6. Recycle Used Electronics
2. Install LED/ Energy Efficient Lights
8. Energy Happy Appliances
Celebrate Earth Day Everyday!
|Books and Wands Goes Green!
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Under the Influence
Books and Wands
Books and Wands has compiled a list of 10 Easy, Fast and Cost Efficient Ways of Going Green in
your every day life!
Plug your electronics such as: computers, TVs, DVD players, lamps, gaming units, amps,
accessories, etc. into a surge protecting power strip with a turn off switch. When you are
finished using the appliance/tech gadget or other electronic device, after making sure
everything is shut down properly, i.e., your computer, switch off the power strip.
This simple act will stop your devices from continuing to draw electricity from the socket
(even though it’s off it will still draw the current), reduce the emission of carbon dioxide
from your tech gadgets, and lower your electric bill all in one go!
NOTE: The power strip isn’t required, it’s just easier than running around your whole
house unplugging and re-plugging everything.
When a light bulb goes out in your house, replace it with an energy efficient light (those
curly-cue bulbs they now make in all shapes and sizes) or consider an LED bulb (they’re not
just for Christmas trees anymore!).
These lights use less wattage to produce the same brightness than your regular bulbs.
Though they’re sometimes more expensive than regular light bulbs, they will keep your
electric bill down AND be replaced less often. You win in the long run...and so does the
Let’s not forget to conserve energy by turning off lights when we no longer need it, when
leaving one room for another, or leaving the house.
Recycle Paper: loose leaf, old note book pages, printer paper, newspapers, magazines, and
your junk mail! You can recycle phone books, catalogs, wrapping paper, and corrugated
cardboard. Pizza boxes, smooth cardboard and cardboard tubes (like the roll of paper
towels or toilet paper), cereal boxes, paper bags, flattened out cardboard boxes, cardboard
egg crates, etc.
Recycle Plastics: bottles, containers, jugs (i.e., laundry detergent, gallons of milk)
packaging, etc. You can also recycle your milk and juice cartons in this group. The plastic
bags you get from stores – many grocery stores now collect used bags for recycling.
Recycle Glass: all the obvious apply. And though most city/state recycling programs don’t
recycle light bulbs, you can take advantage of Home Depot’s recycling program. Look for a
store near you!
Recycle Metal: metal drink cans and food trays, wire hangers, empty aerosol cans, paint
cans (dried out/lid removed), foil products, household items containing at least 50% metal
(i.e., irons, pots and pans, doorknobs, scissors, locks and chains) empty canned goods’
canisters (rinse them and peal the paper labels), you can even recycle used aluminum/tin
foil (rinse it off). You can also recycle bulk metal like metal filing cabinets, but for big ticket
items you might want to double check your local city government office.
Recycle Textiles: Instead of tossing old clothes and shoes in the garbage, consider dropping
them off at local charities that accept clothing donations. The Salvation Army is a good one.
Often there are bins located in supermarket parking lots (but you should do some research
to ensure your donation is going to a reputable charity).
Recycle...Paint?: Check your local Habitat for Humanity for more information, but sometimes
they can make use of unwanted paint. Check other charities/building projects in your area
Recycle EVERYTHING: Some office stores like Staples accept batteries and empty print
cartridges. IKEA stores accept batteries for recycling. Grocery stores accept plastic bags,
plastics and cans. Sometimes certain department stores accept old jeans that are in good
condition. The world is going green – you’ve just got to keep your eyes open for
For more information, contact the "Recycling Powers that Be" in your area: check with your
local government, or try Earth 911 and the National Recycling Coalition.
After bringing your drained batteries to Staples and IKEA to recycle them, consider making
the switch to rechargeable batteries. Your normal everyday batteries from AAA to 9Volt are
sold as rechargeables now and come with charging stations. They’re sold at almost every
store and are so easy to get your hands on there’s no excuse not to use them. You can buy
them online here: Green Batteries or AtBatt.com or even on Amazon.
