Simple steps to up the ante on green living

April 22, 2010 5:54:45 AM PDT
You've got the basics down pat -- reduce, reuse, recycle -- check. Lower the thermostat- check. Shut the faucet when brushing your teeth- check. Now what? Are you ready to kick it up notch? With Earth Day right around the corner, Regina Lewis, AOL's Consumer Advisor, explains what you can do to take green-living a step further.

? Green Deceits: When Going Green Isn't- Surprise, surprise: These "green" habits may have you fooled -- learn how they are causing harm to the environment.

1. Car Wash Wins! - 45 gallons of H20 vs 140 gallons if you do it yourself

2. Go with Gas Grill - Charcoal has 3X more green house gasses

3. Rethink EReaders - Online newspapers are green, but not true for replacing paperback books

? Put Your Home on an Energy Diet -- and Save- A room-by-room cost cutting approach. You'd be surprised at how simple it can be to save big.

1. Consider a Wood Burning Stove- It will cost you on the front end, but expect to cut your heating bills by about one-quarter to one-half. Plus, if you don't have a fireplace, you'll enjoy this new piece of d?cor immensely.

2. Swap Out Your Showerheads - Today's low-flow showerheads, which release 2.5 gallons per minute, waste a lot less water. If you couple that upgrade and limit your showers to 10-minutes each day, you'll save about $145 a year on electricity used to heat the water.

? Eco-Fun for the Kids: How to Make Compost- With the right materials and a little time, anyone can make compost. Regina points you in the right direction to learn more and start today.

? Composting is an easy, inexpensive and organic way to not only enrich garden soil, but dispose of organic waste. The rewards of doing so are a healthy garden, a plentiful harvest and a happier, greener Earth.

? Making compost quickly requires three elements, balanced brown and green materials, air and moisture.

1. Brown materials- shredded paper products (nothing coated); finely grated wood such as sawdust; sunflower or corn stalks and husks; dry grass and leaves; small amounts of wood ash; and even dryer lint

2. Green Material- fresh plant material such as cut grass, vegetables and fruit, rinds, coffee grounds, eggshells, and other food scraps

3. Do not include meats, fish, dairy, oils or fats. They attract insects and wild animals, create a bad stink and do not break down easily.

? Best Green Cleaning Products- Eco-friendly cleaning begins with the products you clean with. Regina outlines her top choices for ecologically-sound household cleansers. Just keep in mind you may need to work a little harder since green cleansers may require a little extra elbow grease.

Regina's Top Choices for ecologically-sound household cleaners (in alphabetical order):
-Chlorox's Green Works http://www.greenworkscleaners.com/ line
-Method http://www.methodhome.com/
-Mrs. Meyers http://www.mrsmeyers.com/
-S. C. Johnson's Nature's Source http://www.naturessourcecleaners.com/ line
-Seventh Generation http://www.seventhgeneration.com/
-SimpleGreen http://www.simplegreen.com/
-Weiman http://www.weiman.com/

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