I’ve done some searching online and have found some tips for being more earth-friendly. I’d love to hear how you’re celebrating Earth Day (its 40th anniversary) and how you’re saving our beautiful planet. Even the smallest efforts make a difference.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

1. Compost: Compost improves the soil, which allows it to hold more water. It also helps plants to grow better. Use kitchen waste and food scraps for compost. Instead of bagging up your lawn clippings, leave them. They’ll decompose and return to the soil naturally.

2. Don’t trash it: Instead of throwing something out, find a way to reuse it. Turn an ice cream carton into a flower-pot, plant seeds in an egg carton or turn a cardboard tube into a spyglass for the kids. Find more ideas here.

3. Bring your own bag: Instead of using paper or plastic bags at the grocery store, bring your own reusable bag. Stores like Publix sell them for 99 cents each and they hold a lot more than a flimsy plastic bag. If you do have paper bags at home, try turning them into art paper. Just cut down one corner and cut off the bottom so lays out flat. We use these at home for painting, because they’re so sturdy.

Save Energy

1. Drive less: Work from home if possible. I do all my work from. It not only reduces my carbon footprint but it saves me money on gas and a babysitter. If you have to drive, try carpooling with your coworkers. It’s a great way to save on gas and make friends. Try to plan out your errands so you spend less time driving, which will reduce air pollution and traffic congestion.

2. Energy Star: Replace your conventional light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. These bulbs last longer and use less energy. When it comes time to replace a major appliance, buy an Energy Star appliance. In the meantime, your washer, dryer, dishwasher, etc. may already have some energy-saving settings. My old dishwasher has a water saver setting that I use for each load. My dryer also has an energy-saving setting.

3. e-Cycle: Drop off your old computer, DVD player, printer and other electronics to an electronics recycling center. We took our old printer to Best Buy, and they take just about everything else. You can also check here for other eCycling centers.

Save Water

1. Run a full load: Only run your dishwasher when it’s full and don’t pre-rinse. Pre-rinsing doesn’t improve the quality of the wash, but it does waste as much as 20 gallons of water per load. It’s also better to wash a full load of clothes. Once the load of clothes is washed, try-hang-drying them. You’ll save money and energy. Plus your clothes will last longer than the ones that go through the dryer.

2. Quick Shower: You use a lot less water when you take a shower instead of a bath. It takes about 70 gallons to fill a bathtub, but a 5-minute shower only uses 10-25 gallons. To make sure your shower is quick, set a timer for yourself. You can save even more money and water by installing a water-efficient shower-head.

3. Drip no more: Fix leaky faucets. Thousands of gallons of water are wasted each year on these dripping fixtures. You should also fix leaky toilets and hoses.

I found these tips at the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s website. Go there to find even more environmental tips. Yesterday I found some really great ideas on how to turn trash into art and toys at Disney’s Family Fun magazine website. I especially love the tin can robots and cookie sheet bulletin board.

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