Ironically, many products that make our homes super clean actually make our environment dirty. Fortunately, now you don't have to choose between home and environment -- and you can save money at the same time. Here are some tips that can help you and the environment, from Earth Share, a nonprofit organization that focuses on environmental education.
- Planning on refinishing some furniture this spring? Use water- or vegetable-based paints, stains, and varnishes. Remember, don't wash paint thinners, household cleaners, oil or pesticides down the drain. Instead, use them up or give leftovers to friends or a charity. Also, you can call your local city hall to find out about the next hazard collection day.
- Adding new color to your walls this spring? When painting, don't sand or burn off paint that may contain lead. Lead particles in the paint can cause lead poisoning. If your paint is peeling, use a wet sponge or mop to clean up the debris instead of sanding. Never vacuum the dust or chips from lead paint; it will only disperse more lead dust into the air.
- Getting rid of the junk in your garage or attic? Hold a yard sale. Talk to your neighbors and organize a community yard sale. You can increase neighborhood relationships, earn some extra cash, and help the environment at the same time. If a yard sale seems like too much work, donate your giveaways to your local nonprofit thrift store.
- Does your water bill seem high? Wasted water hurts the environment and your checkbook. Always fix leaky faucets in your house. A five-minute project can often save gallons of water. You can also place a large rock in a toilet tank to save water when flushing. Be sure to check hoses and sprinklers periodically and fix any leaks.