Going green is about taking a more environmentally friendly approach to the way we do things. That includes organizing. Going green is all about reusing, reducing and recycling. If you have not already started going green, here are a few ways to begin.
1. Be creative and look for things that would normally go unnoticed and find a new use for them. Glass jars and cans can be reused to hold pens, pencils, craft supplies, etc. Use an empty tuna or salmon can to hold scrubbing pads next to the sink. Store and display magazines in cut off cereal boxes. The ideas are endless. Creativity also comes into play because a little embellishment can make many reused items look new and decorative.
2. Limit the amount of unwanted items going to landfills by donating or selling your belongings. Clothing, furniture, books and other items can be reused by others who need them. There are websites available, such as Freecycle, that will help you share your stuff with other people in your own community.
3. Reduce your use of plastic items, especially plastic bags. Plastics are a major pollutant and have a negative impact on the Earth. Plastic breaks down into smaller pieces but does not biodegrade. Fish and other animals are eating this broken down plastic that gets into the system after being disposed and it passes down to humans for consumption. If, at all possible, avoid using plastic bags. If you must use plastic bags, try to reuse them. Here are a few ideas:
* Pooper scoopers for pets
* Cookbook protector
* Filler for plants
* Shoe protectors
There are many more ways to reuse plastic bags that can be found on the Internet. Also, keep in mind that many supermarkets and other stores recycle bags. Check for a bin at the entrance of the store.
4. Pay bills online. This practice reduces clutter and also eliminates the need for postage and envelopes. Your bills will stay in order and will not get lost. Getting your statements online, instead of mailed every month, reduces the amount of paper clutter as well.
5. A great way to reduce the use and storage of paper is by scanning paper documents onto your computer. Current hard drives provide more than enough storage space to hold all of your archives. This can also be applied to your CD, photo and other media collections.
6. Composting is a great way to fertilize and condition your yard by using some of the things that normally go in the landfill. Grass clippings, coffee grinds and vegetable peels are just a few of the things that go into compost. Compost containers can be found at local hardware stores or nurseries. Even if you do not wish to compost, save your grass clippings and leaves. Many local municipalities recycle yard waste.
7. Most households have some kind of hazardous waste, such as old paint cans, used motor oil, weed killers, etc. The disposal of toxic items needs to be done in a safe manner. Do not dump hazardous items down the drain as it pollutes the water supply. For example:
* Motor oil, anti-freeze, car battery: Many auto parts stores and service stations that sell these items will take your old ones for recycling.
* Computers: give to a school or charity or check your local listings for places that recycle computers.
Be sure to read the label on the product for proper handling information. If you are unsure, contact your city or local government for proper disposal of items in your area.
8. Household batteries contain hazardous materials which leak into landfills when they are thrown away. There are a couple of ways you can avoid throwing away batteries. One is by using rechargeable batteries. You can also find out if there are companies in your area that recycle batteries. If you must throw away batteries, do so at a hazardous waste collection site if there is one available in your area. Some stores, such as Wal-Mart, now have receptacles at the entrance of the store where you can deposit used batteries for recycling.
9. You may not think it is a big deal to go green when you clean. However, many commercially available chemicals persist in the environment without breaking down. Use recycled and biodegradable products whenever possible. Products like white vinegar and hydrogen peroxide work for safely cleaning most surfaces in your home.
10. Consider purchasing organizing products from companies that adhere to environmentally sustainable manufacturing practices.
11. Consider buying products that are good for the Earth, such as clothing with natural fibers, like cotton and wool. Look into paper and other items that have been made of recycled materials.
Adapting a ‘Go Green’ lifestyle is about being conscious of the environment and taking care of it in all that we do to organize our lives.