Five tips to be “green” at home

A lot of the conversation around climate change happens at the state or federal level and takes time to see progress. This leaves a lot of people wondering if there’s anything they can do to help the environment from their homes and in their daily lives. These five tips are by no means a perfect solution, but can help move society toward a greener future.

Recycle

This should come as no surprise, but recycling is one of the easiest ways to make sure your waste isn’t permanent. You can participate in municipal recycling programs to recycle certain paper and plastic in Brookhaven Town. Though Brookhaven doesn’t offer curbside glass pickup, you can drop it off at one of the available town facilities. You can also bring your recyclables to a local supermarket and return them for some extra cash.

Reuse

What’s one step better than recycling waste? Not creating it in the first place! With New York and Suffolk County’s plastic bag tax, it has become commonplace for people to bring their own bags to the grocery store. If you’re at a store where they offer plastic bags and you really need one, try to go for as few as possible or just carry your items when you can. When you get home, keep those plastic bags and use them again later. But spending $1 on a thread tote bag is a great investment for keeping plastic out of the garbage. You could also cut out the produce bags to carry your goods (they certainly weren’t brought into the store that way). Also, cut the plastic water bottles and use reusable plastic or glass containers, which are usually larger and will save you money in the long term. Rechargeable batteries, another reusable item, is a great product to use if you want to help reduce acid waste that could otherwise end up in the soil.

Turn things off

Reducing the power you consume is a win-win, since it will help the environment and your wallet. Turning off electricity when not in use reduces pollution and helps you save money. The more electricity used, the more work power plants have to do to provide that energy, therefore increasing the emissions released. Also, reducing power from the energy grid by going solar at your home could help with the air pollution from power emissions.

Rethink your water use

Switching from prebottled to tap-filtered water is one way to conserve, but there are others. If you take frequent baths, switch to a shower to save water. When brushing your teeth, turn off the sink when not in use. It may seem irrelevant, but those couple of minutes of reduction multiplied twice a day for the whole year adds up to a lot of saved water. And of course, shortening the time you use the shower will save a lot both in water and heating costs.

Go local

Moving your produce and food consumption local most notably reduces the amount of emissions that are involved with moving produce from place to place by larger companies and distributors. You’ll help the environment and your community by shopping at local farm stands and farmers markets when possible. Or to cut down the travel even more, you could easily grow produce in your backyard. Even if it’s just a few tomatoes or some herbs, every little bit is more you can sustain yourself without relying on fossil fuels. You can also use your “dining out” budget to support local businesses that support locally grown foods.

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