Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"I'm just one person. What can I do to help the environment?" Part I

For eco-expert Danny Seo, the answer is simple: "Do Just One Thing." This daily feature, which offers Danny's simple, convenient tips on eco-friendly living, reminds readers that caring for the environment doesn't have to be expensive or complicated.

We have chosen some our favorite daily tips to share with you! Enjoy!

No need to be too picky when donating clothes to charity. Only about 10% of donated clothes ever end up for resale in thrift shops; the rest are sold to textile recyclers. Ripped jeans, way too faded t-shirts and other worn out clothes are recycled into cleaning cloths and other industrial items by recyclers. They pay charitable organizations like Goodwill and the Salvation Army a fee for the old clothes, which adds up to a significant amount of money for their charitable works. So, clear your closets clean and give away!

Consider replacing your inefficient showerhead with a more water-saving (and sometimes more luxurious) one. Did you know that your daily shower accounts for 1/5 of all indoor water use in your home? An aerating showerhead, which adds air to the water so that pressure is just as good - can cut bathroom use by as much as 50 % and save you money in the long run. Any home improvement store will have the latest, most stylish water-saving devices for you to choose from, many offering spa-like features to turn your bathroom into the ultimate sanctuary.

Small marks, scratches and scuffs on your wooden table, chair or dresser can be covered up with a trip to your pantry. Simply rub a walnut into the scratch; the natural oils in the nut will conceal the scratch marks.

It pays to shop early for the holidays. When buying gifts online, elect for ground shipping instead of overnight/air shipping. Not only does ground shipping use less fuel, but it usually costs less too. Also, have the items shipped to where delivery trucks already go on a regular basis, like your office.

Bring your old eyeglasses to any Lenscrafters store. They will fix them up and give them to visually impaired people in Third World countries as part of their Gift of Sight program. Learn more at

To balance out an uneven chair or table, turn to the junk drawer. Use a sharp knife to slice off a sliver from a wine cork. Glue to the shorter leg of the table or chair to balance it out. You can also make the bottoms of furniture scratchproof with cork too: Just slice four identical slivers of cork and glue them to the bottom of the legs of a sofa, armoire or bed. The cork is soft and will buffer the furniture from scratching the floor when moved around.

One of the greenest gifts is no real gift at all: gift cards! If you have difficulty choosing a gift for someone who is impossible to shop for, avoid choosing the wrong gift, which may go unused or eventually be thrown away, and let them choose. A gift card is a green choice since the recipient can pick and choose exactly what they need or want. Tip: Unused gift cards can also be traded online at Gift Card Buy Back for cash. Go to

Car pool time. If you and your neighbors drop your kids off at the same school every day, why not try to set up a car pool schedule? The rule to avoid chaos? Keep it simple. Ask a neighbor to car pool first and split the schedule in half. If more parents want to join, add them one at a time to keep it manageable. Car pooling saves time and natural resources.

If you're shopping for a new computer, consider a refurbished model to save the environment and money too! Many major computer manufacturers often receive returns on computers due to minor technical glitches. Apple, for example, fixes these computers and puts them through a stringent process to restore them to as good as new. All glitches are fixed, all cords and cables are added, and the machines are cleaned, completely tested and come with a one-year warranty. Savings can be up to 50% off the retail price.

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