Love ‘living green’ – three easy ways to incorporate it into your lifestyle

_________ initially published in spring, 2010
ove being a ‘green’ citizen of the world. It’s as easy as incorporating ‘green’ choices into your daily lifestyle. Every bit you do makes a tremendous difference in promoting a healthy environment, especially since you’re among an increasing number of folks who are also making ‘green’ choices.

I asked Steve Pincupsy, Project Coordinator at the Chicago Center for Green Technology, to

Chicago Center for Green Technology

suggest three basic ways to practice a green lifestyle. His response:

1. Save energy.
Start with the light fixtures. Switch all bulbs to either compact fluorescent or LED lights. These are a bit more expensive than standard bulbs yet are worth it because they’re more energy efficient and help reduce electricity bills, plus they last longer.

As you make purchases for your home, select products that are favorably EnergyStar rated. Selecting eco-friendly products is as easy as going to the Energy Star web site and checking out the product rating.

Energy Star rates products around the Federal Standard requirements. For example, if a product is listed as 20% below Federal Standard, it uses less energy than the products that merely fall within the Federal Standard.  The Energy Star site offers a wide range of products to compare under categories including “Appliances,” “Computers and Electronics,” and “Lighting & Fans,” as well as “Building,” “Heating & Cooling,” and “Plumbing” products.
2. Clean greenly.
It’s amazing what the natural ingredients baking soda, vinegar and lemons can conquer as household cleansers, anti-microbials and disinfectants, says Mr. Pincupsy. You may find easy recipes online. The Green Tech Center also have some available at their resource center.
When purchasing cleaning products, choose ones without fossil fuel or chlorine. “You don’t want to be inhaling those chemicals,” he says. Plus you don’t want to be rinsing them down the drain and sending into the water system. “Biodegradable, plant based products are better absorbed into the environment.” One way to tell if products have chemicals in them, he said, read the label. “If you can’t pronounce the ingredient, it’s not natural.”
3. Recycle
Re-use. For example, when saving leftovers, use reusable containers rather than dispoable wraps. Instead of throwing away clothes and items that are in good shape, give them to a charity or submit them to a resale shop. By re-using, or promoting re-using, you decrease the need to produce more products.

Recycle. If your building and/or neighborhood has a recycle program for waste pick-up, utilize it.  Take recyclable containers to a “blue cart” that is placed by the regular trash carts. Or take recyclables to a recycling drop-off point.

More information:
The Chicago Center for Green Technology at 445 North Sacremento Boulevard, closed in autumn 2014. The tips and advice given in this article are timeless. Links below are up to date.
— Compare Energy Star rated products here.
Chicago Blue Cart Map & Schedule.
— Chicago recycling dropoff centers.

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