This website will provide some more information about rechargeable batteries and battery
recycling: Call 2 Recycle
Perhaps recycling isn’t in your area or your object doesn’t quite fit the list, well how about
donating your item to charity. Before making the trip to the local branch, first check with
the charity and make sure your article(s) is in good condition, usable/working, clean and
won’t cause more problems that it’ll fix.
Here are some suggestions, but you might have more in your area if you look:
Habitat for Humanity: will accept tools, building materials, furniture, and appliances in
good condition. It also accepts vehicles.
Lion’s Clubs International: recycles old eyeglasses and redistributes them in developing
Nike Re-Use A Shoe: accepts worn-out athletic shoes/sneakers/kicks of ANY brand and
through some form of magic create material that’s used for “sports surfaces” like in the
The Salvation Army: accepts household items and clothing at its many location nationwide.
Goodwill Industries International: works just like the Salvation Army; Goodwill operates
local centers that accept donations of clothes and household items.
Hands Across the Water: This is a wonderful organization that collects books and sends
them to schools and libraries in need around the world.
For those with cars they’d like to get rid of, please consider making a tax-deductible
charitable donation of the vehicle to a charity. For information about car donation
programs, check out Charity Navigator.
Many retailers offer programs at their local branches that makes recycling electronics easy,
they accept them right in the stores.
Some programs have limitations: they’ll recycle the phone, but not the accessories, so be
To locate an electronics recycling center near you, visit the National Center for Electronics
Here’s a list of websites that will help recycle your mobile phones and donate to charities:
The Collective Good accepts all electronics and accessories from all over the world; Shelter
Alliance accepts cell phones and reprograms them for domestic abuse victims or seniors to
call 911, they accept from the US, PR and CAN; HopeLine from Verizon Wireless donates
used phones to victims of domestic abuse. Eco-Cell will accept cell phones and accessories
and donate to a zoo of your choice.
Larger devices such as computers and TVs can be donated to schools as well. Earth 911 and
Tech Soup have information about finding a computer refurbisher or recycling program
Staples, the office super store, has an electronics recycling program of its own.
However, whether you donate your computer to a school or recycle it, use a hard drive disk-
cleaning software to wipe your hard drive clear of your personal information. For help with
this service, check out E-Cycling.
Most recycling places that accept computer monitors will also accept TVs, because the
technology is similar. Earth 911 can provide you with information about recycling any
electronic device. And for recycling appliances, there’s also Eco-Cycle.
Organic Foods – Here’s the Skinny
The Quickest and Easiest way to tell what’s really organic and what just has a pretty label?
Look for the USDA’s National Organic Program label. The USDA Organic Program has
strict rules and monitoring systems just like any other facet of the USDA. When you see the
label that means the producer has been certified and has met the standards.
If you’ve been to the grocery store lately, you’ve seen all sorts of labels and “organic”
claims, but here’s what the USDA labels mean:
100 Percent Organic: All ingredients in the product are organic.
Organic: At least 95% of the product’s ingredients are organic.
Made with Organic Ingredients: At least, 75% of the product’s ingredients are organic.
Organic ingredients noted on the ingredients statement: Less than 70% of the product’s
ingredients are organic, so the producer can only identify the actual organic ingredients
within the ingredients listing on the product label.
For Meats, there are other terms as well:
Natural: Meat may not have artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, or other artificial
Grass Fed: The cows were fed grass or hay rather than grain which is considered nicer and
greener because cows can more easily digest the grass (their natural diet of choice).
Free-Range: Chickens, or whatever the animal, weren’t confined to cages, they were allowed
to wander around with varying levels of freedom. (Think Chicken Run! the movie from the
guys who make Wallace and Gromit.)
When buying new appliances or replacing the broken down old shipwrecks that finally
gave out on you, buy appliances with the Energy Star symbol. Energy Star ensures that these
products conserve and use energy efficiently.
Washing your clothes in cold water also conserves a lot of energy. Think before you wash a
load if it’s absolutely necessary to use warm water. In most cases, the cold won’t hurt the
garment AND your energy consumption goes down, as well as your hot water bill.
