Thursday, October 22, 2009

Get your GREEN on - recycling isn't enough!

Some of us are newer to becoming green in our lifestyles, so I’m starting out with a few small suggestions. Easy stuff. I have recycled for years, but it’s time to step it up a notch.

Habits are hard to break and just as difficult to make. I am in the habit of taking my reusable shopping bags with me when I grocery shop. As long as I hang them on the door after I unload my groceries, it’s easy to remember to take them back to my car. When you’re in the check-out lane at the grocery and you are asked, “paper or plastic?” you can proudly produce your bags and respond, “neither – I brought my own!” Trust me – it will make you feel good.

After much nagging from my eco-responsible Dad, I am filling my reusable water bottle with filtered water from home and cutting back tremendously from purchasing bottled water. Although we recycle our water bottles, we just don’t know whether they’ve been stored or transported in heat and what may possibly leach from the plastic. So, yes, I will still grab a bottle of water from a convenience store when necessary, but for the most part, it’s easy to fill and carry your own bottle. Many are available today that are dishwasher-safe.

Now for the tough assignment. I shop online almost exclusively, yet retailers continue to send me printed catalogs. Usually I toss them in the trash wondering what marketing idiot thought to put me on a snail-mail list when I clearly shop online! Now, I am stacking up all the Harry and David catalogs, Williams-Sonoma, even Syracuse Cultural workers and taking time to CALL to be removed from their mailing list. It’s a time-consuming task, but almost as righteous as planting a tree yourself.

When Demetrius and I remodeled our kitchen, we converted our entire house to energy-efficient light bulbs. We may have to take out a second-mortgage when it's time to replace them, as it was not an inexpensive endeavor. There's lots of good information on the internet about the newer bulbs available - here's a good "green" light bulb buying guide.

It's my privilege as a Realtor to make suggestions to my clients when purchasing appliances or replacing a hot water heater. Why not replace those wood windows with energy-efficient vinyl windows or ditch that 25 year-old hot water heater and buy a tankless water heater? Here's a good site to assist you in making more green purchasing decisions.

While you're at it -- look into the tax credits available for purchasing energy-efficient home improvements!

About the author: Lori is a residential Realtor with Chinowth & Cohen Realtors, servicing the greater Tulsa area. Visit Lori at her web site or call 918-852-5036.

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