Distinct Property Management’s Green Living Tips
As a homeowner or renter in Santa Cruz there are many little steps you can take to live a more "green" life and conserve natural resources. Please see the useful tips below.
- Switch interior lights to LEDs. They’re inexpensive (oftentimes under $3 a bulb), last much longer than other bulb types and save energy compared with inefficient incandescent and somewhat-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs.
- Lower your thermostat. You should set it at 68 max in the winter. Instead of gas/electric heat, throw on another layer - it’s good for you (cooler temperatures help you keep off extra pounds), your wallet and the environment.
- Wash laundry with cold water. It saves energy, prevents some stains from becoming permanent and makes your clothes last longer (warm water removes more of the color from your clothing). Learn more from Gizmodo.
- Switch off electronics.Get in a habit of switching off your computer, sleep/hibernate/shutdown your laptop, turn off your TV, when not in use and unplugging lights/small appliances when not actively using.
- Check weather stripping. Make sure cold air isn’t getting through around your doors and windows.
- Use the shortest cycle for washing clothes.
- Report all leaks immediately.
- Curious if your toilet has a hidden leak? Drop a few drops of food dye into your toilet tank, wait 30 – 60 minutes and see if there is any color in the bowl.
- Take short (<5 minute if possible) showers. This saves water AND energy.
- Turn off the tap. Gallons of water will be wasted each time you brush your teeth or shave if the tap is on.
- Boil less water. Boil only the amount of water you need for tea/coffee, this saves energy too!
Shop Local, In Season, and Organic
- Choose local, seasonal produce. The produce doesn’t have to travel as far and is usually more flavorful and nutrient dense.
- Reduce meat intake. If everyone didn’t eat meat a day a week it would have a huge impact on global warming. As an example, it takes 1,800 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef.
- Avoid wasteful packaging. Many types of food packaging is not recyclable – buy in bulk, return strawberry baskets and produce clam shells, bring your own bags to the farmer’s market, etc.! If eating out, pack your own food containers to take any leftovers with you!
- Avoid single-use products. Most plastic items have a “usable life” of 15 minutes but can take more than 500 years to break down. Use reusable products such as bamboo/metal straws, wooden/metal cutlery, cotton rounds, cotton ear buds, mesh produce bags, reusable coffee cups or beeswax wrap.
- Buy USDA Organic. When feasible, buying USDA Organic certified products means rigorous, verified standards that reduce farm worker exposure, environmental damage, and possible health effective from synthetic pesticides, herbicides and fungicides are being followed.
- Drink tap water. Santa Cruz has great water – use a basic filter (faucet mounted/pitcher style) to remove chlorine for taste – fill up your reusable water bottle and take it with you and utilize many of the free water fill up stations, or ask for refills while out at any restaurant or coffee shop.
- Buy used. Thrift stores, Habitat for Humanity Restore, yard sales = cheaper prices and less waste in our landfill.
Reduce Pollution and Toxics
- Homemade cleaning supplies. Vinegar, lemon, soap flakes, baking soda, Bon Ami, and many other common household items are effective for cleaning lots of types of surfaces. EXAMPLE: Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda into 1/2 gallon (2 liters) water. Store and keep. Use for removal of water deposit stains on shower stall panels, bathroom chrome fixtures, windows, bathroom mirrors, etc. Find more solutions here.
- Buy recycled paper. Toilet paper, paper towels, and printer paper all come in 50-100% recycled variants. Use them!
- Recycle batteries by dropping them off at Santa Cruz Public Libraries, Best Buy, some hardware stores, etc.
- Avoid toxic pesticides! Use traps, barriers and cleaning to prevent/eliminate pests.
- End junk mail! Remove yourself from junk mail lists by using www.catalogchoice.org
If you’d like to learn more about reusable and more environmentally friendly products you can easily swap out in your day to day life – read more in this article.
*Adapted from LifeHacker’s 20 Green Tips and Aussie.com Life Hacks for Sustainable Living