What you can do at home

LightbulbMinimizing our ecological footprint – meaning reducing the overall impact we have on the earth – is the most important first step toward a greener planet. And the best way to do this is the follow the three Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle.

Here's what you can do for a healthy lifestyle, a healthy province and a healthy planet.

Reduce

The less we consume, the less resources we use. We can buy fewer products or purchase products with minimal or no packaging; use less energy and reduce the time we spend in the car. We can also:

  • Use green power in your home or office - check out a provider like Bullfrog Power
  • Instead of giving unwanted, imported gifts, give a piece of forest with Trees In Trust
  • If it's time to replace your furnace, get a high efficiency replacement
  • Draft proof and insulate your home
  • Use programmable thermostats
  • Install ceiling fans
  • Use CFL light bulbs
  • Turn the lights off when not in use
  • Get low flow toilets and showerheads
  • Wash your clothes in cold water
  • Hang dry your clothes
  • When it's time to replace appliances, buy ©Energy Star
  • Buy local and/or organic when possible
  • Grow your own veggies and can them for winter
  • Compost
  • Eat less meat
  • Don't run the water unnecessarily
  • Only run your dishwasher with a full load
  • Use E-billing
  • Contact companies who send you magazines or junk mail and ask for your name to be removed
  • Carpool, take transit, walk or bike
  • Buy a more fuel efficient car

Reuse

We live in a disposable society. As a result, we produce so much garbage, we're running out of places to put it. Instead we can:

  • Use cloth bags instead of plastic ones;
  • repair appliances if possible before replacing them with something new;
  • buy used clothing – vintage is in!
  • Host a get together with your friends or co-workers and have a clothing swap; whatever doesn't get claimed can be donated to a shelter;
  • collect water in a rain barrel and use it to water your plants and garden.

Recycle

Many products can now be recycled and turned into something else. Even batteries, paint and electronics can be disposed of in proper facilities where they will be separated out into components that can be recycled. So once you have reduced what you use and have reused what you can, all that's left is to recycle the rest.

You can recycle plastic, cardboard, glass and cans. But can every type of item in those categories go in your blue box? A visit to your town's website for a list of items they will recycle is the easiest way to answer that question. They should even list where you can drop off batteries, paint and electronics (Hazardous Household Waste and Disposal of Special Items).

You can also support an Ontario Nature campaign and help protect our wild species and wild spaces!

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