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Green Living ~ An Un-extreme Makeover: Going Green Edition by Kody Leibowitz

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The stigma behind going green is always the same: it is too expensive and time-consuming in the short run to create a lifestyle change in the long run.

But as the great Vincent Van Gogh once said, “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” 

How can that be possible? Well, it starts with a single step.

Any amount of change—large or small—will help the environment.  According to the National Institutes of Health, every person produces at least four pounds of municipal solid waste a day.  Cutting down a pound or two a day will not only help immediately but will continue to sustain and build a green routine that will eventually wipe away waste for good.

Yes, Nostradamus and the Mayan calendar predicted it, too. 

Here are five ways to stay green at home and save money in the process:

  • Conserve water. The easiest way to start a green lifestyle is to lower your water usage.  WaterUseItWisely.com lists off 100 surefire ways to conserve.  Not only will your bill drastically decrease, but tons of gallons of water will be recycled and not wasted.  Here are a few codes of ethics for water saving listed by the website:
    WaterUseItWisely.com’s Number 2: When washing dishes by hand, don’t let the water run while rinsing.  Fill one sink with wash water and another with rinse water.
    You ask: what if I only have one sink? Fill a clean pot with rinse water and use that up until finished, then re-portion.  Don’t let the water continue to run.
    Number 5: Run your clothes washer and dishwasher only when they are full.  You can save up to 1,000 gallons a month. 
    Instead of finishing a load of laundry in a half-filled machine, wait until next time.  The clothes won’t disappear within a matter of days.Number 40: Teach your children to turn off faucets tightly after each use.
    And if you don’t have any children, remember to do this yourself.  If your home has a leaky faucet, the amount of drips per day adds up to around 500 wasted gallons a year!  Fix those faucets and learn to turn off tightly!
  • Energy efficient lights.  Different light bulbs produce more waste than others.  Using Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs or CFLs uses a quarter-less electricity than an incandescent bulb and lasts 6 to 12 times longer. Prices have dropped recently too, costing as low as $2 and as high as $10 per bulb.  The reason these bulbs are so much more energy efficient is because they do not produce as much heat.  While incandescent light bulbs produce heat to energy at 9:1, CFLs produce heat to energy at 3:7, or 30% heat and 70% energy.
  • Out with the toxins, in with the naturals.  In order to continue a green lifestyle, one must eliminate all toxic wastes.  The leader in that category is household cleaning products.  Well, no more!  Properly throw away your glass, carpet, hardwood floor and counter cleaners and start using cheap and environmentally friendly cleaners.  Safe and inexpensive substitution cleaners include: baking soda, soap, lemon, white vinegar, cornstarch, washing soda, borax, citrus solvent and isopropyl alcohol.
  • Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.  The 3 R’s—so easy to say and so easy to do.  Reduce, reuse and recycle.  The first of the three is easy; it has already been pounded into your brains.  Reduce, reduce, reduce.  Reduce water, reduce energy and reduce toxic cleaning products.  Now on to reusing.  What should be reused?  Anything in your home can be reused.  We’ve all received plastic or foam containers for take out; this is a start.  Reuse the containers to store leftover foods.  If clothes don’t fit, don’t throw them away.  Either give them to a family with younger children, Goodwill or use in replace of paper towels with your all-natural cleaning products!  Recycle as much as possible.  Recycle paper, plastics and glass.  If you own a home, use the red and blue bins to properly recycle.  If you live in an apartment complex, the building will have 5-7 different types of blue recycling bins, all properly labeled.  Just remember: the 3 R’s of Green.
  • Power strips are energy savers.  Did you realize that even when you turn off your TV, energy is still being used?  Or that your cell phone charger is consuming kilowatts of energy, even without charging a cell phone?  Just because you aren’t using an appliance, doesn’t mean it stops working.  How do you stop energy?  By plugging your appliances into a power strip with surge protectors, you can control if the appliance is really off. Simply flip the switch when done and everything turns off.  No more energy wasted on a TV that is “turned off” or a cell phone charger lying wasted with no battery to charge.

Bonus:  In the United States, there are at least eight states that offer a free solar system to supply electricity to your home at a lower rate.  Get off the grid and start saving precious energy.  If you live in Oregon, California or Texas, switch to Solar City.  Living in California, Arizona, Colorado, New Jersey or Massachusetts?  Switch over to SunRun for solar power.  Pennsylvania and (again, surprised?) California offers Gro Solar.  Saving is tremendous in the long haul.  For a $500 bill now, in 18 years a home can save upwards of $200,000!

There are many more ways to live a green lifestyle.  The easy part is the details and learning to live efficiently.  The hard part comes with the transition. 

It takes time and patience. But remember, it starts with a single step.


Recycling Centers:

Carson Fred Sanitary Disposal Service (814) 238-6895
170 Transfer Rd
Bellefonte, PA 16823 (map)
Centre County Recycling Program (814) 238-6649
253 Transfer Rd
Bellefonte,PA 16823-9505 (map)
Centre County Solid Waste Authority (814) 238-7005
253 Transfer Rd
Bellefonte, PA 16823-9505  (map)
Government Offices City Agency Offices (814) 234-7198
2643 Gateway Dr
State College, PA 16801-3092 (map)
Hodes Industries, Inc. (814) 359-2743
153 Tressler St
Pleasant Gap, PA 16823 (map)
Joe Krentzman & Son., Inc. (814) 235-3000
Benner Pike
State College, PA 16801
Penna Recycling Hotline (800) 346-4242
State College, PA 16802
Seprish Recycling Center (814) 387-6650
1103 W Sycamore Rd
Snow Shoe, PA 16874
Williams Sanitation (814) 692-4872
348 Shady Dell Rd
Port Matilda,PA16870-8225 (map)

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