How Green is Your Family?

"It isn't easy being green..."

What does it mean to live an environmentally responsible lifestyle? That’s something each family determines on its own, whether it’s substituting biking or walking for some of those quick errands, or buying a hybrid car.
There are many easy steps anyone can take to make a small dent in reducing waste and, by extension, slowing our contribution to global warming. Consider the following:


Did you know the average adult receives 41 pounds of junk mail each year? Save trees, lessen pollution generated by transportation and reduce waste created by papermills by getting your name off bulk mailing lists. Go to  and look for the “National Do Not Mail List” to fill out a form.

Buy some of those lightbulbs everyone’s talking about: the Compact Fluorescent Bulbs to replace yours as they burn out. According to EnergyStar, “If every American home replaced just one light bulb we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year, more than $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars.”



Read labels and look for the symbol for recycled content on everything you buy.

Do you really need high-grade paper for your home computer printer, or could you use recycled paper most of the time, and saving the virgin paper for special documents? Also, look at the amount of packaging each product includes and consider the waste it creates (buying in bulk reduces packaging) and the distance your groceries have traveled to get to your home, and purchase accordingly.

Opt for rechargeable batteries rather than disposing of hundreds of batteries from household items like toys, cordless phones, remote controls and flashlights (have your kids count all of the battery-operated devices you own, and multiply that by the number of batteries each needs every year).


Some parents have started walking schoolbuses to get more exercise and to exercise their ability to reduce greenhouse gases created by chugging diesel vehicles. It’s easy: coordinate with neighbors to escort neighborhood kids to school on foot, with parents alternating responsibilities. Start by walking once a week and you’ll soon find that kids will want to get to school that way every day.