ride a bike to complete errands. An added benefit to this tip is that you will be exercising regularly.
Look at labels. Is it hazardous? Also check to see if the packaging is recyclable.
Make scratch pads from paper you have written on one side.
Say No to paper and plastic bags at the supermarket. Bring your own bags along.
Observe the 3 R’s – Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.
Plant a tree. Trees add beauty to the landscape and shade provided can save energy.
Quit throwing away batteries. Use rechargeable batteries whenever possible.
Recycle everything. Set up storage bins at home to collect newspapers, glass, aluminum, plastics and cardboard. Recycle food waste by starting a compost site.
Stop a leak. Organize a stop a leak day where family members tighten, insulate, replace, caulk or do whatever else they can to make their house tight.
Turn off the lights. Add stickers to lights reminding family members.
Use recycled paper and other recycled products whenever possible.
Visit the recycling center in your community. Ask for a list of items they accept.
Write a letter. If a company is doing something you do not like let them know. It is also good to let a company that is working hard to be earth friendly know that you appreciate their efforts.
Examine the world around you. Try to make everything you do “Earth friendly.”
Yell at a litterer. Well, maybe don’t yell, but you should say something. Remind the person how unsightly scattered trash is and how bad it is for the environment.
Zero in on specifics. There are so many issues related to environmental problems and solutions. Choose one or two to really get serious about. Do not try to do everything at once.
I hope your awareness has been raised so that every day is Earth Day in your household.
Donna Krug is the Family & Consumer Science Agent with K-State Research and Extension – Cottonwood District. Contact her at 620-793-1910 or firstname.lastname@example.org.