Go Green Tips

Just Do It !

Reprint from The Tower Bell, of The First United Methodist Church of Downers Grove.
Our air, water and soil are being polluted at alarming rates and natural resources being depleted. United Methodist Women invite you to take personal responsibility and "Go Green" by changing day-to-day habits.
#1 Go Green Tips:
  • 90% of energy used for washing clothes is heating the water. Wash your clothes in cold water using cold-water detergents.
  • Wash and dry full loads of clothes.

#2 Go Green Tips:
  • VCR,TVs, stereos, personal computers, monitors and printers continue to draw a small amount of power when they are switched off. 75% of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while products are turned off. Unplug the appliance or plug them into a power strip that you can switch off to cut all power when not in use. Get in the habit of switching off the power  strip.
  • Unplug battery charges when the batteries are fully charged.
#3 Go Green Tips:
  • Use trigger spray bottles instead of aerosols
  • Launder old sheets, tear them into rags and keep them under the kitchen sink for wiping and cleaning instead of paper towels
#4 Go Green Tips:
  • Turn off the shower when lathering up. You'll get used to it and save gallons of water. (This is common practice in the Southwest.)
  • Buy a kitchen timer for the kids to time their showers for no more than 8-10 minutes.
#5 Go Green Tips:
  • Keep clean, empty frozen orange juice cans on hand for discarding cooking grease.
  • Spring Cleaning? Clean out your car trunk. For every 50 pounds of junk you lug around, you lose about 1/4 MPG.
#6 Go Green Tips:
  • Drive less - combine errands, take public transportation and car-pool. Split the cost; save on pollution.
  • Trade in your SUV for a vehicle that uses less energy, one that runs on corn-based fuel, or one of the new hybrids.
#7 Go Green Tips:
  • Planning a graduation party or shower? Make your guest feel special by using china and silverware rather than paper or Styrofoam goods.
  • Look for ways to reuse existing containers of any sort.
#8 Go Green Tips:
  • Install a low-flow shower head or fit a flow restrictor into your current shower head. A low-flow sink faucet aerator can save 280 gallons per year. These also save hot water pressure.
  • Turn off the water while brushing teeth or shaving. Turning off the water on only to rinse can save up to 10 gallons of water per day.
#9 Go Green Tips:
  • Start a compost bin. Your plants will love the mulch and you'll have less garbage
  • Plant a tree along with your other landscaping projects this year.
#10 Go Green Tips:
  • Ride a bike or walk to where ever you need to go. Great for not only the air but your health as well.
  • Avoid lengthy idling times while waiting for a train to pass. Turning off and starting an engineer uses less gas than letting the engine idle for 30 seconds.
#11 Go Green Tips:
  • Good: Set your dryer for only as long as it takes to dry clothes. You will save energy and wear and tear on your clothes
  • Better: Use a clothesline. The sun's energy is free.
#12 Go Green Tips:
  • Use environmental friendly medicine for insect bites:
    • Bee stings - apply a thick paste of baking soda and water
    • Chigger bites - rub bites with a moist aspirin tablet
    • Mosquito bites - soak bites in salt water
  • To prevent bites, avoid wearing perfume, bright colors, and flowery painted clothes                        
#13 Go Green Tips:
  • Want to get those old bikes out of the garage? Working Bikes Cooperative will refurbish used bicycles for people needing transportation in Nicaragua, Cuba, Kenya and Ghana. Some are sold to Chicagoans to raise funds for shipping. Call the nearest drop-off site rep:
    • North Aurora, Sally Smith, 630-966-0727
    • LaGrange, The Wheel Thing Bike Shop, 708-532-3822
    • Villa Park, Jenny McBride, 630-719-7960
#14 Go Green Tips:

