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Live a greener life and help care for our planet

By ALETHEA PRICE

Boyle County Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences

Springtime in Kentucky can be characterized by many things but my favorite is the color green. The grass gets brighter and everything starts to grow and bloom. Green can also mean environmentally friendly. Living green has become a popular way to describe living a more environmentally supportive lifestyle.

Green living refers to choices and activities that have a positive impact on our natural environment without reducing the quality of our lifestyle. The practice of living green minimizes or eliminates toxins from our environment and reduces harmful actions that affect our environment.

You may have heard a variety of terms related to green living. Reduce, reuse, and recycle are quite common “R” words you may already be familiar with. Renewable is another “R” word you might want to know. Renewable resources are resources that can be created again. For example, trees can be cut down, but more trees can be planted and grown. Not all of the resources we get from the environment are renewable or easily renewable. We can’t make a new planet Earth just yet so we should try and take care of it.

Sustainability refers to using resources in a way that meets our present needs without compromising our ability to provide for the needs of future generations. If we live our lives in a more sustainable way then we can preserve resources for the future. That’s a pretty great reason to live green, but why might you want to make the change?

Here are some tips:

• Reduce amount of solid waste that is thrown out on a regular basis by your household.

• Make wiser selections of purchased products (less packaging, use of renewable resources, use of local or regional products, overall quality).

• Increase the use of recycled/reused materials whenever possible.

• Reduce amount of toxins and contaminants in your home.

• Learn skills to reuse/repair/repurpose household items.

• Reduce water use.

• Use your own reusable shopping bags (if you need one come to an Extension program and get one for free)

• Lower energy consumption

You can actually save money by reducing energy use. High efficiency Energy Star appliances and energy efficient light bulbs are better choices for energy efficiency. Energy Star labels are shown on many appliances and home products to indicate that they meet or exceed energy standards established by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Using green products such as green cleaning products are great because they’re easy to make and they’re safer than commercial cleaning products. Basic staples of homemade green cleaning products include borax, baking soda, washing soda, vinegar and vegetable based soap. Check out this recipe for an all-purpose cleaner you might want to try in your home.

Reliable information regarding green living and green products leads to better decisions and practices. For more information about living green contact the Boyle County Extension Office. Or email me at a.price@uky.edu.

ALL-PURPOSE CLEANER

3 tbsp. white vinegar

½ tsp. washing soda

½ tsp. vegetable oil based liquid soap

2 cups hot water

Mix ingredients in spray bottle or bucket. Apply and wipe clean