In the summer and winter, we pampered idiots are used to controlling our temperatures
with heating and cooling units.
Now, no one’s saying you should suffocate yourself in the dead of August, but learning to
raise/lower your AC/heat when you leave the room (if you have individual units) or when
you leave the house for extended periods of time, like going to work or on vacation, would
conserve energy and save you money in the long run.
Already do that, you say? Want more?
Add weather-stripping to doors and windows.
Tuck insulating foam inserts behind switch plates and face plates of electrical outlets on
exterior walls. Be careful with this – remember, electricity is a temperamental friend and
will shock you or burn your house down just as soon as light your bulb, so buy these
inserts from a home improvement store.
Install retractable awnings that shade windows in the summer, but can be moved in the
winter to let in the sun.
Plant trees around the house. Not only will nature love you, they will help provide shade
in the summer, loose their leaves in the winter to let in the sun and will provide a nice
privacy barrier between you and your nosy neighbors.
Many stores now carry environmentally conscious cleaning products, such as Method and
Seventh Generation. These cleaners may or may not be more expensive than the other brands
depending on where you live, but here are some ideas to avoid buying any expensive
Use Baking Soda
Baking Soda is basically the wonder cleaner, it works magic and can clean just about
anything. Here are some ways you can use it:
Polish the taps and other chrome fittings with water mixed with a little baking soda.
Clean counter tops, appliances and other surfaces with a small amount of baking soda on a
damp cloth; it’s a mild abrasive.
Clean your fridge inside and out with a solution of 3 tablespoons baking soda dissolved in
½ cup warm water.
Clean the inside of your oven by moistening the walls with a damp cloth, sprinkling baking
soda on the surfaces, and leaving it for an hour before wiping it off with a cloth.
Soak dirty pots and pans in a basin of hot water with 2 or 3 tablespoons of baking soda for
about an hour. Then scrub them clean with an abrasive scrubber.
For wet red wine or coffee stains, pour soda water on the stain. If that doesn’t work, pour
baking soda on the stain, rub it in and then brush it off.
Use baking soda on mildew in the shower and on shower curtains. Add just enough water
to the baking soda to turn it into a think paste. Use an old toothbrush for cleaning the grout
Pour ½ cup baking soda down your kitchen or bathroom drain followed by ½ cup vinegar
and then some boiling water. This combination breaks down fatty acids that block drains
and helps to keep drains smelling fresh.
You can also scoop about 4 ounces of it into a warm bath and it will make your skin smooth
(according to my mom).
And you can clean you clothes with it. Gain makes a special detergent with baking soda.
But all you, you enlightened wiz kid, need to do is scoop a cap full in with your load and it
will brighten colors and whiten whites.
Another common household Super Substance is vinegar. It clears grease and deodorizes
(we’re talking regular distilled white vinegar, not balsamic).
Vinegar will clean lime scale off bathtubs, sinks and shower heads. Soak the shower head
in vinegar and then brush off the built-up lime scale with an old toothbrush.
For shiny windows: Spray a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water.
For stubborn marks, sprinkle baking soda over the problem area and then pour some
vinegar on top of it. Be prepared for some bubbling froth though.
Some other tricks:
Castor Oil is good for conditioning leather;
Cornmeal removes grease stains if you rub it in the stain and then brush it off;
Lemon juice works on lime scale and for stubborn sink/tub/etc stains, soak a tissue
in lemon juice and set it on the stain...bottled lemon juice is easier to manage than
squeezing fresh lemons and works just as well;
Olive Oil will take fingerprints off stainless steel and makes a good floor polish when
you mix one part vinegar to three parts olive oil.
I hope we’ve been able to help you on your way to going green.
It’s our planet and it’s up to us to take care of it. It does everything for us; the least we can do is
treat it right. And as you can see, it doesn’t have to be hard, time consuming or expensive.
All it takes is being just a little more conscious of our actions.
And really, don’t you read books like Harry Potter because you like the idea of saving the world?
Here’s your chance!