  • When shopping for back-to-school or work clothes, choose garments you can wear more than one season, and select from complimentary color groups so that you can interchange pieces and use less.
  • Don't succumb to the "Shop till You Drop" message. Instead, each time you want something, ask yourself, :Do I really need this?" Remember, fossil fuels are burned each time an item is produced. In the process gases are emitted that trap heat in our atmosphere.             
#15 Go Green Tips:
  • Raise your lawn mower blade to at least three inches. A higher cut encourages grass roots to grow deeper, shades the root system, and holds soil moisture
  • Water lawns during the early morning hours when temperatures are lowest to reduce losses from evaporation. Avoid over watering by setting a timer. A hearty rain eliminates the need for watering for as long as two weeks.
#16 Go Green Tips:
  • Take your lunch to work and avoid a mid-day trip.
  • Make a resolution this year to pack waste-free lunches for school or work. Or come as close as you can. Reuse some of those take-out boxes.  
#17 Go Green Tips:
  • Choose consumer products that have less packaging than their competitors.
  • Write a note to the stores where you shop encouraging their management to stock items that use minimal packaging materials. Let them know that in makes a difference in where you shop and the products you choose.
#18 Go Green Tips:
Clogged drains? Hair can get clogged in the tub drain
  • Sometimes just cleaning the trap by hand can do the trick.Or use a plunger or a plumber's snake.
  • Use a couple of tablespoons of baking soda and vinegar, or salt and baking soda followed by 6 cups of water. Let the solution sit overnight.
  • As a last resort, pour 35% hydrogen peroxide solution down the drain, wait a few minutes - then plunge.
#19 Go Green Tips:
  • Lower your water heater thermostat to 120o. Purchase a thermal water heater blanket and install according to manufactures directions. It will save energy and pay for itself.
  • Have a fireplace? When not in use, keep the flue damper tightly closed. Until you close it, warm air escapes 24 hours a day!
#20 Go Green Tips:
  • Buy Organic foods. This reduces the use of pesticides thus preventing them from getting into the soil, water, food chain, and you.
  • Instead of purchasing chemical pesticides for garden and house plants, add one capful of dish soap to 1 gal. of water and spray it on your plants.
#21 Go Green Tips:
  • Concerned about recent reports that ocean fish populations may be devastated by 2048 due to over-fishing? You can help prevent this by purchasing only farm raised fish for consumption.
  • Chlorine is the standard bleaching agent used in making paper. It produces dioxin which is released into our waterways during paper processing and then ends up in the food chain. When purchasing stationery and computer papers, ask for chlorine-free paper.
#22 Go Green Tips:
  • Vacuum warm-air registers, baseboard heaters and radiators regularly. Make sure they are not blocked by furniture, carpet or drapes. Consider having ducts professionally cleaned.
  • Clean or replace furnace filters once a month or as needed.
#23 Go Green Tips:
  • Turn your thermostat back 10-15% during the night when you plan to dive under the covers and save 10% on heating bills during the year. You can do this by installing a programmable thermostat.
  • If you already have an automatic thermostat, take a couple of minutes to set it or check the program. It is easy. Directions are usually just under the cover panel.
#24 Go Green Tips:
  • Don't keep your refrigerator and freezer unnecessarily cold. Recommended temps are 37o-40oF for the fresh food compartment and 5oF for the freezer compartment
  • Move your refrigerator out from the wall and vacuum its condenser coils once a year, unless you have a no-clean condenser model. It will use less energy with clean coils.      
#25 Go Green Tips:
It takes a lot of crude oil and natural gas (non-renewable resources) to make and ship the disposable plastic water bottles and grocery bags we use so readily.
  • Instead of the plastic, disposable water bottles that pile up in your recycle bin or end up in landfills, use a refillable water bottle and tap water. Studies have shown that tap water is often just as healthy. If you have doubts, buy a water filter for your tap.
  • Instead of using all those plastic bags the grocery stores push on us, take your own reusable bags to the store made of canvas, hemp or string. Check out A set of 5 durable, mesh string-bags with pouch runs $24.95.
#26 Go Green Tips:
  • Dishwasher vs. washing by hand? Use the dishwasher (with full loads) and scrape rather than rinse before loading. The average dishwasher uses 8.7 gallons of water per load. Washing by hand can use 10-20 gallons of water.
  • For cooking fuel efficiency match pots to the appropriate size burner (gas or electric). A 6-inch pot on an 8-inch burner wastes more that 40% of the burner's heat. Keep gas burners clean to ensure efficient operation.
#27 Go Green Tips:
  • The Dept. of Energy estimates that carefully positioned trees can save up to 25% of a typical household's energy used for heating and cooling. 3 trees, properly placed, can save an average of $100-$300 in energy cost annually.
If you have additional suggestions to help conserve our natural resources, please contact us at
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